Maryland Staves Off James Madison in Overtime, Win 38-35

Maryland needed a win. Most thought they needed a blowout win.

Objective one: mission accomplished. Objective two: uh, not really.

After a slow start, James Madison came out and, outside of a few select drives, handed Maryland their lunch for two quarters straight, and threw up three touchdowns and a two point conversion on a helpless Maryland squad. The Terps were just good enough at the end of the game to make up for the 22 unanswered points, get it to overtime, and let Nick Ferrara sneak an extra point length field goal inside the left upright to win it. 

Maryland's offensive line was pushed around. Maryland's defense was manhandled. Chris Turner threw a killer pick six. And Maryland allowed 22 points in the second and third quarters. But they came out with the win, and that's the most important thing.

James Madison beat themselves as much as the Terps beat them. Two missed field goals (one blocked, one wide right in OT), a KR TD given up to Torrey Smith, and a plethora of painful penalties kept Maryland in the game at key moments. Maryland was able to convert on their opportunities and came away with a win.

Maryland took a 21-6 lead on the strength of a Da'Rel Scott TD run, Smith's kick return for a touchdown, and a nasty Chris Turner pump fake-turned 3 yard TD run. Then Drew Dudzik, who - foolishly, in retrospect - shared time with Justin Thorpe at QB, led the Dukes to two TDs to tie the game, and Turner threw his pick six shortly after, giving JMU a 7 point lead. Torrey Smith helped lead the Terps down the field for a TD to tie the game, but Dudzik responded with a 70 yard run to regain the lead. Maryland came back with a 27 yard TD pass to Adrian Cannon to tie the game and send it to overtime. After JMU mustered only a yard on their OT possession and missed the ensuing FG, UMD moved the ball to the ten to let Ferrara hit the gamewinner.

The big positive for Maryland, other than getting the win, was Torrey Smith. He proved that he can be a consistent threat with two TDs, some nice receptions, and a big drawn pass interference call. Here's a new rule for Maryland's offense: when Torrey Smith touches the ball, good things happen. He needs to be a focal point of the offense. The whole perserverence aspect, Chris Turner at certain moments, Adrian Cannon, and Da'Rel Scott were the (very) few other good things on the day.

There's not much else positive. Both lines were dominated. The defense in particular looked bad. Off the top of my head, Alex Wujciak and Demetrius Hartsfield stood out as guys who missed tackles and plays they should've made. The secondary, particularly Anthony Wiseman, got burned a few times, too.

The offensive line looked pretty bad, particularly on big plays, though they did provide a decent amount of protection on the final few drives.

More analysis will be on its way tomorrow, maybe later tonight if I feel up to it.

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