The word of the game is... cold. Not only was the weather frigid, but the Terrapins’ offense and defense was stone-dead cold in this game. Every stereotype about Maryland football – about laying an egg against non-ranked teams, failing at night, failing on the national stage, failing when it counts the absolute most – came true tonight. Credit the Seminoles; they played inspired football on both offense and defense, and took command quickly after giving the Terrapins a couple of early chances. The Terps then blew those chances, and the ‘Noles never looked back. As I froze in the stands watching this game, I couldn’t help but wonder if this Maryland program can ever reach its potential. There’s nothing that kills a sports fan more than wasted talent.
Offense - Overall Grade: F
Chris Turner was awful, there’s no two ways around it. The fact that he wasn’t replaced in the fourth quarter was honestly very surprising. He lost confidence early and, in typical fashion, did not have the composure to bring him back together. The offensive line gave him no help, but those interceptions and several errant throws had nothing to do with pressure. I have said it many times before and I’ll say it again: Maryland fans vastly overrate Chris Turner as a passer and as a leader.
Running Backs: C
The yardage was very good for both Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, and certainly they did everything they could with the blocking they received in the run game. However, Da’Rel Scott’s fumble problems again reared their head and bit the Terps badly. Some help in pass protection wouldn’t have hurt either
Wide Receivers: C
They did… okay? Honestly, how can you tell with how this game went? There were a couple of big missed catches by Heyward-Bey and Oquendo, and they didn’t do a particularly good job of getting open and coming back to the quarterback when he was in trouble
Tight Ends: B+
Gronkowski was excellent today in both a run blocking and pass-receiving threat. Langsford Watson had a big reception early in the game.
Offensive Line: D-
Yes, they did a decent job in the running game. But the positives end there. They turned Chris Turner into a tackling dummy and played a large role in Turner’s continued downward spiral in the game. It was painful to watch.
Defense - Overall Grade: F
Defensive Line: F
Beaten off the ball and embarrassed by the FSU offensive line. The Seminoles could run at will, and that all starts with the defensive line.
Please someone get these boys in position to contain the option. I repeatedly saw FSU run the option and have only one linebacker trying to contain it. The tackling was very poor across the board, and again, the Seminoles ran at will on this defense. Very disappointing for this senior-laden group.
Defensive Backs: C-
Ummmm… not bad? There were very few passes down the field, and of those there were a couple big completions and a few good defensive plays. So this is a wash really.
Special Teams - Overall Grade: B-
Barely missed a long field goal, and converted a short opportunity for Maryland’s only points. A poor job on kickoffs overall, giving line drives to approx the ten each time; that spells trouble for the coverage unit.
Baltz did what he could, per usual. Nothing flashy but he did his job (many, many, many times more than he should have to).
Torrey Smith looked great on kick returns, using his blockers well and running decisively. He might not be a guy who’s going to take it to the house, but he’ll give you good 25-30 yard returns regularly. Florida State even started squibbing the kicks to keep it away from him -- you have to like what you see from this fast-rising freshman. Oquendo was solid on punt returns, making smart decisions overall.
The blocking for Torrey Smith was good on kick returns, but the positives end there. Poor tackling and discipline destroyed this group when trying to contain FSU’s return game.
Coaching - Overall Grade: D-
There were a lot of bad bounces that forced Franklin out of his game plan, but that doesn’t excuse a good number of the poor calls and poor schemes that Franklin used. Bring in two tight ends and a fullback with one wide receiver and run a draw?? Do you really think that’s going to work? How about running the ball when that’s the only thing going for your team? How about keeping back extra blockers to at least chip at the beast that’s knocking your quarterback into next week? And one more note: if you don’t have confidence in your quarterback, and don’t want him to throw when you’re down 21, just take him out. It was clear early in the fourth quarter that you would rather wave the white flag than take a chance.
Florida State ran the same plays all game, and Maryland just couldn’t stop them. It wasn’t until late that Maryland woke up to the fact that no, the option play wasn’t going to go away and they had better as heck get in position to defend it. Then again, it’s hard to play defense in the second half when your offense is entirely inept.
And for my MVP/LVP...
MVP (Most Valuable Player) –Torrey Smith– The only true weapon on Maryland’s team. You know why he’s the MVP? He was clearly the one Maryland player who Florida State became legitimately scared of. With a halfway decent offense, Smith’s returns could have translated to needed points.
LVP (Least Valuable Player) –Chris Turner– I can’t wait to hear the Chris Turner apologists after this one. I’ll give an assist to the sieve, also known as his offensive line.
(Photo Credit: Doug Kapustin/Baltimore Sun)