Thursday, November 29, 2007

College Football Talk

The Associated Press named its 2007 All-ACC football team this week.

Maryland Defensive Tackle Dre Moore and Linebacker Erin Henderson were first team All-ACC selections. Offensive Lineman Andrew Crummey made the second team and Running Back Keon Lattimore was an honorable mention.

I would have liked to have seen Running Back Lance Ball get an honorable mention as he and Keon formed a dynamite 1-2 punch for the Terps this season.

The annual Army-Navy game is Saturday at noon in Baltimore. I went to this game once in Philadelphia in 1996 with my friend Drew. His nephew Chuck was a senior at Navy then and it was an incredible experience. Army won this game 28-24. Before the game it was neat seeing both the Cadets and Midshipmen march into the stadium. At the end of the game, the Alma Maters of the losing team and then the winning team are played and sung. The winning team stands alongside the losing team and faces the losing academy students; then the losing team accompanies the winning team, facing their students. This is done in a show of mutual respect and solidarity and one of the great traditions in all of sports.

This year's game will be exciting to watch. Army's seniors have never beaten Navy, and they'll definitely come into this game with great incentive. Navy is 7-4 and headed to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego December 20th. Army is 3-8 and has lost five straight to Navy.

Army-Navy stories

Army-Navy face off on gridiron for 108th time

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor: 1983-2007

I didn't know Sean Taylor but I rooted for him each Sunday as he wore the burgundy and gold of my favorite NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have brought my friends, family and even total strangers together over the years so Taylor's tragic death hit me hard when I found out about it early this morning. Hearing this news reminded me of the day when Maryland basketball great Len Bias died back in June 1986. Taylor was having his best season as a Redskin before he was injured a couple weeks ago. He was just 24 and he left behind an infant daughter.

To summarize Sean Taylor: He was the Redskins most dominant defensive player. At free safety, he was able to shut down plays with a single hit. He was like an extra linebacker out there. WR Terrell Owens never had a 100 yard game with either the Eagles or the Cowboys when Taylor was in the secondary. Two weeks ago against the Redskins, T.O. went nuts with 4 TD's as Taylor was out injured.

As tough as it is, the Redskins will play on.

Post article

Mike Wise

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maryland 37, N.C. State 0

Two years ago, the Maryland Terrapins and North Carolina State Wolfpack were in the same situation. Both teams needed a victory to become bowl eligible. In 2005 N.C. State beat Maryland. This year it was the same situation, win or go home. Today it was Maryland's time and they avenged that 2005 loss by cruising to a 37-0 victory today at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC.

It was a rare afternoon where I could sit back and comfortably relax while watching this team play.

Today the defense was incredible, getting their first shutout since 2004 and holding N.C. State to 10 yards rushing for the game. RB's Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore each scored two touchdowns for the Terps and QB Chris Turner was 19-24 for 206 yards. Turner also had a 41 yard run that set up a touchdown. For the game Maryland rushed for a season-high 249 yards.

Before the game, Head Coach Ralph Friedgen reminded his team of their loss to Wake Forest in their home finale in 2006, a defeat that kept them from reaching the ACC championship game.

"Last year, we were playing for a bid to go to Jacksonville, at home, and I said, "We let it get by us" Friedgen said. "This is a game that's going to be for a bowl game. Who wants to go to the bowl more?"

The Terps responded by taking a 24-0 lead at halftime and they didn't look back.

So the record shows the Terps finished the regular season at 6-6. But this has been a season where the Terps battled, got kicked, did some kicking back and played with a lot of heart and emotion while battling injuries at several key positions. As I said in my last post, I'm not a big fan of 6-6 teams going to bowls. However, the way this team has fought back when they were counted out, they deserve a chance at a bowl and a chance to finish the season with a winning record. All this adversity has brought this team together. For example, I would scan the sidelines with my binoculars and see several players on crutches working with their teammates and using their experiences to help out. No one was on the sidelines sulking when it must have hurt not to be out there on the field. Just a great display of unity.

