Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maryland 20, #20 Clemson 17

At the half, Maryland was down 17-6 and getting hammered. The Terps were having trouble with Clemson QB Cullen Harper's multiple fakes and their spread offense- four receivers at times, just stymied the Terps. Clemson had 17 first downs to just 6 for Maryland. They had 195 rushing yards to Maryland's 28. If not for three Clemson turnovers it could have been a lot worse for Maryland. Two penalties pushed the Terps back when they were inside the Clemson 20 and threatening to score a touchdown. Both times they settled for field goals. Brutal!

Long story, short, Clemson really hit the Terps hard during the first half. For the Terps they were a mad bunch going into the locker room.

So in the second half, the Terps came out a much different team, especially the defense. In the first half, Clemson RB's James Davis had 11 carries for 100 yards, and C.J. Spiller had 93 yards in ten carries. In the second half, Davis carried six times for 26 yards, Spiller four times for 5 yards. They kept Clemson off the scoreboard.

The offense woke up too. In one of the more beautiful plays I've seen as a Terps football fan and season ticket holder, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey took an end around, cut toward the middle of the field and ran 76 yards to the Clemson 4 yard line. The Terps scored two plays later as WR Torrey Smith caught a TD pass from QB Chris Turner to cut the Clemson lead to 17-13. Momentum clearly on Maryland's side as everything changed after Heyward-Bey's run. Clemson, which had 260 yards total offense in the first half, punted the next three series after Maryland's score. A 1 yard TD run by Da'Rel Scott with 10:25 left in the game gave Maryland the lead 20-17.

Clemson still had time and they moved the ball to the Maryland 40. However, Clemson was faced with a 4th down and a yard. Everyone seemed to know Clemson would try a quarterback sneak. Everyone tries this on 4th and a yard. Terps LB Alex Wujciak hammered the Clemson QB short of the first-down. The Terps sideline was fired up but there was still work left to be done to put away the game.

Playing with an injured shoulder, RB Da'Rel Scott is a flat out warrior. The stats show 23 carries for just 39 yards but he came up big a couple times today. One was on Maryland’s last scoring drive when the Terps needed a key first down, he got it. Later he scored the go-ahead touchdown. After the Terps defense stopped Clemson and got the ball back they ran out the clock. However, at one point on this possession they were faced with a 3rd and 7 with a little over a minute to go. Scott caught a pass, got the first down and that was it. No way was Da'Rel 100% today but he did what he had to do help his team win.

The Terps (4-1) are at Virginia (1-3) next Saturday 10/4 at 7:00 PM.

Quote of the Day:
Maryland Defensive Lineman Dean Muhtadi as he turned to his teammates on the sideline and said: "Hear that? Nothing. We just shut up 85,000 fans in their own stadium."

Fact of the Day:
Maryland has beaten four straight ranked opponents. Rutgers and Boston College in 2007, California and Clemson in 2008.

The Good:
Darrius Heyward-Bey had just one touch this entire game but that 76 yard end around changed the game's momentum for the Terps.

Chris Turner managed the game well again. 16-30 for 172 yards and 1 TD.

Obi Egekeze made two field goals and has now hit five in a row after missing his first five to start the season.

The Bad:
First half dominance by Clemson, 260 yards in total offense.

In the first half, on two possessions inside the Clemson 20 yard line when the Terps were trying to get a touchdown, they were penalized twice. Instead of a TD, they ended up with field goals.

The Ugly:
Channel 20 losing the feed for this game. The game time was 12:00 PM and it didn't come on until 12:30 PM. Just reading the Terps Message Board while this was happening was ugly enough.

Coach Ralph Friedgen's voice after the game during an interview. There wasn't much left.

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