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.

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