Maryland traveled South to Winston-Salem today, favored to win their 6th game and gain Bowl Eligibility. However, the Demon Deacons would have none of that; beating the Terps 34-10. This was a relatively important swing game, and drops Maryland to 5-2 overall. In addition to losing the game, the Terps are now potentially facing a QB controversy, as Caleb Rowe had to replace CJ Brown in the 3rd Quarter.
Losing a game you are expected to win, and a QB change would usually be the headlines. They are not today. Unfortunately the headlines are the injuries to WR’s Deon Long, and Stefon Diggs; which (depending on the severity of each injury) may well change the rest of the MD season.
Long is a talent that had immediate NFL aspirations. Diggs is the face of the program. Their injuries make a horrible day just excruciating for the Terrapins.
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What did we see?
1) Long’s injury was just horrific looking. It was tough to watch; and you have to believe ends his year. You had to feel bad for the WR, as you wonder how this impacts his immediate future.
1a) After picking up a 1st down to start the 4th Quarter, Diggs was also lost to injury. MD was at the Wake 15, with a full Quarter to play with. The Terps would go 4 and out, turning the ball back to WF. It was going to be hard to come back, losing Diggs eliminated any chance. Seeing him also carted off was brutal.
1b) Nigel King, Cheeseboro, Etta-Tawo, both of Jacobs brothers… and maybe even true Freshman DeAndre Lane now will have a larger opportunities. (Another instance of where MD misses Marcus Leak who left before the year – and plans to re-enroll in January.) Having a recognized threat like Long opposite of Diggs made the offense. There is no replicating of either player. Losing one of them will severely hurt the offense. Losing both would be crippling. It was good to see Etta-Tawo, and Levern Jacobs have some positives in the 2nd half.
2) The interior of MD’s offensive line was just worked by Wake’s Whitlock from the opening Terps possession. It was one of those showings where in the moment you are thinking every member of MD’s incoming Freshman class should all be O-line.
3) Wake’s average starting field possession on their first 4 scoring drives was the MD 36.
4) MD missed points at the end of their 2nd drive when Craddock missed his FG attempt from 35 yards.
5) MD had 15 offensive plays in the 1st Quarter, 7 for 0 or for a loss.
6) Wake was having no problems getting Campanaro the ball, which begged the question as to why Diggs has become a non-factor in recent weeks? Yes, Diggs had 8 catches, but they were not finding ways to get him the ball in space. This matters little though after his injury today. Of course part of the answer as to why Diggs has been a non-factor, is that he has been hurting since the West Virginia game. Will the injury today put scrutiny on the MD Coaches for allowing Diggs to play while hurting? That seems like a reach. He might not have been himself, but the injury today should be regarded as a separate issue.
7) A possible QB change for MD was brought up fairly early in the 2nd Quarter in our Game Thread. My response was that while I thought Rowe obviously has the better arm, I thought Brown gave the Terps a better chance to win. When Rowe entered in the 3rd Quarter, it took him two plays to prove I was wrong. Maybe Brown was still chasing cobwebs from his concussion, but Rowe’s arm strength immediately made a difference. Rowe entered the game with 8:23 in the 3rd, 46 seconds later MD scored when he hooked up with L. Jacobs for a 56 yard TD.
8) Really deflating to see MD’s defense allow a score on the immediate drive following their TD. That it was Campanaro beating MD multiple times in that series, was all the more head scratching. I’m a big fan of Maryland Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart, but I’m puzzled that MD was not making someone else beat them.
9) Steinbaugh had a great catch on play-action from Brown, and a huge gain late in the 4th from Rowe.
10) The MD Red Zone offense was brutal, albeit with the understanding that the losses of Long, and Diggs obviously did not help.