Monday, October 16, 2006

Terps don't lose

It was a game on Saturday that Virginia lost more than a game that Maryland won. Virginia blew a 20-0 lead late in the 3rd quarter by a series of mistakes that you'd expect from a 2-4 team. The muffed punt that all but gave Maryland a touchdown to pull the Terps to within a score of Virginia and an interception return for a touchdown all but sealed the game for Maryland. Maryland's offense did nothing of note until Virginia's Emmanuel Byers fumbled on his own one yard line. Virginia's offense out gained Maryland's in every category: rushing, passing, first downs. Maryland's defense yielded almost 200 yards rushing and nearly surrendered a game winning drive to a redshirt freshman quarterback. I'm somewhat perplexed by the borderline euphoria that followed the skin-of-their-teeth victory. Virginia is a bad team. Maryland should have won the game if they are as good as they seem to think. The coaching staffs for each program probably view this game as a bigger rivalry that either school's fans do and that certainly had something to do with Ralph Friedgen's whooping in the postgame celebration. There is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in a win, especially given that there have not been many worth celebrating the last two years but Maryland's four victories have come against teams with a combined 7-19 record this season. They will have to improve dramatically to have a chance at a low tier bowl game. Remember that Maryland beat Virginia last season in a thrilling game and it didn't lead to any cathartic break through for a group of young players. Coach Friedgen couldn't help himself from pointing out in the post game interviews that Maryland was still in the hunt for the Atlantic division title. Maryland needs to just focus on the next game. They are not playing anywhere near well enough to start looking that far ahead.

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