Saturday, November 29, 2008

Boston College 28, Maryland 21

Sad how this team went from 6-2 and controlling their destiny for a possible ACC championship, to a so-so 7-5 record and waiting for another mediocre bowl to call them. I probably should be grateful this team has a bowl to prepare for as it gives these guys an extra month of practice but I can't help but think of what got away from this team. ACC championships don't come around too often, just witness the gap from 1985 to 2001 which were the Terps last two ACC championships. Florida State, Miami and Clemson will not be down for much longer.

That said, it's time for the Maryland Athletic Department to seriously assess Ralph Friedgen and his coaching staff this off season. Since 2004, Coach Ralph Friedgen's record is as follows: 5-6, 5-6, 9-4, 6-7 and 7-5 for a total of 32-28. Not very impressive in my opinion. Maybe Coach Friedgen's a victim of setting the bar too high when he came in and won the ACC Championship in his first season. He then followed that up with ten win seasons in 2002 and 2003 while winning the Peach and Gator Bowl's respectively. While at the Maryland soccer game today, I passed by Byrd Stadium and checked out the progress of the new suites, which I read are just 50 percent sold. 32-28 with bids to the Emerald Bowl will not have alumni opening their checkbooks to fill those new suites anytime soon.

So the Terps close out the season 28-21 losers. I'll admit I didn't follow this game too carefully as I was still deflated by last week's performance vs Florida State and I had spent the afternoon at the soccer game. Boston College with the win, plays Virginia Tech for the ACC title next Saturday while Maryland awaits their post season fate. I'd love it if they'd play in the new Eagle Bank Bowl here at RFK Stadium but from what I read it looks like the Terps are Boise bound for the Humanitarian Bowl or Music City Bowl bound in Nashville TN.

The Good:
Wide Receiver's Danny Oquendo (9 catches for 111 yards and a TD) and Torrey Smith (8 catches, 115 yards and a TD).

The Bad:
Maryland didn't have Wide Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey today due to a leg injury.

No rushing attack today (-6 yards), so Chris Turner threw 57 passes, competing 33 for 360 yards and 2 TD's.

Another interception returned for a TD given up to Boston College. Seems like the Terps give up one a year to them.

The Ugly:
The Offensive Line was terrible again today. I think Turner was sacked five times

Maryland getting smoked on a fake field goal by Billy Flutie. Yes, he's the nephew of that Flutie (Former BC QB and Heisman winner Doug) as ABC pointed this out to the audience 7,357 times.

The ABC announcing crew for this game was so bad I switched to the Maryland radio network and dealt with the seven second delay.

Post recap

NCAA Soccer: Maryland 2, California 1

It was a beautiful day outside so I drove out to University of Maryland's Ludwig Field to check out the Terps 3rd round NCAA Tournament game vs California. Ten bucks got a general admission seat and I ended up meeting a couple friends there who were seated at midfield.

Since winning the 2005 National Championship, the Terps have seen their season end in the third round the past two years. Not today as the Terps beat Cal 2-1 to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight.

Maryland (20-3-0) took the lead as 6' 5" Omar Gonzalez scored on a header. It remained 1-0 Terps at the break.

California (12-4-5) worked hard in the second half, putting together a couple good scoring opportunities but the Maryland defense held them scoreless. Maryland made it 2-0 as Jeremy Hall scored his 14th goal of the year.

Cal finally scored with 23 minutes left in the game when Andrew Wiedeman flicked a ball over Maryland keeper Zac MacMath into the back of the net. It is the first goal the Maryland defense has given up in the past four games.

Tension mounting and Cal nearly scored the game tying goal two minutes later but MacMath made an incredible sliding save to preserve the Terrapin lead. Cal continued to apply offensive pressure until the game ended and almost tied it late but their shot went just wide of the post.

The win, Maryland's 20th, ties the school record and Maryland was able to redeem itself for losing earlier in the year to Cal 1-0.

The Terps next game is Saturday vs Creighton at Ludwig Field, 1:00 PM

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Florida State 37, #22 Maryland 3

Maryland was outclassed by Florida State in all aspects of the game. This game, the worst home loss since 2000 (Florida State 59-7) really wasn't as close as the score indicates. With the loss and the Boston College win over Wake Forest, the Terps have officially been eliminated from the ACC Atlantic Division race. Either Florida State or Boston College will win this now.

