Image Credit: Baltimore Sun
The Maryland Terrapins pulled out a 32-21 win over the Connecticut Huskies in Randy Edsall’s return to East Hartford. It was a close game for one half, but the Terps took over in the second half and put the game away. There were a few injuries to worry about, including WR Nigel King and CB Dexter McDougle. King’s injury seemed to be of the knee variety, and he was seen on the sideline on crutches. McDougle looks to have suffered a shoulder injury, and we likely won’t know the severity of these injuries for awhile. But there were some positives and negatives to take out of this loss, so let’s take a look at what we learned.
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- The Terps are a resilient team. Even though the running backs had a tough time holding onto the ball, and the wide receivers had some key drops, this team stepped up when they needed to and made the necessary plays to win.
- This defense is very good in the red zone. With the loss of Jeremiah Johnson (and perhaps Dexter McDougle), the Terps’ defensive backfield is going to take a hit. But they were able to shut down UConn in the red zone for the most part, forcing them to opt for field goal attempts instead of touchdowns. Sure, they gave up some big chunks of yards in the passing game, but they stepped up when they needed to.
- Stefon Diggs is a beast. We all knew this, but he continues to amaze with his play-making abilities. There’s a reason the Heisman talk surrounding him is getting louder.
- Marcus Whitfield is a sack machine. Through the first 3 games of the season, Whitfield already has 4.5 sacks. He is without a doubt the best pass rusher on the team.
- William Likely can return kicks. In a somewhat surprising move, Randy Edsall decided to have the true freshman return the bulk of the kicks in the second half, and he didn’t disappoint. He averaged 36.7 yards on his 3 kickoff returns tonight. Diggs only averaged 17.5 yards on 2 kickoff returns.
- Brad Craddock looks better. The sophomore kicker missed his first field goal of the season tonight, a 50-yard try that had the accuracy, but not the distance. He made his other 3 attempts, making him 7/8 on the season with a long of 40 yards.
- Dexter McDougle needs to come back soon. After losing CB Jeremiah Johnson for 7-8 weeks, the Terps can’t have their top 2 corners out with significant injuries. Towards the end of the game, we saw what can happen when you’re relying on players like Alvin Hill to cover the opposition’s best receivers.
- This defense can tackle. In 2011, the biggest beef with the Terps’ defense was the lack of tackling ability. This season, it’s rare if a Terp defender misses a tackle in space. Players like Cole Farrand, L.A. Goree, Dexter McDougle, and William Likely put on tackling clinics in every game they play. Matt Robinson also had quite a few good tackles in the game. Farrand led the team with 12.
- This is a good team. The Terps did well in their first real test of the season, and now head home to prepare for an even better team in West Virginia. The Mountaineers have probably taken a step back from where they were last season, and the Terps have taken a step forward. There is no reason to believe that the Terps can’t win this game.