Terps' Defense Stands Up, Upsets Clemson 24-21

Clemson had the ball at the 30 yard line three times in the final five minutes, needing only a field goal to tie Maryland in the Terps' ACC opener. All three times, Maryland's defense stood up and kept the Tigers from scoring, thanks to two 48-yard FGs from the exact same spot that both ended up wide right. In the end, Maryland won their first game since an overtime victory over James Madison, and possibly turned their season around.

After a rough first quarter, Maryland played like they've been yet to play this year. Chris Turner was efficient, if unspectacular. The offensive line was solid and kept Clemson's talented DL from controlling the game. The defense continued their improvement, shutting down a solid Clemson offense.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing is that the Terps didn't really change the way they played. This game wasn't all that dissimilar to the Rutgers game. Only one thing changed: mistakes. Maryland didn't turn the ball over as much as in the past; nor did they kill themselves in penalties. Those two developments led to a win that might've just saved Ralph Friedgen's job.

The stars of the game for Maryland were Torrey Smith, who had a huge TD catch, Demetrius Hartsfield, who's sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery on Kyle Parker literally saved the game, Nick Ferrara, who was solid in kicking and spectacular in kicking, and, yes, Ralph Friedgen, who twice called a TO to freeze Clemson's Richard Jackson on 48-yard FGs.

Want to hear a shocker? Maryland, who has lost to MTSU and Rutgers, is currently leading the ACC Atlantic at 1-0. Not too many people expected that, me included.

Timeline: some minor analysis tonight, grades tomorrow morning. Or flip that, if I feel like it.

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