Bet you forgot about it, didn't you? I know: the weekend was awesome, you never wanted it to end, we're almost to basketball season, so on and so forth. But no: Maryland takes on North Carolina State, currently the only team lower on the ACC food chain than the Terps, this weekend.
So, how is NCSt, a team with one of the best QBs in the conference and one of the best DEs in the conference, worse than Maryland? It's a pretty predictable answer: defense.
But before getting to that, though, let's get the scary stuff out of the way: this team really reminds me of Wake Forest, particularly when they took on the Terps earlier this year. Russell Wilson plays the part of Riley Skinner - even though he's regressed since last season, Wilson is still accurate, athletic, and doesn't make mistakes. Wake was 21st in passing offense when they took on Maryland - so is NCSt. Wake was around 20 in scoring - NCSt is exactly 20. The rushing offense for both wasn't great, but was good enough to just keep the other team honest.
Offensively, these teams are very similar, which isn't a good sign for Maryland, because Wake dropped 42 on the Terps a few weeks ago. Remember, though, the Deamon Deacons got their running game going, which is something NCSt might not be able to do. This defense has also improved since then, so we'll have to see how they respond.
Something to keep in mind, though: these guys put up 42 on FSU. FSU's D isn't great, but they were 83rd before the onslaught - Marlyand is 104th. Those 20 spots make for fear in my heart.
Ok, so if these guys are so good at putting up points, why aren't they winning? Why are they 3-5 without an ACC win?
Well, first off, these guys could pretty easily have two ACC wins - they only lost to Wake by 6, and lost to FSU by 3. Secondly, their defense isn't exactly awesome: they're 89th in scoring defense despite having All-ACC defensive end Willie Young, who will have a good matchup with Bruce Campbell.
But, flipping that script, this defense is absolutely pathetic. In the past five games (that's skipping the snoozefest against South Carolina and two gimmes against Gardner-Webb and Murray State) they've allowed a whopping 41 points a game. In those games, they're allowing a ridiculous 437 yards per game, and that only gets worse the fewer games you include (I did them a favor by including Pitt's 31 points and 300 yards).
The past two weeks, the majority of the damage has come on the ground. The two weeks before it, the majority of the damage came through the air. The point is, this defense is awful, and will succumb to whichever route is taken.
So, please heed this plea, random Maryland coach who happened to stumble upon this article on Google News (I'm praying for that one): give the ball to Torrey Smith and Caleb Porzel. This defense is ripe to get ripped up on a few big plays.
Moral of the story: they score a lot of points, and they give up a lot points. If Maryland wins, they'll have to do it in a shootout by putting up a lot of points, something they've yet been able to do. We'll find out if they can on Saturday.