One example of how close this team is: Senior Guard Andrew Crummey came back and played today after fracturing his fibula October 6 vs Georgia Tech. He's a NFL prospect and he could have taken the safe way out and not played today. Watching on TV, he was playing in some pain today. Friedgen praised Crummey during his post game press conference. He said that Crummey came out of the game because several Wolfpack players landed on his bad leg. He went on to talk about the fact that he told Crummey that he was coming up on NFL tryouts, he appreciated him giving it a shot today but a repeat injury of that leg would have been devestating to his chances at a pro career. But Crummey insisted on getting back into the game because it meant more to him that he support his teammates. Friedgen said it was "rare"--"You just don't see that. This is an extraordinary young man".

Couldn't agree more. Its been a pleasure watching him develop during his four years at Maryland and he will go on to a successful NFL career.

The Terps will know where they are headed after the ACC Championship game next Saturday night. According to the e-mail I got from the Terrapin Club, the Terps could end up in the following bowls:

Emerald Bowl
San Francisco, California
December 28, 2007 at 8:30 PM EST

Humanitarian Bowl
Boise, Idaho
December 31, 2007 at 2:00 PM EST

Postgame Notes

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Florida State 24, Maryland 16

Same old story today. Mistakes and Maryland made several key mistakes once again and as a result they lose to Florida State 24-16. For the game the Terps committed eight penalties and a couple of those stopped what could have been scoring drives. QB Chris Turner struggled early in the game. An example of the Terps frustration occurred on the very first series of the game. Maryland was just penalized for a false start penalty and that put them into a second and long situation. Turner completed a pass to RB Lance Ball for an apparent first down. But wait...WR Isaiah Williams didn't start from the line of scrimmage and the Terps were called for an illegal formation penalty and that nullified the first down. Then on the next play, Turner threw an interception that Florida State returned to the Maryland 26-yard line. A couple plays later and it was 7-0 Florida State.

The Terps forced five Seminole fumbles, but could only recover one. Plus they couldn't find an answer for WR/RB Preston Parker, who ran for 133 yards and scored one TD. Parker also caught a pass for 21 yards, returned four punts for 40 more yards and totalled 194 all-purpose yards.

So while Maryland stumbled around in the first half, Florida State took a 21-6 lead at the break. It looked like the Seminoles were on cruise control. However, the Terps didn't quit, getting to 21-13 midway through the third quarter when Turner hit WR Darrius Heyward-Bey on a 14-yard TD pass.

Key part of the game came in the fourth quarter. Florida State just added three more points to go up 24-13 thanks to a 30 yard field goal by Gary Cismesia. On the ensuing kickoff, Maryland's Da'Rel Scott received the ball at the two yard line, juggled it, then took off and raced 60 yards to the Seminoles 38 yard line. The Terps got a first down but the offense couldn't do anything else. Then Kicker Obi Egekeze (3 of 4 FG's today) missed a 45 yard attempt. The Terps just had to score after such a nice kickoff return but couldn't take advantage of that.

"We seemed to find some ways to shoot ourselves in the foot" said Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen on his post game radio show.

For the game, Turner completed 16 of 32 passes for 242 yards, but threw that costly interception on the opening drive and was sacked four times. On defense, Dave Philistin had a game-high 10 tackles and LB Erin Henderson played well despite numerous injuries that has forced him not to practice the past couple weeks.

Florida State went to 7-4 and this win gave Head Coach Bobby Bowden his 300th career win at the school (#372 overall) and a 16-2 career record against Maryland. From what I've heard from a couple real sportswriter's I know, Coach Bowden's one of the nicer guys in the college game and someone I've liked and respected a long time.

Despite the loss, I found some positives:

QB Chris Turner: Sure, he started shaky and was benched for two series in the second quarter, but he played well in the second half. He had a couple of gutsy runs that picked up first downs for the Terps. He stayed in bounds and got the extra yardage needed when he could have ran out of bounds short of the first down marker.

The Defense: After Florida State went up 21-3, it looked liked they were going to rout the Terps. But the Maryland defense forced the Seminoles into eight straight punts and gave up just three points in the second half.

Da'Rel Scott: He continues to impress me and I can't wait to see him get the ball more as his career at Maryland progresses.

The Offensive Line: Friedgen's putting in guys who are playing injured with guys who have little experience and they played pretty well today despite Turner getting sacked four times.

So Maryland (5-6) needs a win at North Carolina State next week to become bowl eligible. I'm not much of a fan of 6-6 teams getting bowl bids but this would give the team extra practice plus an extra game to play. That would be a huge benefit to this team headed into Spring practice next year.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Redskins-Cowboys Week!

