Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Where is Ross Perot?

I feel like Maryland fans need one of those trademark 1992 Perot campaign infomercials where he starts talking about "that sucking sound" to explain this football season. They have flat out stunk in a couple games (WVU, VT) and let victories slip away in a few others (Clemson, FSU). In summary they are the epitome of a mediocre team. They've frittered away too many victories with mistakes and late game collapses. The ever upbeat Ralph Friedgen is like the anti-Lou Holtz. He rarely talks down his team or his talent unless it is painfully obvious to everyone watching and up until Saturday night was still talking about the ACC title game. I don't think anyone took that seriously, but god bless Ralph I think he meant it. It can be invigorating for a moribund fanbase to have that kind of continual enthusiasm from the head coach but at the same time it can start to seem slightly dilusional after a while.

The Terps actually put up a much better fight than I would have expected had I known that Joel Statham would play the majority of the game. The trainer was interviewed on the radio before the game and stated that Hollenbach had improved during the week and would start. I'm not sure what can be gained from deceiving your own radio affliliate so I'll just have to assume that whomever they interviewed had no idea what they were talking about.

You had to have that sinking feeling when Statham showed up under center. He promptly fumbled the handoff to running back Mario Merrills on the second play of the game. After two quick Seminole scores Maryland could have folded and scurried to the bus with a 28 point loss, but they steadied themselves and tied the game at 14. With the aid of some good field position Maryland was able to add another score before the half to make it 21-14.

Statham did have some success attacking the middle and deep sidelines against the FSU defense, which resulted in three quick scores. There were two other throws that should have been intercepted by Seminole defenders. He may be a great kid but he isn't capable of playing at a high college level. He locks onto his primary receiver for too long and against speedy defenses that is death. He also has a proclivity for turning the ball over at the worst possible time.

Friedgen had seen enough of Statham that he put Hollenbach in after it was 14-0. Hollenbach injured his back on a 2 yard run on the second play and was yanked for the rest of the game. No need to risk the rest of the season to pull off a long shot upset. With Statham Maryland would have little chance to reach 6-5 and a bowl game.

After the point blitz in the 2nd quarter Statham went 7-15 on his passes, threw a game changing interception on Maryland's 40 yard line, was sacked on the last drive of the game and amassed only 42 yards. Forty two yards!

The one bright spot was Lance Ball. He is a "franchise" back. Forget all the other backs on the depth chart. He has the size to run with power and pick up a blitzing linebacker. He has very good hands and runs well on screens out of the backfield. He has enough speed to hit the hole quickly or get out on the edge, if not home run speed. He wears down a defense like he did to both Virginia and FSU. He pounded out 120 yards on 21 carries and 102 yards came in the second half against Florida State. I'm confused why Charlie Taffee had Statham attempting so many passes with the lead. He now has 541 yards and a 5.4 yard per carry average and has 12 receptions as well. Ball is only a sophomore and should have a tremendous career at Maryland if the staff will just give him the carriers to wear down an opponent.

The goats of the game have to be Joel Statham and CB Gerrick McPhearson. Statham's 4th quarter interception with Maryland only behind by one point all but ended the Terps chances for an upset. McPhearson had two 15 yard pass interference calls on FSU's go ahead drive in the 4th quarter including on a 4th down. I would guess that after two 15 yard penalties in the Clemson loss that McPhearson leads the team in dumb penaties.

QB: D+
RB: A-
WR: B-
DB: D+

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