Funnily enough, this was the first week of the season that there wasn't really a lot of discussion surrounding Maryland's QB controversy between Jamarr Robinson and Danny O'Brien. Jamarr Robinson looked serviceable in the second half against WVU, and Danny O'Brien was hurt regardless; it was a safe bet that Robinson would start.
But, of course, he didn't. As it turned out, his strained shoulder injury was worse than expected, and Robinson sat. O'Brien, the general fan favorite, ended up getting the start, and threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns as Maryland beat Florida International, 42-28. The Terps rose to 3-1 on the season, setting themselves up nicely for a run at a bowl game in ACC play.
FIU was competitive late, and it's important to note that they're probably better than you'd probably think. As far as a team performance goes, it's tough to judge; a very small fan turnout made sure there was relatively little emotion in the game, and Maryland scored mostly on big plays from their best players. FIU ended up with more yards than Maryland and over 440 total. Then again, they also had almost twice the number of plays Maryland had. The score will hide a lot of problems, especially on defense and in the running game. At the same time, it's tough to complain when Maryland scores 42 points and wins by two scores against a team that took Rutgers and Texas A&M to the final possession.
O'Brien starting was a surprise, bordering on a shock, especially given his supposedly semi-serious ankle injury. But he looked good, somewhat mobile, confident and all-in-all turned in the best single-game QB performance the Terps have seen this year. In addition to the stats mentioned above, he went a very respectable 18-27 and, most importantly, didn't throw an interception.
Is it an unseat-the-starter level performance? I didn't think it was that good, personally; he made his fair share of mistakes and never took complete command. Then again, it was certainly better than any game Robinson's had this year, and FIU's no walk-over; they were 20th in the country in pass defense. It'll be a very difficult decision.
But there's a lot to talk about here, in addition to O'Brien's starting debut. Torrey Smith is officially back, with an unbelievable 8 catches for 159 yards, including a 68-yard TD in which he limped into the endzone. So, too, is Da'Rel Scott, who unleashed a 56-yard TD run, got into the endzone twice, and finished with 103 yards. Davin Meggett struggled all game, until he pulled out a 76-yard TD rush in the fourth-quarter.
The passing game was as good as the stats indicate. The rushing game wasn't. Two rushes accounted for 132 of their 169 running yards, and there was often no room to run. Likewise, even though FIU only had one sack, O'Brien was often under pressure.
Defensively, the Terps didn't turn out a great performance. Cameron Chism had his poor moments, including a blown coverage and a pass interference. FIU's QB, Welsey Carroll, had his best game of the season and threw for 347 yards. And FIU, who had scored just ten points not off of turnovers in the past two games, put up 28 points today. There should be some serious concerns, considering how poor FIU looked before the game and how good they looked today.
It is fair to point out, though, that they were on the field a lot. Maryland's offense put up a lot of their points on big plays, leading to very few long, sustained drives. FIU, on the other hand, dinked-and-dunked their way down the field for the most part. The bright spots, if there were any, were Adrian Moten, who was all over the field, and Trenton Hughes, who will be pushing Chism for the #1 spot after a solid game in coverage.
Grades coming tomorrow, plus probably a little coming tonight.