As a kid growing up in the DC area, the Redskins-Cowboys was THE rivalry, period. They've been bitter rivals since 1960 when the Cowboys began play. These two have had some epic battles, last minute finishes and battled each other for divisional and conference championships. Now, it's not such big a deal as Steve Czaban points out in his blog. And he's right. The Redskins have won just two playoff games since 1993 and have been mired in mediocrity for a long time.

This is a big game for the Redskins if they want to remain in playoff contention, especially after a very disappointing loss to the Eagles last week. Win, and the Redskins are very much in the postseason hunt at 6-4. If they lose, at 5-5 that will hurt their postseason chances as there are several teams in the NFC playoff chase.

So I wore my Redskins coat to work every day this week, just like I wore my coat to school when I was growing up and I engaged in friendly smack chat with co-workers who are Cowboy fans. Come Sunday I will be front and center as these two battle one another.

So all that said, here are some of my favorite Redskins victories over the Cowboys.

October 19, 1987: The Replacements. The Redskins replacement players signed during the 1987 strike, beat a veteran Cowboy team who had most of their stars playing, 13-7 on Monday Night Football.

October 8, 1973: Ken Houston stops Walt Garrison at the goal line to preserve the Redskins 14-7 victory on Monday Night Football.

November 2, 1975: Kilmer's sneak over Walt Sweeney gives the Redskins a huge OT victory.

December 22, 1996: Last game at RFK Stadium was a Redskins victory over the Cowboys.

October 2, 1978: Joe Theismann holding the ball aloft in the end zone after voluntarily taking a safety rather than risking a punt. Redskins win 9-5.

December 11, 1983: "No, Danny, No!" Redskins and Cowboys battle it out for the NFC East title. The infamous shot of Cowboys coach Tom Landry yelling at his QB Danny White not to try to draw the Redskins defense offsides. Redskins win 31-10 in Dallas.

January 22, 1983: Super Bowl Bound as the Redskins win the NFC Title at RFK Stadium 31-17.

December 31, 1972: Kilmer to Taylor will be forever etched in my mind as the Redskins go to their first Super Bowl with a 26-3 win over the Cowboys at RFK Stadium.

Some tough losses as well.

November 28, 1974: Longley to Pearson ruined Thanksgiving.

December 16, 1979: Season over. Redskins blow a 13 point lead, lose 35-34 and at 10-6, miss the playoffs.

September 5, 1983: Cowboys comeback. Down 23-3 at halftime, Dallas wins 31-30 at RFK. This was the debut of long time Redskin Darrell Green, who raced 70 yards and stopped Cowboy RB Tony Dorsett from scoring a TD.

September 9, 1985: Happy Birthday Joe Theismann. Cowboy fans sing Happy Birthday to Joe following a 44-14 rout.

November 24, 1991: First loss. Redskins enter the game 11-0 but lose to the Cowboys 24-21. Redskins later would win their last Super Bowl.

One thing I'll always remember was getting Sports Illustrated delivered a few days after the win so you could bask in the glory of the victory a little longer. The issues were always keepers and stashed away at Casa Benjamin are these two covers.

Finally, I made my live radio debut in December 2002 when WTEM was giving away a pair of tickets to the Redskins-Cowboys game. They were broadcasting live from Fair Oaks Mall and you had to come up with the best reason why you wanted to go to the game. So I took Weena and she saw what a knucklehead her husband was as I got on the air. I lost out, but felt proud I busted out my Redskins version of Big Bad John that I used to yell at 'Skins games in honor of John Riggins

Thru the blood and guts of this man made hell, walked a giant of a man the Cowboys knew well.

As the huddle broke, they began to moan...Like a giant oak tree he stood there alone. And the Cowboys wished they'd all stayed home...Big John!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Maryland 42, #8 Boston College 35

This was not the same Maryland football team that lost their past three games and became an afterthought in the race for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

I'd been waiting for this all year. I can't believe this team stunned the #8 team in the country. As banged up as the Terps have been the past month, I thought they would get roasted last night, especially since Boston College lost at home to Florida State the prior week and the Terps suffered a disappointing defeat at North Carolina.

