With Florida International picked to finish near the bottom of Conference USA, Maryland’s 43-10 victory today will be casually dismissed by many. However, regardless of the opponent; there were plenty of positive things to take from the Terrapins performance.
MD deserves credit for controlling the action against an inferior opponent. They did not play down to competition. Also, the Terps played a crisp game for the opener. Very few penalties or mental errors. The Terrapins defensive line consistently got pressure, and won their battles at the line of scrimmage.
Most importantly, CJ Brown was extremely impressive in his return to action. The QB not only made plays with his legs, but showed accuracy and improved decision making in the pocket vs. what he showed two years ago. Stefon Diggs is a star, who has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. Getting a play maker the caliber of Deon Long opposite of Diggs (and getting Long involved immediately) bodes very well for the Terps going forward.
It was an explosive showing from the Terps today, and certainly a game which can build the confidence of both their players and fans alike.
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1) Diggs returned the opening kickoff 39 yards to the MD 48.
2) On MD’s first possession, Ross took the initial first two carries, and picked up a 1st down. That was followed by a Brown completion to Levern Jacobs, for 31 yards down the sideline; setting up 1st and Goal. On 3rd and Goal, Brown made a nice read to the TE Dave Steinbaugh. Craddock ended the drive with a FG, for a 3-0 lead.
3) After MD’s initial FG, Abner Logan forced a fumble on the Kickoff, giving the Terps great field position when K. Goins recovered the ball at the FIU 13. Craddock would add a second FG, to make it 6-0.
4) With around 10 minutes left in the 1st, FIU started their first series, beginning at their own 22. The Golden Panthers went 3 and out, with MD bring pressure on 3rd down.
5) Coming off the Punt Return fumble from Will Likely, MD brought down FIU’s Medlock, helped by strong coverage in the backfield. On 3rd and 10, Kilgo batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. This forced a FG attempt, which was converted to make it a 6-3 game.
6) Leading 6-3, MD started at their 14. For a second time, Brown found Long. Another short gain, but I liked that MD was looking to get Deon Long involved immediately. On 2nd an 7, there was a read-option pitch from Brown to Diggs for 26 yards. On 2nd and 9, Long caught his 3rd pass, this time along the sidelines for 27 yards. That took the ball to the FIU 29. On the next play, Brown took it to the house himself. Nice blocking from the MD WR’s on the play. MD went up 13-3, with 5:50 left in the 1st.
7) Great seeing the MD defense for another 3 and out, leading 13-3. Get the ball right back to the offense. Nice plays from Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, and Jeremiah Johnson on that series.
8) Ross picked up 3rd and 1, with just under 3 minutes left in the 1st Quarter. Taking the ball into FIU territory. On 3rd and 6, Diggs made a 1 hand grab. Really impressive. Brown did a good job extending the play. On 1st and 10, Brown found Long with a sideline strike for 8 yards to end the 1st Quarter. On the 1st play of the 2nd Quarter, Brown found Long for a second MD TD. Long just beat his defender for the 25 yard score. The Terps went up 20-3.
9) Leading 20-3, MD’s defense again controlled the line of scrimmage. On 3rd down Quinton Jefferson put Medlock on the ground.
10) After FIU’s first TD, Brown rolled off a 64 yard run on the next MD series. On the next play he found Goins for a wide open TD on the 17 yard reception. As Craddock missed the extra point, MD took the 26-10 lead. The two play, 81 yard drive lasted just 37 seconds, and was a great answer to the FIU score.
11) Dexter McDougle brought bring pressure off the edge, with MD up 26-10. On 3rd and 10, MD showed pressure, then dropped into coverage. FIU went incomplete, and were forced into their 4th punt of the game.
12) Diggs scored his 1st TD of the year, wide open on the catch. The hardest thing for him on the play was keeping his balance. The 66 yard score put the Terps up 33-10.
13) Moved from Safety to LB, Matt Robinson was flying around. Couple of nice plays from him, with the Terps leading 33-10. On FIU 3 and out, MD took over from their 40.
14) Starting from their 40, with 5 minutes left in the 1st half – Brown immediately found Long for a 20 yard strike. Helped by a FIU penalty on 3rd down, MD gained another 1st. Out of the diamond formation on 3rd and 2, Reid picked up the 1st with second effort. This set up 1st and 10 from the FIU 11. Brown kept the ball himself, and would score on the next play. An 8 play, 60 yard drive over 3:43, with MD taking the 30 point lead. (40-10.)
