You really can't script it better: Maryland-Navy, two in-state rivals, open the season in a neutral site for a packed house. 17-14, less than a minute remaining, fourth-and-goal on the one-yard line. It's straight out of a movie.
It wasn't the first time Maryland's defense had to bail the Terrapins out. Outside of the first quarter, MD's offense did little at all. Navy had been in the red zone seven times; only twice had they scored. Twice they were stopped inside the one. And the Maryland defense, which had been on the field all day thanks to Navy's time-eating triple-option offense, had to make one more stand.
As it so happened, they did. Navy's QB Ricky Dobbs faked the handoff to FB Vince Murray and ran to the left, only to be met by Maryland's safety duo, Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez. Tate made first contact, Perez followed quickly, and Dobbs was forced backwards, preserving MD's narrow three-point lead. Just like that, Maryland kicked off their season with a win.
Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett both rushed for first quarter touchdowns to give Maryland a 14-0 lead. They were answered by a second quarter TD from Andre Byrd and a third quarter TD from Dobbs. Maryland broke the knot with a FG by emergency kicker Travis Baltz, who was only because Nick Ferrara was hurt, and then came that final stop. The Terps came away with the win, 17-14.
Maryland started off the game like gangbusters: two drives, zero recorded passing attempts, 139 rushing yards, and two TDs. The Terps entered the second quarter winning 14-0, and could've been up by more had they taken advantage of a few of Navy's mistakes.
After that, it was Navy all the way. The Midshipmen's time of possession was pushing 40:00, twice as much as Maryland's 20:34. The Middies had 485 total yards; Maryland had just 271. The Terps' offense did little to nothing, and Navy rolled.
Except when they entered the red zone, also known as the Fumble Zone. Seven times they entered the red zone; a missed field goal, two fumbles, the end of a half, and a turnover on downs later, they scored only twice. Maryland's defense, supposedly the Terps' weak point, saved the game.
Maryland's rushing offense looked good enough. Navy's defensive line is small enough to make anyone temper their reactions, but 255 rushing yards is pretty good against anyone. Da'Rel Scott had his moments and Davin Meggett was one of the Terps' stars. What's really troubling is Maryland's passing attack; all confidence in Jamarr Robinson should be lost, as he went just 3-6 for 16 yards and an interception and looked constantly flustered in the pocket. Of course, that's why Danny O'Brien entered the game, but we'll hit more on that later.
For now, all you need to know is that Maryland's defense is a little better than we thought, they need to find a QB of the future, and, most importantly, they won their season opener.
Here's the schedule: grades coming tomorrow, plus some minor analysis tonight and a few more storylines throughout the week. Football is back.