Florida State and their defensive pressure was too much for the Terps (FSU 21 points off turnovers) and the Terps just had no answer. Maryland couldn’t get their running game going, they had just one yard gained on the ground at the half. QB Chris Turner was just getting hammered. He was sacked six times, intercepted twice and seen running for his life every other play.

I know I should probably write more but I'm still thawing out. It's Sunday morning as I crank this out and I really want to forget about this game.

It's not going be easy to get things together as the Terps (7-4, 4-3 ACC) head to Boston College to play for bowl position next week. Turner is probably still shocked from the pounding he took last night. The Terps have rebounded nicely from all their prior losses all season, but I'm wondering if they can bounce back from this one.

The Good:
Honoring the 30 seniors on the team before the game. One of the reasons I love being a season ticket holder is seeing these kids progress. Every season has ups and downs but I appreciate the effort these kids put into this team and tonight was our chance to salute them.

Florida State safety Myron Rolle earned a Rhodes Scholarship on Saturday evening, then boarded a plane and joined his team in the second half. Rolle is an aspiring neurosurgeon and he will be entitled to study for two years at the University of Oxford in England. Very cool honor.

The Bad:
No chance at an ACC Championship with the loss.

The Terps entered the game with a perfect 6-0 record at home and finished the season 6-1.

RB Da'Rel Scott fumbled twice. True the Florida State defense was all over the place but Scott's not fully recovered from his shoulder injury he suffered in October.

The Ugly:
Not sure where to put this one but for the record Maryland is 4-0 against Top 25 teams, 3-4 against unranked teams and 0-4 at night.

The crowd exiting midway through the third quarter. I know it was cold and I know it was a Florida State beat down of the Terps but at least stick it out. At the end of the game all who were left besides your's truly were several hundred FSU fans and the Maryland Band.

Post recap

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blackout This Saturday!

Maryland vs Florida State

It's going to be cold, it's going to be loud! This is what you want as a fan, a chance at a championship in your team's stadium. Saturday can't come fast enough!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Maryland 17, #17 North Carolina 15

Question: Name the only team in NCAA Division One football who has beaten four top 25 teams this season?

Answer: The Maryland Terrapins. They added North Carolina to the list today when Obi Egekezie connected on a 26 yard field goal with a 1:42 left to give the Terps a 17-15 victory over the Tar Heels in rainy Byrd Stadium today. For the record, that's six wins over Top 25 teams dating back to last season.

This team is a roller coaster. The 7-3 Terps have followed each of their three losses to unranked schools with victories over Top 25 teams the following week. In the post game comments, Maryland Offensive coordinator James Franklin said he hoped Florida State will be ranked when the Seminoles come into Byrd Stadium next week. I'm not sure about Florida State's ranking now as Boston College knocked off the Seminoles tonight 27-17.

It was as tense as any football game I've been to but deep down I knew that the Terps would come back despite trailing 15-14 for almost the entire second half. They are an unbeaten 6-0 at home so far this season.

Maryland won because:
The Terps held the ball over 40 minutes, keeping the North Carolina offense on the sidelines and the 'Heels never really got in sync today.

North Carolina was 1 of 11 on third down plays while Maryland was 9 of 18.

Maryland’s running game returned. The Terps, which had -12 yards vs Virginia Tech in their last game, rushed for a net 195 yards today. Da'Rel Scott rushed for 129 yards and Davin Meggett chipped in with 86 yards. Both scored TD's.

Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen and Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh revamped the defense this week in practice and it paid off. The defense, which gave up 253 rushing yards to Virginia Tech's RB Darren Evans, stepped up and played very well today. The Tar Heels rushed for just 75 yards and had 285 yards total offense.

There were several plays that were critical to the Terps victory today. Here goes:

1. Maryland Defensive End Mack Frost sack on North Carolina QB Cameron Sexton on 2nd down on the Tar Heels final drive. There was a holding penalty on North Carolina, but at this point they were near midfield and creeping into field goal range. The next play Sexton was intercepted by Cornerback Jamari McCollough and that was the ball game.

