Again, this was not the type of victory that elicits an attitude that the winning will continue, but again following last years 2-10 campaign, any win is important. Especially ones where you are favored. If there was any legitimate chance the Terps were going to get into a bowl game, the game vs Duke had to be a win. For most of the night, it didn’t really look like it was going to be, but in the end Danny O’Brien was able to get into everyone’s favorite formation, and watch the clock tick down.
Sure we should all be happy to be 4-1, but outside of Wake Forest, the Terps are not likely to be favored again this season. If you watch these games you wonder how on earth they could be 4-1. We can save that debate for a latter time. We will take this bye week and hope some of the nicked up players get healthy and back into the lineup.
I for one didn’t see this type of game coming for anything. I really expected it to be high scoring. For a team that allowed 44 points a game, Maryland made them look like an elite defense for much of the game. The Terps could not do anything against them offensively in the first half, and Duke moved the ball into the redzone at will. However, as Don Brown’s defense has done all season, they stiffen in the redzone, and were able to hold Duke to field goal attempts on their first three possessions. Then on the fourth, Antwine Perez picked off Sean Renfree’s pass in the endzone. This lead to the Terps first score as Danny O’Brien marched Maryland down the field and Davin Meggett took in to cut the score to 9-7 before the end of the half.
The second half the Terps turned up the pressure a little more sending safety Kenny Tate on a blitz nearly every down it seemed, and on Duke’s first possession of the half, they finally forced them to punt. At last a chance to get one of the top play makers on the field, and Tony Logan did not disappoint. At least not until he was in the end zone anyway. He made a the first guy miss, broke one tackle, and was pretty much gone, with a couple of blockers ahead of him. Then he rifled the ball at the Gossett Field House. Not sure if he doesn’t like his locker or what, but seemed a little unnecessary to me. Anyway his electric return energized the crowd and the Terps. Then early in the third the Terps broke another big play as Danny O’Brien hit Da’Rel Scott on a 71 yard screen pass that he took to the house for a 21-9 lead.
It seemed as if the Maryland defense was in control forcing Duke to a 4th and 19 on the next drive, but Renfree found Donovan Varner down to the one. A couple of plays later it was in for TD and the lead was cut 21-15 with a little over 7 minutes to play. With a chance to run down the clock, the Terps did get a first down before being forced to punt the ball away. Duke took over with 4:00 minutes to go, and drove the ball down to the 33, but were unable to do anything after the delay of game penalty.
Again this wasn’t a great win, but in a stat that is becoming more and more important each week, the Terps were plus two on take aways, as Perez and Adrian Moten both had interceptions, and while Danny O’Brien only completed 9 of his 26 passes for 170 yards and a TD, he did not throw an interception. He was not sharp, but he did manage the team pretty well, and looked poised in the pocket. He played pretty well considering his top play maker was not quite himself as it seemed Torrey Smith was still not quite 100%.
Moving into the bye week, the Terps are probably where we all thought they would be in a best case scenario. They have time to get some players healthy, and some hopefully can improve some of the glaring weaknesses. While the big plays are great, and apparently what this team needs to win, they don’t allow the defense a chance to rest. And while the defense has been dependable when they need to be, it would be nice to see them get off the field a little quicker. One advantage of the bye week for us here at Turtledroppings, is it will give us a little time to start thinking about Basketball, and check in on all the other fall sports as several teams are in the top ten nationally. Until then go Terps!