15) Likely brought a corner blitz in the final minute of the 1st half, causing an incomplete pass.
16) MD had a 399 yard offensive 1st half, while allowing just 59 yards to FIU. The Terps averaged 10.2 yards per play.
17) FIU had the ball to start the 2nd half, and was having their best success of the day moving the ball. MD’s defense stepped up to make plays on 3rd and 4, and 4th and 2 to get the ball back. On that series ILB’s Cole Farrand, and LA Goree looked. On that 4th and 2 stop, Isaac Goins and Alex Twine combined for the tackle.
18) On the 2nd FIU series of the 2nd half, Jefferson and Andre Monroe combined to bring major pressure on 1st down. Marcus Whitfield would gain a sack on 3rd down.
19) On MD’s 2nd series of the 2nd half, Brown found Diggs, and Long for a couple of quick outs to move the chains. On 3rd and 15 from the FIU 37, Ross gained 13 yards with his reception.
20) Beautiful interception from McDougle in the 3rd Quarter. Lots of concentration to make the play.
21) McDonogh’s Roman Braglio had a sack in the 3rd Quarter. Later on that series, MD earned their 5th sack of the day, as Whitfield, Jefferson, and Monroe converged on the Golden Panthers QB at the same time. J. Johnson made another strong play on that series.
22) Caleb Rowe entered the game for the Terps late in the 3rd Quarter. On 3rd and short to begin the 4th Quarter, Rowe rolled out and found Nigel King for 21 yards. L. Jacobs had a couple of catches on the series. Craddock added his 3rd FG of the game, making it a 43-10 game.
23) FIU was just 4 of 16 on 3rd down.
24) Jacquille Veii got some extended touches late in the 4th Quarter.
1) The Terrapins had 1st and Goal on the opening series of the game, but were forced to settle for a FG.
2) Coming off the initial MD FG, FIU fumbled the ball, and MD recovered at the FIU 13. For a second time, MD would settle for a FG.
3) Up 20-3, MD took over at their 30. Mike Madaras was flagged for a false start, and MD’s first penalty. On 3rd and 7, Brown was hit as he dropped back, and fumbled. FIU gained possession at the MD 25. On the play, Madaras was hurt and helped off the field.
4) FIU would take advantage of the Brown fumble, punching in a TD on 4th and Goal. MD’s Kilgo, and Bowers combined for a big stop on 3rd down, but the defense was unable to hold on 4th. This made it a 10 point game (20-10) with 8:30 left in the 1st half.
5) MD’s 7th possession started with Brown bobbling a snap out of the shotgun for the 2nd time.
6) Coach Edsall mentioned at half time he thought the tackling could be improved. Coaches always have to have something to point out to improve, but it’s worth mentioning.
7) On the Terps first series of the 3rd Quarter, MD faced 3rd and 5. The O-line stepped up and gave Brown time; but Brown and Stinebaugh were not able to connect for the 1st.
8) MD was just 4 of 12 on 3rd down.
1) It is understood that after several down seasons, interest in the MD program is down. It is also understood that FIU was not going to bring in a crowd. However, seeing thousands of empty seats for the opening week was not good. (It should be noted that the student sections were well represented though.)
2) With MD leading 6-0, and getting the ball back; True Freshman Will Likely fumbled the FIU punt. This gave the Golden Panthers possession at the MD 20.
3) Craddock missed an extra point.
Notes & Comments:
1) Brown finished the game 20 of 24, for 276 yards and 3 TD’s in the air. On the ground, Brown had 12 carries for 105 yards, and 2 more scores. Huge game for the MD QB.
2) In his first game as a Terp, Long had 9 receptions for 106 yards, and a TD. Diggs had 97 yards receiving (including a TD), 26 yards rushing, and 68 yards as a KR.
3) Ross’s numbers were not impressive (10 carries, for 20 yards), but he looked good when running North/South. There were a couple of carries though where he was moving East/West. Reid added 9 carries for 45 yards.
4) As you would expect, MD dominated the time of possession. The Terps held the ball for 32 and 1/2 minutes.
5) MD had nearly 600 total yards of offense, while allowing just under 200 yards. The Terps had 28 1st downs.