Saturday, October 18, 2008

Postgame Report Card: Maryland 26, Wake Forest 0

The word of the game is....tremendous. Superb, fantastic, amazing, choose your adjective for this game. Coming back after being shutout against Virginia, Maryland got its revenge on Wake Forest from two weeks ago and last year's loss in Winston-Salem. The offense playing effectively, the defense playing great; an overall excellent game. Wake Forest got handed their first shutout in 10 years.

After the game, Ralph Friedgen said he was proud of the victory and joking asked the press to put Maryland in the top-25. While I don't see that happening, the Terps will get some looks again. The Terps improve to 5-2, are one win away from being bowl eligible, and are tied with Florida State atop the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 conference record. Not to mention Maryland is now 3-0 against ranked opponents.

Offense- Overall Grade: B+
Quarterbacks: A-
A great job by Chris Turner, finding his targets well all around the field and completing 68.3% of his passes for 323 yards and a touchdown. Once again Turner plays well after a bad loss. When Turner is on his game, he is one of the best in conference.
Running Backs: C-
Something must be up with Da'Rel Scott. Yes he had the cool throw to Darrius Heyward-Bey for the opening touchdown, but on the ground in the first half he lost two fumbles, putting Wake in Maryland territory. He did have decent success in the second half with 73 yards in all, but his mistakes nearly cost Maryland. Davin Meggett had a good showing in the first half, getting 43 yards on six carries.
Wide Receivers: A
A wonderful day for Darrius Heyward-Bey, getting a career high 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, including a catch for 41 yards in double coverage leaping to make the grab. Then Danny Oquendo put the final nail in Wake's coffin with a 50-yard touchdown catch, making some real nifty moves to get into the end zone, assisted by some great blocking. He ended with three catches for 90 yards.
Tight Ends: B+
Dan Gronkowski had a very good day, nabbing six passes for 53 yards. Onyl problem I had was a dropped third down pass across the middle which would have led to a first down. And Tommy Galt, junior tight end and son of the strength and conditioning coach, had a tremendous catch across the middle where he jumped and caught the pigskin above his head, getting tackled below. That was his first catch of his Maryland career.
Offensive Line: B
For the most part, good job by the line. Turner wasn't under much pressure in the pocket and often they held against any play that sent five or less against them. The running game didn't really get off during the game until the second half, but the playcalling did a lot of that.

Defense- Overall Grade: A+
Defensive Line: A+
Wake's running game was non-existent and Riley Skinner got sacked four times. Nuff said.
Linebackers: A+
This is clearly Maryland's strongest position on defense. Alex Wujajic was always around the ball with 13 tackles, Dave Philistin was with him with 10 and a sack, Moise Fokou with 7 tackles and a sack. This corps is just devastating and didn't show any mercy.
Secondary: A+
Yes, three A-pluses for the defense; when you shutout a team that hadn't been shutout in 10 years you've earned it. Arguably the best passer in the conference (statistically Skinner is) is held to under 50% completion on his passes. Considering all the injuries Maryland is dealing with, a great job.

Special Teams- Overall Grade: B+
Kicker: A+
Obi Egekeze converted all four field goals including a 40-yarder, his two extra points, and did fine on kickoffs.
Punter: B
Travis Baltz wasn't his normal self, but most of his punts couldn't have been long due to field position. Friedgen did say that he wanted to Baltz to get more punts inside the 10. He averaged 37.4 yards on five punts and had two inside the 20.
Returners: B
Only one return of note since only one kickoff, but Torrey Smith had a solid 34-yard return. Oquendo never really had a chance to return anything, only one of nine punts were returned, that for a yard.
Coverage: B
Nothing special on kickoffs, and most of the punts weren't useful to Wake.

Coaching- Overall Grade: A
Offense: A-
It is hard to be critical when Maryland scores 26 against a very strong defense. The playcalling was getting Heyward-Bey open while keeping Turner comfortable in the pocket. Only thing I'd mention is the running plays could have been better, but Franklin did just fine today.
Defense: A+
First time Wake Forest is shut out in 10 years. Chris Cosh, well done.

MVP: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Heyward-Bey finally got to see the ball, getting 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Had great ctaches plus helped with big blocks on the field.
LVP: Da'Rel Scott
It is hard to put an LVP in this game, but Scott's two lost fumbles nearly caused Maryland a lot of pain.

And the other category:
Maryland crowd: D
Ralph Friedgen made it a point to mention at the press conference that the crowd didn't seem that into it during the game and that it didn't feel like a home-field advantage. I noticed the same thing atop Tyser Tower, it seemed that the student section was awfully quiet a lot of the time. Wake Forest is a ranked team that has beaten Maryland the last two years with important stakes, I know it is a noon game but the students need to be more into it.

Maryland (5-2) has their homecoming next week when they face NC State. Congrats on the win today Maryland, you earned it in every way.
(Photo credit: Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun)


Bill-DC said...

Loved yesterday's win. The day is nicer out, the traffic going out of Byrd is bearable and the music sounds much better after a win.

One of the things so worth the price of admission to these games is seeing DHB make a catch like he did hauling down that 41 yarder from Turner in double coverage. That was sweet! I'm still looking for the you tube of that.

Fridge had that team ready to play yesterday. Props to him, the coaches, team and staff of MD. While I was down on DScott on his three fumbles, Fridge still stuck with him and Scott played well in the second half.

Just hope the Bad Maryland Terps have made their last appearance of 2008 two weeks ago at Charlottesville.

Falco said...

I agree with you bill-dc, the next game will be a possible trap, cause N.C. State really hasn't played well at 2-5. Will Maryland come to play? We'll see.