Another weekend, another loss. What's new?
Chris Turner, outside of the terrible first throw, was actually pretty good. 12-19, 135 yards in a little over a quarter and a half isn't a bad performance at all, especially when you throw in the 1 yard TD run. Of course, he went out with injury and was replaced by Jamarr Robinson, who performed probably as he was expected to: at the beginning, nervously and not so great.
That said, the entire time you could see he had a cannon for an arm, was literally inches away from a TD on two of first four passes. Once he got more into the flow of things, he looked pretty good, and surprisingly poised. He displayed his running ability and had two extremely important 3rd down runs on that final drive - that's crucial for this offense, because the line is - did you hear? - terrible.
Well, Robinson was the leading rusher and leading carrier. Caleb Porzel got an inexplicable four carries - the less time he gets on the field, the more that redshirt looks like a waste. It's even stranger that he got so isolated when he was averaging 7 yards a carry with a 22 yarder. Davin Meggett was good around the goal-line, but mediocre off it. Gary Douglas didn't see the field, which was surprising. In the end, only so much you can do with 13 carries.
Torrey Smith is back. Solid day for him, outside of one drop. The offense should be looking his way eight to nine times each game. Adrian Cannon also had a solid performance, and he's basically guaranteed to get at least 6 yards after the catch. He's definitely proven himself to be a more than capable second option. Ronnie Tyler's still pretty quiet, but he had one really nice catch with a couple of spin moves to get around 20 yards on one play. He's one of Maryland's better short route receivers.
The group couldn't have done much more, but with the lack of passing the entire day and Robinson's jittery arm, they didn't get a lot of opportunities.
Thank god for Jamarr Robinson's athleticism. He was pressured and forced out of the pocket almost every single play, especially on the final drive - N.C. State didn't even blitz once on that drive, and yet he never had time to sit back and make a throw. The problems were pretty varied, too - Paul Pinegar one time, R.J. Dill another time, Andrew Gonnella another time. It wasn't an individual, but the group as a whole. Even though the Wolfpack only had one sack, they got into the backfield a lot and would have a lot of pressures, if they counted those.
One of the few saving graces was that Willie Young, whom I had nightmares over, was pretty easily contained by Bruce Campbell, who proves his worth more every day. I just have to keep telling myself that this will all be better in another year or two.
A bit of regression from this group yesterday. State's line dominated in the passing game - Russell Wilson was sacked only once, and this group rarely applied pressure. It's times like this you need to have a DL that can get to the QB by itself, because everyone was dropping back in coverage to contain the passing attack (that still torched them). The secondary and LBs can't sacrifice bodies on the blitz, so it's up to the DL and occasionally the LBs. Today, and the rest of the year, that wasn't enough. Deege Galt, A.J. Francis, Masengo Kabongo, Zach Kerr, Jared Harrell...I can't remember any of them getting their name called even once.
The only bright spot on the day is that their running game was very hit or miss, but the DL seemed to have more to do with the hit than the miss.
I'm torn on this performance. Ben Pooler, Adrian Moten, and Alex Wujciak were all taken out of their traditionally attacking roles and put back in coverage. They tended to be more liabilities than assets there, especially Wujciak. He did have the huge INT return, but he also got burned on more than one occasion. Because they were playing out of their element, it's tough to give them a definitive grade one way or the other.
In the end, though, Wujciak had the TD, Ben Pooler had a sack, and NCSt. didn't torch Maryland on the ground. That's good enough for a C+, even though the Wuffies did hit a lot of middle and intermediate routes that the LBs could defend.
Wilson had a field day, ten receivers had receptions, and NCST passed for nearly 350 yards. Not a banner day for this group. Most of the completions, however, did seem to be on Anthony Wiseman's side of the field - that was just a continuation of a very long year for Wiseman. We've known for awhile that Cameron Chism should be the #1 starter, but should Richard Taylor replace Wiseman? Taylor did have an interception and looked okay out there when he had opportunities, at least better than Wiseman.
The safeties, individually, didn't look terrible. Kenny Tate had an interception and a TFL. Terrell Skinner had 7 tackles and a PBU. None got burned too badly. But this was more about the group as a whole, and something wasn't clicking. There were mile-wide holes in the zones, and NCST's receivers either made a difficult catch while covered or just got a half step on the corner or safety in man. When watching each individual play, none stood out as terrible. Sadly, nor did any stand out as great, or even good (outside of the two INTs), which was the problem.
Nick Ferrara was money all year, but he missed two very big field goals, both in the score and in momentum. If he nails both of those, Maryland has more momentum and, believe it or not, probably wins this game. They did get down to the NCST 35 on that final drive, and being able to call an intermediate route to pick up 10 to 15 yards instead of 25 to 35 would've made everything a lot easier. It's very possible that they would've converted on one of those throws, and at least give Ferrara another shot.
But, hey, he's a freshman, and these things will happen. At least he didn't miss a bunch of extra points, ala Clemson.
Of course, Torrey Smith's TD made up for Ferrara's rough day. He's not incredibly shifty, but he does what he's supposed to do, and he does it well. Sometimes the blockers come through and he gets a seam. More often than not, he'll house it.
Also, Tony Logan came up with a fumble recovery on NCST's muffed punt, one of the Pack's four TOs that kept Maryland around.
First off, Wilson got flustered when Maryland put pressure on. Strangely, though, the Terps rarely attacked. It seemed like Brown was afraid to get beaten too badly through the air, but they were doing that anyway. I mean, Wujciak's not that good in coverage - he might as well blitz sometimes. Didn't make a lot of sense.
Offensively, I won't complain too much. I did have a problem with not letting Robinson throw the ball till he had been in for nearly an entire quarter, especially on a 3rd and eight. That playcall simply makes no sense to me, and, who knows, maybe Maryland converts if they throw it and get a TD out of that drive, instead of a blocked FG.
Were there other questionable decisions? Sure: the oversaturation of the screen pass, the reverse pass, keeping Wiseman in the game. But I didn't feel too critical of them at the time, so I won't be too critical of them here.
- Jamarr Robinson, QB - So he was average at best. It was his first game ever, his first pass attempt ever, and his first pass completion ever. He's well-suited for this offense because he can make things happen with his feet when the bullfighter offensive line breaks down, and it's clear he's got talent, both in his arm and his legs.
- Alex Wujciak, LB - Didn't I just say Wujciak can't cover? Well, that's true, but a 70 yard interception return for a TD and 14 tackles make up for poor coverage and terrible hair.
- Torrey Smith, KR/WR - 82 yard KO TD return? Yaaaaaawwwwwn.
- Richard Taylor, CB - The feel-good story of the day. How 'bout we let the 17th year senior start next week? He looked better than Anthony Wiseman.