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

1 comment:

Bill-DC said...

From The Washington Times:

The Terps will take the next week off, and won't start practicing for whatever bowl game they end up in on Dec. 4.

Guard Andrew Crummey is no worse for wear for his half or so of play, and Ralph said cornerback Nolan Carroll (hamstring) was originally going to have an MRI exam today but ultimately did not.

Ralph wouldn't bite when asked about any potential staff changes. The thing to keep in mind is he can't hire an offensive coordinator from outside his staff without letting someone else go. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh has been so under fire from fans you would think he has a Bunsen burner permanently under his chair.

"I'm going to let this bowl game clear up first and the decide on that," he said.

More on the bowl picture later (and in tomorrow's print edition). San Francisco, Charlotte and Boise seem like the most logical destinations, but there are a lot of factors that will keep this from sorting out until probably a week from today.