Nov 25 2011

Dream Job Fail

How bad/evil are Maryland Terrapin fans? Here’s a previously unreleased photo that definitively answers that question:

While that may or may not be photoshopped, it doesn’t dispel the notion that 99% of Maryland fans suck! In my humble, yet correct, opinion they are the worst fan base in the ACC. Not just in the way they act towards opposing fans, but also in how they support their team. Maryland fans love to brag about their Terps and how much they love them, but they don’t actually back any of that up by going to the games as they’re always in the bottom of the ACC in attendance figures. Yep, that’s 72.5% capacity last year for a team that went 9-4 and finished the season ranked #23.

All that led the Terp brass to run Ralph Friedgen out of town and bring in Randy Edsall. One season into the Edsall tenure and the reviews are less than glowing and a lot of his team has turned against him. To add insult to injury, the attendance figures have only slightly improved (thanks largely to early season games against Miami and West Virginia) with an average attendance of 42,355 or 78.4% capacity. Way to go Maryland! Dream job for the win!

Head-to-Head Results: Maryland leads the all-time series with a 32-31-4 record. The Terps have been a huge thorn in the Pack’s side over the past decade winning 8 out of the last 11 including games in 2007 and last year that kept us from going to a bowl game and the ACC Championship game respectively. Even though Maryland has dominated the series recently, the games have been very competitive with only 2 of the last 11 matchups being decided by double digits (specifically 7, 4, 3, 2, 10, 6, 6, 37, 3, 7, and 7).

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (1st season, 2-9 at Maryland … 76-79 career) … led UConn to a Big East championship last year before taking his “dream job” at Maryland.

Players to Watch:

QB C.J. Brown (#16, So.) after splitting time with Danny O’Brien at QB earlier in the season, Brown is now the QB after O’Brien’s injury ended his season. Brown isn’t much of a passer, but he is very dangerous with his legs as he is second on the team with 497 yards rushing (and first with a staggering 7.8 ypc). His three 100-yard rushing games are the most ever by a Terp QB.

RB Davin Meggett (#8, Sr.) is a powerful, durable running back that has never missed a game in his Maryland career. He leads the Terps with 805 yards rushing on 156 carries (5.2 ypc) and has added 3 TDs. He’s eighth in Maryland school history with 2,320 career rushing yards.

DT Joe Vellano (#72, Jr.) is a team captain and the leader of the Terp defense. He is third on the team in total tackles (86) and, most impressively, leads the FBS in tackles by a defensive lineman (7.8 per game). He’s also forced a fumble and recovered 2 fumbles, including one he returned for a TD in the season opener against Miami. He’s posted double-digit tackles in 4 of their last 7 games.

Offensive Summary: Wolfpack Nation can rejoice that WR Torrey Smith (and his 14 catches, 224 yards, and 4 TDs last year) left early for the NFL Draft so we won’t have to sit through that nightmare again. Also, last year’s ACC Rookie of the Year QB Danny O’Brien will miss this game due to an injury. That means expect the Terps to run the ball a lot with Brown and Meggett. They’ve averaged 166.6 yards rushing per game and a 4.8 yards per carry average.

Defensive Summary: If TOB thinks he had injury problems on the defense he should check out what the Terp defense has been through this season. At one point in the season they had 8 starters on the sidelines, including one of their best players in LB Kenny Tate. They’ve had trouble stopping anybody as they’ve only held one opponent to under 161 yards rushing and only three opponents to under 400 total yards of offense. They are at the bottom in most national defensive categories including rush defense (105th out of 120; 227.6 yards per game), total defense (109th; 458.8 ypg), and scoring defense (97th; 32.27 points per game). Even though the Pack has one of the worst rushing offenses in the country (109th; 105.9 ypg) expect us to pound the ball down Maryland’s throat all day.

Keys to the Game:

1. Win the turnover margin … This is the case in most games (hello Captain Obvious), but while Maryland has been awful this year, the one thing they’ve done well is force turnovers (23 total, tied for 23rd in the FBS). Add in the equation that in the 4 games prior to last week Glennon had thrown 6 total INTs and that makes this an extra important element of this game. Reminder: State is 6-0 when forcing 3 or more turnovers and 0-5 when forcing 2 or less.

2. Get off the field … The Terps have lost the time of possession battle in every game they’ve played this season by an average of 34:42 to 25:17 (119th in the nation). One of the main reasons for that is because they’ve only converted 34.8% of their 3rd downs (105th in the nation). Over the past 3 games, in 2 wins our defense has held UNC and Clemson to 28.6% and 14.3% on 3rd down, but in our 1 loss we allowed BC to convert 45.5% on 3rd down.

3. Play with a purpose … With a bowl game on the line there is absolutely no reason for us to not come out fired up and ready to play this game. If we come out flat and just go through the motions, then TOB & Co. have yet again failed this team and this fan base.

Prediction: If we come out and jump on the Terps early, they’ll fold faster than Superman on laundry day. However, if we let them hang around they’ll gain confidence and revel in the opportunity to spoil our season. If we should lose, TOB needs to be let go before the post game presser.

Bonus: Here’s how I really feel about the Terps. (NSFW)