Last night the Terps dished out some punches, took some from BC and continued to punch back. I don't know how else to describe it. There was no quit in this team, even when Boston College took a 21-20 lead in the 3rd quarter. I've been a season ticket holder for four seasons now and I've never been more proud of a Maryland football team than I am of this one after seeing this game. Last night they played hard, showed heart and gave a tremendous effort. That's all I ask for when I go to watch these games. They are 5-5 with road games at Florida State and at North Carolina State and will probably need to win both for a post season bowl bid. But the way this team has bounced back from several devastating injuries to pull together and defeat a very good Boston College team was incredible to see. I loved the effort I saw out there.

Sure Heisman hopeful Matt Ryan had over 400 yards passing for Boston College. But the Terps defense, lead by junior Linebacker Dave Philistin, was applying tons of pressure on Ryan, blitzing several times and forcing Ryan into several mistakes. The defense sacked Ryan four times and intercepted him twice. The Terps turned those two interceptions into touchdowns. HUGE!

Maryland QB Chris Turner looked like a senior veteran last night. He was 21-27 for 337 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn't the only star tonight. RB Lance Ball: 32 carries, 132 yards 1 TD. TE Jason Goode: 6 catches, 56 yards 2 TD's. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: 5 catches, 75 yards. They even got help from a fill in WR, Emani Lee-Odai, who played in place of injured WR Danny Oquendo. Emani had three catches for 78 yards.

There were two plays that stood out. One was to back up RB Da'Rel Scott (see below), who normally returns kick offs. Scott caught Chris Turner's screen pass and raced 57 yards for the score to put Maryland ahead 34-21 with a little over 4:00 left in the third quarter. It was his first career reception.

The other was Heyward-Bey running for a 37-yard touchdown on a reverse with a little over 14:00 left in the game. Heyward-Bey also caught the 2 point conversion to make it 42-21 Terps.

Boston College then struck for two TD's and it was a nailbiter until the end when their attempt at an onside kick failed to travel the required ten yards with under a minute to go. It was celebration time for the Terps, fans and students. For the first time in school history, Maryland has defeated two top ten teams in the same season. "We play enough of them" said Head Coach Ralph Friedgen in his radio press conference.

This was also the last home game for the Maryland seniors. I remember seeing these guys come into the program, play a little in their first year. They'd make mistakes and learn, work hard and gradually become starters. Hard to believe that four years have passed by and these guys won't be in a Maryland uniform next season. It's been a lot of fun going out to Byrd Stadium and cheering for them from Section 19. So for Lance Ball, Keon Lattimore, Isaiah Gardner, Andrew Crummey, Carlos Feliciano, J.J. Justice, Christian Varner and Dre Moore, thanks for the effort and best wishes.

Hard to believe the home season is over with. It's been a blast cheering from Section 19 this year and I can't wait to do it again next season.

Game recap

Washington Post summary

Post game quotes

Friday, November 09, 2007

2007-2008 Maryland Basketball

Starting Point Guard for the 2023-2024 Maryland Terrapins!

2007-2008 Maryland Terrapins Basketball schedule
I've got a pair to the AU game on 12/22/07. Hopefully I'll get to a couple more games.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Washington Nationals New Stadium

Click on these highlighted links below to see how the Washington Nationals new stadium is progressing. Definitely spend some time browsing these sites as this stadium is shaping up to be a very nice ball yard. Can't wait for Spring!

Here is a live construction camera showing you the stadium. I like how you can go back to different times during the day, week or month to watch the stadium being built.

Here are a couple more links:

Stadium Renderings

Exterior Views: 10/15/07

Interior Views: 11/5/07

Stadium News Items

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Redskins at Midseason

A slow week here so I will take a moment to write about the Redskins at the midway point in their season. A little history for those tuning in for the first time here. The Redskins under Head Coach Joe Gibbs, version 1.0 were always competitive and they won three Super Bowls. On their way to those three titles, they were an offensive powerhouse. This landed coach Gibbs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Fast forward a bit and since Gibbs retired after the 1992 season, they have been a comedy of errors thanks to poor drafts, bad free agent signings and terrible coaching moves. Yet they are one of the more profitable sports franchises year in and year out. I'm not the biggest fan of his but I will give Owner Dan Snyder his props for that.

So here we are at the midway point of the season and the Redskins are 5-3. It's an ugly 5-3. Among their five wins are overtime victories against two AFC East teams that are a combined 1-16 (Miami 0-8, Jets 1-8).

