D.J. Durkin and the Maryland football team have done their job over the first two weeks of the season, cruising to two easy wins.
In both games, the final result was never even remotely in doubt. Through these two contests (contests being a rather charitable term), Maryland has scored 93 total points.
The Maryland Athletics Department did their job too, touting this fact in an Instagram post this week.
Read ’em and weep college football. This is the most points a Maryland football team has scored in the first two games since 1929.
Unfortunately, it’s my job to be a storm cloud, drifting in front of the sun in College Park to state the obvious.
Howard and Florida International are bad, bad football teams. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s even glanced at a Maryland game this season, but it’s worth emphasizing.
Every point scored over these first two games has to be taken with a (large) grain of salt.
Let’s start with Howard.
By almost any metric, the Bison are poor competition for teams with a Big Ten pedigree. In 2015, the Bison finished 1-10 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, their lone win coming against conference rival Savannah State.
In their ten losses the Bison lost by an average of more than four touchdowns, including games where they were blanked by Appalachian State (49 points) and Boston College (76 points). The mismatch was apparent in Maryland’s home opener, as Maryland hung 519 yards and 52 points on the Bison.
Florida International wasn’t much better.
Maryland outgained the Panthers 477 yards to 372, eventually winning 41-14. Frankly, we all saw this coming.
In 2015, the Panthers finished 3-5 in the Eastern Division of Conference USA with a 5-7 record. As is to be expected in early season games, Florida International was doomed the moment the Terps stepped off the plane.
Opponents this soft don’t tend to exposure major flaws in the winning football team, and yet there are warts on these wins that don’t bode well for the Terps’ future.
In both contests, Maryland’s grossly overmatched competition edged out the Terps in time of possession. The 202 rushing yards allowed against FIU don’t look great either, and the rate statistic (5.1 yards-per-carry) looks even worse.
Of course, this is partially the result of Maryland subbing in second-tier players as the games progressed. Even still, a porous run defense, poor ball control, and a litany of penalties (eight for 85 yards vs. FIU) won’t win games in conference play.
We won’t know until then whether these are statistical anomalies or indicators of weak points on the Maryland roster.
Maryland scheduling teams this cupcake-ey at the start of this season is no accident.
Prior to Durkin’s arrival, high scores and happy faces were at a premium in College Park. After a disastrous 2015 campaign that left the stands at Byrd Stadium empty and Randy Edsall’s house emptier, fans and players alike needed a gimme (or two) to start the DJ Durkin era. And that’s important; The buzz around the Terps is palpable.
The Durkin Recruiting Train keeps on chugging, and Maryland is (technically) in 1st place atop the Big Ten East. But just over the horizon lurks the Michigans and Ohio States of the world. Let’s hope the weather holds.