One word can describe Maryland fans' spirit after this game: basketball!
This gets saved by a few things that Jamarr Robinson just can't control: the playcalling and the offensive line. Why would you let your debuting QB pass the ball upwards of 40 times (he had 32 attempts and at least 8 scrambles) against the 8th best passing defense in the country? I guess we can get to that later, though.
Robinson was very average, or below average, when passing. Of course, that might be because he had no time and was going up against a very good defense. His big strength was his scrambling ability - he went over 100 yards on the ground and was pretty much the only effective player Maryland had on offense thanks to that. You could still see that he had talent and an arm, but they got overshadowed by his jitters/poor offensive line and his running ability.
Sorry, RBs, you were a non-factor. I'm not sure if you played, actually. I just can't grade 6 rushes, especially because they were usually taken out of the ridiculous spread offense, so I can't even grade blocking.
Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon had two nice plays off screen plays, with the traditional step back juke and 15 yard run after the catch, but that was it. Smith dropped two catchable balls in the end zone and was basically a non-factor. Actually, just about all of the receivers were non-factors. Part of that has to do with the fact that Robinson completed 12 passes, but part of that also has to do with the receivers not getting open and some dropped passes.
You can't really attack the run blocking - because they didn't run - but you can definitely attack the pass blocking. Tech had a ridiculous 6 sacks, and if it wasn't for Robinson fleetness of foot it would've been at least 8. The scary thing is that Tech isn't particularly adept at getting to the QB - before this game, they were in the 70s in QB sacks. It wasn't always a blitz either - I can remember times when they got to Robinson rushing 4.
I really can't single anyone out here, because no one in particular stood out to me, but it was a pretty awful performance.
The entire defense was pretty terrible; the DL didn't particularly stand out to me. They rarely got pressure on Tyrod Taylor, and when they did it came with the linebackers' assistance. Ryan Williams ran all over them: 128 yards on a 5.5 average. The group rarely got penetration to force Williams into a different direction; the only one I remember was a few times by Travis Ivey. Other than that, very lackluster performance.
This grade is surprising. The LB corps is usually the strong point of the defense, if not the entire team, but they didn't come up very big today. Granted, they had no support from the DL, which can make it tough to be effective, but they were pretty bad regardless. Despite Tech's 47 rushes, Alex Wujciak had just 11 tackles - usually he racks up the tackles against heavily rushing teams. It feels weird to say "just 11 tackles", but it makes sense with Wujciak. And besides just looking at tackles, he wasn't nearly as effective at stopping the run as he usually is. To make matters worse, Adrian Moten was quite, too. Demetrius Hartsfield didn't make a lot of noise, but it was his first game back.
The biggest problem was on the defensive back 7 as a whole, so the DBs got taken down for it, too: poor tackling. The two plays that stand out in my mind were the two Williams 20+ runs - both of them were made possible by more than one missed tackle. That just can't happen.
This was very much like the LB's performance, except they got burned through the air, too. Even though Taylor was just 13-23, VT put up 268 yards through the air. That's just one more completion than Jamarr Robinson, yet 134 more yards and 3 more TDs. That was mostly the result of a few big TDs from Jarrett Boykins and Dyrell Roberts, and in both cases those benefited from poor coverage. Safety help over the top was lackluster, and the corners themselves were rarely effective. Anthony Wiseman was the one that stuck out in my mind, but that's nothing new: we've known for awhile that Wiseman was a #3 guy.
Couple that with tackling that was as poor as the linebackers', and you have a D- grade.
Special Teams: C+
Well, Nick Ferrara made one of his FGs, which is more than you can say about most of the rest of the team. He also did decently punting, although the loss of Travis Baltz hurts again. Other than that...yeah, not much. Dan Bonato had one nice KO return, but Torrey Smith was quiet in this regard when Maryland most needed it. Tony Logan had two punt returns for a combined -7 yards. Tech, meanwhile, averaged 14 yards on punt returns and 25 yards on KO returns.
Two reasons for this: the playcalling and the motivation.
On the first mark, I already addressed this, but who thought it would be a good idea to call passing plays at least 40 times against the 8th best passing defense in the country with basically a freshman QB? It didn't work at all, yet but the time the coaches were able to realize this, Maryland was losing by too much to start running. The Terps should've been running the ball the majority of the game, not abandon it after it stopped working once, which is what they did.
The second part, motivation, was just as much of a problem. There's no way to look at this team and say they came out motivated and ready to play. VT dominated from the kickoff. Maryland didn't even put up a fight. It's tough to get something out of players in a lost season, but, while wearing words like "Courage" and "Commitment" on their backs, I definitely expected more out of these guys. That's partially on the players, but it's more on the coach.
- Jamarr Robinson, QB - First Maryland QB in a long time to get over 100 yards on the ground, especially not in his debut.
- Terrell Skinner, S - He was average in the passing game, but was one of the few Terps who knew how to tackle yesterday - he had 13 of them.
- Dan Bonato, KR - This is a feel-good pick, and because no one else really deserved it; Bonato did have a 33 yard KO return, and, sadly, I can't remember a time when there was more hope than that return.
- Torrey Smith, WR/KR - Because there was no one else.