Saturday, October 18, 2008

Maryland 26, #21 Wake Forest 0

The good Terps team showed up today. Not the bad Terps team that was on the receiving end of a 31-0 beat down by Virginia two weeks ago or the bad Terps team that was embarassed by Middle Tennessee State in September. Today the Terps were prepared and ready to play from the opening kickoff. This was easily the best game the Terps have played all year and the 26-0 win over Wake Forest was their third straight victory over a team ranked in the top 25 this season.

Where to start? First, it's always fun writing about this team after seeing such a convincing victory in person from my seats in Section 19 on what was a picture perfect Fall day at Byrd Stadium.

Second, all facets of this team were clicking today. On offense, QB Chris Turner threw for a career high 321 yards on 28-for-41 and one TD. I looked up at the scoreboard near the end of the game and saw these numbers and couldn't believe it. This is two games worth of stats for Turner. Impressive.

The Terps needed to get WR Darrius Heyward-Bey more involved in the offense and today they did. Result: A career high 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

Hey-Bey Highlight of the Day was an incredible catch he made where in mid-route he adjusted at the last second to make an unbelievable 41-yard catch in double coverage. Think of the classic highlight of the Steelers Lynn Swann in the Super Bowl vs Dallas.

The defense applied pressure all day, sacking Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner four times. Skinner, the ACC's leading passer, was just 14-30 for 127 yards. This was only the second time in Skinner's career he completed under 50 percent of his passes. Skinner is the one who keeps Wake's offense on track and the pressure he felt today by the Maryland defense threw him off his game.

Special teams: Kicker Obi Egekeze is back on track now, having made nine straight field goals since he started off the year missing five straight. During pre-game warm ups he was nailing kicks steady from 45 yards and in. For the record, his kicks today were from 40, 39, 35 and 26 yards.

All in all, a great effort by this team today. Two weeks ago I was as fed up as could be after watching the debacle at Virginia. Hopefully the bad Terps are finished for this season. Quote of the day was from Head Coach Ralph Friedgen addressing the media during his press conference when he said about N.C. State, Maryland's opponent next Saturday: "Any way you guys can put them into the top 25?"

The Good: Finally getting Darrius Heyward-Bey involved in the offense. The defense getting a shut out and Obi Egekeze making four FG's in a row. You'd love to see your offense cash it in for touchdowns but if you can't, get the three.

The Bad: RB Da'Rel Scott fumbling, not once, not twice but three times in the first half today. Fridge didn't give up on him though as Scott finished with 73 yards rushing and he also threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Heyward-Bey for Maryland's first score.

An injury to cornerback Kevin Barnes.

The Ugly: Where was everyone today? The announced attendance was 46,257. I hate seeing empty seats in the upper deck. I was ticked after the Virginia loss but come on fans, don't give up. Come to the game.

The Champs Bowl patch Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow had on her red blazer as representatives from this bowl were in attendance. It's a nice, mid level bowl the Terps went to in 2006 but this team at 5-2 can still snag a more prestigious Peach or Gator Bowl bid. If everything falls into place and the Terps can win the ACC Championship, the Orange Bowl bid is there for them.

As long as the bad Maryland team doesn't re-appear.

Washington Post recap here

No comments: