Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seminoles thrash defenseless Terps, 41-16

Maryland looked helpless last Saturday while getting crushed by Florida State. The defense had as bad a performance as any Maryland team since the getting run off the field by California in the 2009 opener. The game went downhill right from the kickoff as FSU scored two straight touchdowns on drives of 7 and 9 plays to open the game 14-0. This Seminole team is not stacked with NFL athletes like past additions but the talent gap between the two teams was painfully obvious. At linebacker and secondary the Terps just couldn't match up with FSU's speed. While the team was able to apply some pressure on E.J. Manuel it was  too little as FSU amassed over 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The Terps were particularly bad on 1st down as FSU totaled 290 yards on first down alone! They ran the ball 21 times for 126 yards, a 6.0 yard per carry average, and completed 8/13 passes for 154 yards, a phenomenal 11.8 yards per attempt. It made the job of stopping a pretty good FSU offense almost impossible.

The offense didn't perform much better as QB C.J. Brown couldn't get anything going in the first half and Maryland punted on six of the first seven possessions. Florida State looked at the tape from the Clemson game and bottled up Brown's scrambling leaving him with his spotty passing to move the ball. Brown needed to read the pressure from the Seminole defense a little better as Danny O'Brien, who replaced Brown when he got knocked woozy on a scramble, did several times and audibled to a better play. Not that O'Brien really played that much better completing just 50% of his attempts and getting most of his yardage on a 69 yard jump ball to McCree. In his six drives Maryland punted four times and he had two 3 and out possessions late in the game. I don't put much stock in the garbage time touchdown that O'Brien threw to Marcus Leak with 5 seconds left. The defense was probably a bad matchup for Brown but Randy Edsall has a real mess on his hands since there is no clear choice at quarterback and a back and forth system at quarterback is probably not a great idea if you are trying to galvanize the team to save the season. At this point it probably is worth going back to Danny O'Brien as a starter given some of the weaker defenses coming up for the Terps.

The 41-16 defeat to Florida State was the 5th loss in a row to the Seminoles and only the second worst margin during that time, losing 37-3 in 2008.

It does seem obvious that Maryland needs to recruit a better caliber of athlete to match up with FSU and Clemson, who have been killing it on the recruiting trail the last few years. The Seminoles and Tigers have not been able to match that recruiting with on the field domination, with Clemson's current season an exception, but the Terrapins are going to struggle to compete in the Atlantic Division with the kind of recruits that Randy Edsall brought to Connecticut or even the level of players that Ralph Friedgen was recruiting his last few seasons at Maryland. It remains to be seen if Edsall has the kind of staff that can make that happen.

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