In life, we're often faced with a fork in the road - do we go left or right? Do we take the harder, uphill path or do we stroll down the easy, flat path to our destination? On Saturday, the fork in the road for the Maryland Terrapins football is a decision between becoming a good team that could contend for the ACC title, or another mediocre 6-6 team that only rises to the occasion in big situations. We should know the answer to that question by about 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. If Maryland comes out strong and soundly beats Eastern Michigan, a team they're 3-0 against and have outscored 132-19 in those previous meetings, they will have built some solid momentum heading into ACC play and if the team continues to improve, we could be in for a great season.
If the team decides to take the easy road, playing down to Eastern Michigan's ability level and only beating them by 7 or 10 points, we can expect another mediocre team that has the ability to defeat top 10 talent, yet plays mediocre against weaker competition.
The game against Eastern Michigan isn't a pushover. This is a big game for the Eagles - a statement game that can define their season. They have nothing to lose. They're also tied for 18th in the Nation in rushing offense and 17th in time of possession, so if Maryland doesn't put them away, the Eagles have a chance to run the ball and control the clock. Maryland should beat them easily,as the Eagles are 0-2 and have been outscored 83-27 this season. But we thought there is no was we could lose to Middle-Tennessee State and look what happened. Fortunately, it appears the players aren't looking past this game, which is a good sign; "We're not going to fall in that trap again," said defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre, in a recent Baltimore Sun article.
A quote from Fridge from that same Baltimore Sun Article: "I'm continuing to preach to them that they've got to get better regardless of who we're playing. Hopefully they'll take stock in that and try to get better. You've got to show up to play. I don't know how much more I can say about it."
Hopefully the loss to Middle-Tennessee State served as a wake up call that no game is a guarantee. Fortunately the loss came early so the Terps have most of a season left to learn from it. But the question remains - will they show they've learned or are they just saying they've learned. Hopefully we'll know by halftime on Saturday...