2. Maryland QB Chris Turner's 4th down run. Great awareness, he knew where the first down marker was and he got it. He needed five yards and got nine. In the post game comments, Chris said he saw no one was open, it was his last option so he just took off.

3. Maryland Defensive Back Antwine Perez stop of Sexton on 3rd down in the 4th quarter. Just a hell of a play. From my seats in Section 19 it looked like Sexton would easily run for the first down but Perez shed the block and made the tackle, leaving the Tar Heels short. Maryland received the punt and went on a 19 play, 73 yard drive, taking 8:43 off the clock before Egekezie's game winning kick.

4. Maryland Wide receiver Ronnie Tyler (see above photo) keeps Maryland's game winning drive alive with an amazing 18 yard catch on 3rd and 10.

Heads Up Play of the Game:
Maryland Punter Travis Baltz, after an errant snap, diving into the end zone for the safety and two points--instead of falling on the ball and giving the Tar Heels an opportunity for a touchdown. Turns out the Tar Heels ended up with 5 points on that sequence instead of 7.

The Good:
Maryland's Defense, the Offensive Line and running games. Maryland held the ball for 40:29 in time of possession against North Carolina, easily their best mark of the season.

Luck-North Carolina's usually reliable kicker Casey Barth clanged a 28 yard attempt off the left upright in the third quarter.

Maryland QB Chris Turner didn't turn the ball over despite the miserable conditions. His last interception came late in the fourth quarter at Virginia on October 4th.

Everyone rushing the field after the game, including your's truly (when I saw the security guards letting people do this). Last time I was on the field after a Maryland victory was October 1983 when the Terps and QB Boomer Esiason, upset the Tar Heels who were in the Top 10 at the time. Today I just wanted to high five folks and let out a big sigh of relief. Then order was peacefully restored after about fifteen minutes and people filed out of the stadium. It was fun!

The Bad:
The weather. Today's game was played under a tornado watch. It rained off and on during the first half, but stopped.

The first eight seats in my row were empty as was a third of the upper deck. 46,113 was the official attendance. This is a team in contention and fighting for an ACC title, support them!

The Ugly:
Heavy winds before the game put an end to the large inflated Testudo mascot that is usually set up near the end zone at the Gossett Field House end of Byrd Stadium.

The ACC Standings

So next Saturday the Terps take on Florida State at Byrd Stadium at 7:45 PM. A win would be a HUGE step for the Terps ACC championship hopes.

Washington Post recap

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Benjamin's New Day Care

Benjamin's been at his new day care a little over a week now and he's really enjoying it. He's in the three's group and his day is structured so he participates in a variety of activities each day.

Based on his daily progress reports, here is a sampling of what he has done the past week.

Art-He loves coloring and making crafts. He's finger painted and done some actual cutting and pasting (not the way Mommy and Daddy do it at work on their computer). Our refrigerator is loaded with drawings.

Spanish-He's been counting to 30 now (!), yes you read that correctly. He can read some Spanish words off cards and sang and danced to Spanish songs. Note: Daddy could barely count to ten in Junior High!

Creative Movement-Currently his class is practicing for their Winter Show. They will be singing holiday songs. Last week among the activities he did was play soccer, he did some jumping and skipping exercises and learned how to tumble with supervision. Daddy's taught him how to throw a ball and he can swing a kids bat. He can catch pretty much anything thrown to him and he loves to run. They have a nice gym there so all the kids can run and play.

Math & Science: Benjamin's learning to add and subtract with his fingers and today they were using flashlights to make shadows. He's learning about the weather, mountains, volcanos, clouds and trees. He's also fairly well versed in dinosaurs, a requirement for all kids as you got to know your dinos.

He sleeps up to a couple hours after lunch. They provide the linens while at the other place, we had to.

Music/Drama-Singing, marching and puppet shows.

Social Studies-Geography and current events. He can point to the state where he lives on a map and when I picked him up one day last week I was stunned when he asked me if I knew who Barack Obama was. Obviously I knew and told him but you don't expect a three year old boy to know who the next President of the United States is.

Language Development-He's learned some new words thanks to their story time and a board they use to put pictures on it. I've been amazed at what he retains. For example, D.C. United hasn't played a soccer game in two weeks as their season is over but he still remembers his favorite players ( For the record: Fred, Bryan Namoff, Jaime Moreno and Zach Wells).

