Coming off of a bye week, the Terps were unable to get anything going against Syracuse today. The offense could only muster 3 points in the game, and everything just looked ugly. C.J. Brown threw 2 interceptions and was under constant pressure. It’s a disappointing loss for a program that desperately needs to get to a bowl game. They’ll have three more chances for that this season, and it starts in Blacksburg, VA against Virginia Tech next week. But for now, let’s take a look at what we learned from this loss.
- The defense needs Farrand and Goree - Both of Maryland’s starting inside linebackers (Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree) were out for this game. The defense is based around those two positions, and Farrand and Goree have been extremely good in run defense this season. Abner Logan and Shawn Petty have talent, but couldn’t produce quite enough to make up for the losses of Farrand and Goree. The run defense got a lot better when L.A. Goree entered the game in the second half.
- The offensive line continues to struggle - The biggest question mark coming into this season was the offensive line, but they did a decent job through the first few games. Unfortunately they have been struggling over the past few weeks, and Syracuse was just the next team to be able to exploit that. Running lanes were few and far between and C.J. Brown had very little time to throw. Mike Madaras’ departure certainly doesn’t help, but the line has to be able to do better than this if the offense wants to move the ball down the field.
- The Terps need to get off the field - Time and time again, we saw the Terps get Syracuse to third and fourth down and allow them to convert way too many times. The run defense was really hurt by the absence of Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree.
- Tackling is a problem…again - For the last few seasons, the Terps’ tackling had been a huge problem. They weren’t wrapping up, and offensive players were slipping out for big gaines. Brian Stewart looked to have fixed the tackling issues, but they presented themselves again in today’s game. This defense has the talent to be good despite the injuries, and they’d look even better if they didn’t make so many bad tackles.
- Moise Larose is a freshman - He had some good moments and some bad moments, which is about what should be expected from a true freshman offensive lineman. He has talent, and needs to show progression from week to show the coaches he deserves a starting spot next season.
- Too many unforced errors - The Terps showed how young they are with the number of mental mistakes they made in this game. Amba Etta-Tawo dropped an easy catch and fumbled what should have been an easy catch. C.J. Brown threw two interceptions and had multiple option pitches go awry. For a team that’s lost so much key talent, they have to be able to limit their mental mistakes if they want to compete for the rest of the season.
- Bowl game chances look bleak - This was one of the uglier games the Terps have played this season. The entire team looked flat, which is not good coming off of a bye week. They will have 3 more chances to get to 6 wins, but it doesn’t look likely that they will get there this season. If they cannot win another game, they will have improved their record by just 1 game from last year.
- Fan support is dwindling - Support from Maryland fans was sky high after the Terps beat West Virginia in their fourth game of the year. But after a blowout loss to Florida State and flat performances ever since, many fans have understandably given up and are frustrated. The stadium has been eerily empty for most games, including the student section. Something needs to be done in the next few weeks to somehow win a game. Getting to a bowl game would really help energize the fan base a little.