Thursday, September 22, 2005

And the Banjo Music Played

Maryland's collection of young pups got their tales kicked last Saturday. I had to wait till later in the week to write about it due to the Colonel Kurtzian horror of the whole thing. There was little positive to take out of the 31-19 drubbing by the mountain people. It certainly puts the Terps in a forbidding position if they hope to make the postseason again. If I could channel Jim Mora and his famous "playoffs" moment I would. The soft part of Maryland's schedule will be over fairly soon and unless they can win two or even three games coming up they have little chance to reverse the trend and get back to a low tier bowl game. Their road schedule may even be more accommodating with North Carolina, Wake Forest, Temple, NC State and FSU remaining and, given that Maryland is already 0-2 at the friendly confines of Bryd Stadium, the homes dates with Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College remaining are likely to find Maryland an underdog in all three. It is possible that Maryland could win at Wake and Temple and find itself needing to steal three of the remaining games. The likely scenario would be to win at UNC and NC State and need to pull out one of the BC, FSU, UVA or VT games. That doesn't sound totally absurd, but then again it doesn't sound likely either.

Given the poor performance of the whole team it would be futile to try to grade anyone, it would just look like Shane Clark's transcript.

Sam Hollenbach played well again. He completed almost 65% of his passes and threw for 291 yards with two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception and his fumble came when the game was already over. If you take note of the fact that he had absolutely no running game to back him up I would say those are outstanding numbers. He needs to improve on his 3rd down play and his two sacks were both on important 3rd downs. If he had a competent running game he would be deadly with play action.

The offensive line and running backs did close to nothing. The managed a pathetic 1.7 yards per attempt against the aggressive WVU defense. Hollenbach was pressured by an assortment of blitzes and Mario Merrills missed a blocking assignment on a critical sack. It is a credit to Hollenbach that in spite of this Maryland's average yards per play(5.7) was better than WVU's(5.2).

The defense again wilted with the game on the line. The DL was unable to stand up at the point of attack to the bruising WVU running game. Jeremy Navarre gets swallowed up by the larger OT he faces. Trey Covington saw more action and demonstrated that he is very athletic and active with 9 tackles. Conrad Bolston had an idiotic offsides penalty on a WVU punt that kept their drive alive and resulted in a go ahead score. Once again the defense failed to provide a turnover.

The playcalling was questionable again. With the running game floundering OC Charlie Taffee kept calling runs, but when the passing game was opened up Hollenbach threw two touchdowns in under 2 minutes. You have to wonder if the game may have gone differently had Taffee started taking what WVU was giving earlier instead of forcing a "balanced" attack.

Next Game:

Wake Forest and Maryland are both desperate at 1-2. Wake's bread and butter is running the football which is not what Maryland would like to see right now. If Maryland can come out throwing the ball and put a few scores up early it will make things much easier. I'm not convinced this young group will respond so well after such a demoralizing two games.

Wake: 23
Maryland: 14

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