Computer-Benjamin's been learning mouse skills on the computer and they have been using educational software to get him familiar with the computer. Today it was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Pretty soon he will be a contributing writer to this blog.

His day ends around 5:30 when his group is in the music room singing. It's neat to go inside to see him singing and participating in their activities.

Usually when I pick him up, he gives me a big hug and then I speak with his teachers about his day and what he learned, etc. While it will cost Weena and I a little more each month, it's going to be worth it as we've noticed a change in just a week.

We believe the key to his learning has been the time both Weena and I take to read to him on a daily basis. We go to the library every couple weeks and he loves checking out books. These are exciting times in our household now and we're very blessed!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Virginia Tech 23, #23 Maryland 13

We've heard all about how well the Maryland football team plays against top 25 opponents, having won five straight games dating back to last season. Last night the Terps were the team ranked in the top 25 for the first time in awhile and their opponent Virginia Tech was not ranked. Adding to the fun was the fact this game was played at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA, which Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen probably still has nightmares from the 55-6 beat down Tech put on his Terps in 2004.

Tonight the Terps looked terrible on both sides of the ball. They were down at one point in the game 20-3 but to their credit they hung around and had a shot to win this game down 20-13 in the 4th quarter. Here goes:

The Terps defense resembled a matador at a bull fight. Wave the red cape and let the bull, in this case Freshman RB Darren Evans and his school record 253 yards run right on through. Evans, who had never had a 100-yard game before last night, had runs of 50 and 45 yards to do in the Terps (6-3, 3-2 ACC).

The offense, except for Darrius Heyward-Bey catching a short pass from QB Chris Turner, then running 60 yards for the Terps only touchdown reception, was non-existent. RB Da'Rel Scott finished with 10 carries for 11 yards. As a team, Maryland rushed for minus 12 yards. Scott's been suffering from a bad shoulder and the decision to start him over Davin Meggett against a tough Virginia Tech defense baffled me.

But as Coach Friedgen pointed out after the game, that -12 is misleading because sacks count against a team's rushing total. Great Coach. Maybe if the Offensive Line showed up to play tonight it might have been different as your QB was sacked three times and on several instances, was seen running for his life. Turner (19-31, 240 yards) said he could not evaluate the offensive line's performance because he had yet to see the game film. It's not hard Chris; you had maroon in your face all night. The OL weren't there for you, period.

However, as bad as this loss was, all is not lost for the Terps. Here's why:
Maryland is 6-3 and 3-2 in the ACC Atlantic Division, tied with Florida State and Wake Forest. Win their last three games (Home to UNC and Florida State, at Boston College) and they play for the ACC title. In other words, the Terps control their destiny.

Positive Thought of the Day: Terps stunk it up in away night games vs Middle Tennessee State and Virginia earlier this season but were able to bounce back from those by beating California and Wake Forest at home in the afternoon. The Terps lost to Virginia Tech and it was a night game. The Terps next game is Saturday November 15th vs North Carolina at home, 3:30 in the afternoon.

Hopefully the players and coaching staff can rally and get it together so the Terps can take care of business down the stretch. Maryland has talent to win all three remaining games but they have to play a hell of a lot better than they did at Blacksburg last night.

The Good:
Heyward-Bey Highlight of the Week Because you will see him playing on Sunday's in the NFL, Hey-Bey caught a screen pass and ran 60 yards for the Terps only TD.

Maryland's Special Teams: Blocked one punt and when down 20-10, recovered a fumble off another punt deep in Virginia Tech territory. However, the Terps could not find the end zone and settled for an Obi Egekeze field goal.

The Bad:
The Terps Offensive Line didn't come to play tonight as Chris Turner was sacked three times.

Maryland's Defense surrendered 400 total yards to a Virginia Tech offense that had been struggling and didn't have either of its top QB's healthy.

Maryland giving up 253 rushing yards to a redshirt freshman.

The Ugly:
Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans had more rushing yards, 253, than the Terps had total offense, 228.

4th Quarter Time of Possession: Virginia Tech 12:26, Maryland 2:34

Washington Post recap.