It was ugly. It was rainy. It was in front of a small crowd. And, most importantly, it was a loss.
Ralph Friedgen, fans, and media members all called this game against Rutgers must-win. It was the last game Maryland had before starting ACC play. It was the last chance to build a base, gain some confidence, keep the fans happy, and get to .500 before taking on conference foes, almost all of whom will be better than Maryland's last three opponents.
Turnovers, as they often do, undid all those plans, and the Terps lost their must-win, 34-13. Maryland turned the ball over a shocking five times, four of which came from Chris Turner and one of which was Da'Rel Scott's doing. Two of Rutgers' TDs came from Turner - the first was a pick six on the very first play from scrimmage, the second was a fumble in the endzone that Rutgers fell on.
On the positive side, Maryland's defense actually played very well and looked comfortable for the first time all year. How much that has to do with Domenic Natale starting instead of normal, better QB Tom Savage, is unknown - regardless, it was a great performance that actually instilled some confidence. Actually, Rutgers only caught one more pass from Natale than they did Turner. There was pressure, penetration, and they stuffed Rutgers ground attack for most of the game. The D only allowed 6 points until Rutgers scored 2 TDs in garbage time, working on a field position deficit and tired out by being on the field all day to boot.
It didn't really matter, though - turnovers were the issue, with three interceptions and two fumbles. The offense didn't look good when they didn't turn it over, either; Torrey Smith was the only reliable source of offense for Maryland, accounting for more than a third of Maryland's yardage. Turner missed a few big passes, especially later in the game, and penalties were commonplace.
This wasn't a game of one or two plays. To be honest, Maryland deserved to lose. They played ugly the entire game and were completely undisciplined. Something needs to change, and change fast.
If you actually want to read more about the game, I'm sure there's a more complete report on ESPN or CBS. As for us, there'll be some sad analysis tonight with grades and helmet stickers tomorrow morning. Any thoughts on the game?