Here's something that is amazing about this team and not in a good way. I look at their stats in the paper and see the Redskins don't have a Wide Receiver touchdown yet! Chris Cooley, a Tight End, is the team leader with five TD's. The season is half over. In the modern NFL, this is an incredible stat.

So many times this season this team gets inside the opponents 20 yard line only to come away with field goals. It's frustrating to watch. I have to keep in mind that their QB Jason Campbell is in his first season as the full time starter and to be patient but to see that none of the team's WR's have scored a TD is shocking. How much longer can this go on?

To their credit, they did rally from a 14 point deficit against a woefully inept Jets team. They got a much needed win after getting pasted and embarassed 52-7 the week before against the soon to be World Champion Patriots.

The rest of the schedule (2007 record in parenthesis) looks like this:

11/11 Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
11/18 at Dallas Cowboys (7-1)
11/25 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)
12/2 Buffalo Bills (4-4)
12/6 Chicago Bears (3-5)
12/16 at New York Giants (6-2)
12/23 at Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
12/30 Dallas Cowboys (7-1)

Joe Gibbs, version 2.0, is in the fourth year of a five year contract to return the Redskins to glory. To quote Judge Smails in Caddyshack, "Well, we’re waiting". I'm not sure this year's team makes the playoffs but stay tuned.

One thing I did like was the team's throwback uniforms they broke out for the Giants game. They wore these in the late '60's, early '70's.

Washington Post: Redskins Reflect at Midpoint

Sunday, November 04, 2007

North Carolina 16, Maryland 13

Connor Barth kicked three field goals and QB T.J. Yates threw a touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks to lead North Carolina to a 16-13 victory over Maryland. The Terps didn't play smart football at all, getting called for nine penalties and committing all kinds of blunders-players lining up in the wrong formation, illegal shifts and missed blocking assignments. The coaches also made mistakes, a couple instances they sent in the wrong play resulting in more confusion. It's pretty sad going through the post game quotes seeing your QB say "I thought there would be a yellow flag every play". Nine weeks into the season and the fact mistakes like these are still being made is inexcusable.

But Maryland had a chance at the end. Their final drive to tie or win started on its own 23-yard line with under three minutes left in the game. QB Chris Turner completed four straight passes to move the Terps to the UNC 41 yard line. The game came down to a fourth and 2. Turner was pressured by the UNC defense and as a result, he threw high toward the sideline. Drive over and perhaps the season over as well.

Three straight losses for the Terps now and with a record of 4-5, a post season bowl bid is fading. The only reason the game was close because North Carolina let them stay in the game. They committed eleven penalties. It was truly an ugly game but the result was yet another devastating last-minute loss for the Terps.

Three players I was impressed with were OL Scott Burley, LB Erin Henderson and OL Bruce Campbell. They showed a lot of heart by playing through injuries they received in the game. As a fan, I appreciated their efforts. They didn't quit and that's all I ask when I watch college football.

But the bottom line is Maryland just shot itself in the foot too many times and you can't do that and expect to win. Next week it doesn't get any easier as they face the former #2 team in the country, Boston College. BC will be arriving at College Park with a chip on its shoulder after they suffered their first loss of the season to Florida State.

For the Terps, hopefully they can work hard in practice and eliminate these mistakes. Hard to believe next week is the last home game of the season for us fans and the Terps.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Season Over For D.C. United

Once again D.C. United finished the regular season with the best record in Major League Soccer. Once again they failed to make it to the championship game. This was a major disappointment because this year's championship game is being played at R.F.K. Stadium on November 18th.

This year the season ended when Head Coach Tom Soehn elected to play stars Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno in a meaningless season finale against Columbus two weeks ago. Both players received ankle injuries and missed significant time in the playoff opener at Chicago, which United lost 1-0.

Last night at R.F.K. United fell behind 2-0 (3-0 on aggregate) but United would not quit. Clyde Simms scored in the 69th minute and Christian Gomez scored in the 74th to tie the match 2-2.

But it was not enough in the two-game, total-goals series (Chicago wins 3-2) and as a result, the season is now over for D.C. United while Chicago moves on to the Eastern Conference Final.

While the playoff result was disappointing, I thought Tom Soehn did a very good job in his first season as Head Coach and I'm confident he can bring these guys back as title contenders next season.

Read more here:
Post recap