Recap is here. Large-scope morning after thought: it was ugly, but they got the win and that's always the most important thing. If you had high hopes for this team after the Temple loss, a 25-point win over Towson shouldn't kill them; you're also too optimistic, but to each his own. And if you didn't, this win won't change your mind, either. If the Temple game really was a fluke, we'll know in a week. This just wasn't good evidence to the contrary, but it's not worth worrying over.
Now, let's get to it: good performances, medium performances, bad performances, four noteworthy players, and then a poll. Read on:
Maryland's backfield ... again. Davin Meggett, D.J. Adams, and Justus Pickett make up what is pretty clearly Maryland's strongest unit. Meggett had another great day today, even with the red zone fumble, rushing for upwards of 100 yards on over 6 ypc. He needs to continue to be physical and get vertical on his runs, but he's one of the toughest players on the team and finishes his runs, which you love to see in a back.
Meanwhile, Adams had a trademark impressive 15-yard TD run, and then was more or less benched afterwards. He's still a prototypical short-yardage back, but he needs to be on the field even more in regular offensive sets. And freshman Justus PIckett, the second-string back (still), had the best game of his season and career, running for 82 yards and a touchdown. We'll see how they stand up against tougher defenses like Georgia Tech and Clemson, but for now there's still plenty of potential in this group. It's not hard to see why they're starting to form the backbone of the offense.
Kevin Dorsey ... again. Dorsey didn't do anything we haven't seen before; he just led the team in receiving and picked up a touchdown on much of his own effort. He continues to be Maryland's best wide receiver by a wide margin.
C.J. Brown in the coaches' eyes, apparently. They say his third quarter appearance was "planned" as a result to get him some PT. Which sounds oddly familiar to something we've heard before. I just refuse to believe, with the game at 14-3 and closer than the score, that Maryland's coaching staff thought it was a great idea to get the backup QB - and no one else - some experience.
CJ isn't going to steal Danny's spot, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him a little bit more as the season goes on as a Wildcat-esque QB. He's a dual-threat in the way Danny isn't, and seems to be tailor-made for Gary Crowton's offense. A drive here and there to give a different look appears to be something the staff has under consideration.
Joe Vellano. Maryland's best player? I'd say so. Big Joe had a sack and a half, threw in another tackle for loss, and was very active all around. He's good week in and week out, without much ado.
David Mackall. Bites on damn near every play fake there is, but still, he had two sacks. Mackall is the designated pass rusher of the offensive line, and that's what he's supposed to do, so it's tough to call a two-sack day anything other than a success.
Nick Ferrara. His field goal was blocked, but his punting was sublime. Four punts, four inside the 20. Punter U is back, baby.
Gary Crwtn and To Brafor. The nicknames, not the people.
Kenny Tate. Had the important interception and upon further review it was more impressive than it first seemed, but it was still thrown more or less right to him. He was active with nine tackles, but also missed two or three behind the scrimmage, which is normally a rare occurrence.
Titus Till. The new starter at Matt Robinson's spot for the rest of the year, he had 11 tackles - 6 of them solo - in his starting debut, but in truth I can't remember him standing out in a single play. That was more than likely due to the fact that A) I forgot to watch for him, and B) the numbers are completely unreadable on TV. Anyway, not good, not bad; we'll wait to form more of an opinion.
The offensive line. No sacks this week, which is an improvement upon last weekend. And the running game obviously had the holes there to run through, most of the time. Then again, that's supposed to happen against Towson. Several runs were blown up in the backfield, which isn't a good sign. I still can't tell if this is the unit that gave up no sacks in the first two games or the one that gave up three to Temple.
Danny O'Brien. I'm not saying that Danny O had a good or even acceptable performance, but the final drive gave me a lot of hope. I'm not going to say he's trending upward, because he isn't yet, but things went much better in the final few minutes. Until then, it was more of what we've seen before - his long passes were off, his decision-making was a little iffy, and even his short passes tended to be short. He isn't where he needs to be yet.
But in the fourth quarter, he was 5-5 for 40 yards, threw two TDs, and moved the ball with aplomb. The first three quarters were pretty terrible - again - but maybe, just maybe, it clicked in those final minutes.
D.J. Adams case to be on the field, I guess. Seriously, what's with that? A 15-yard touchdown run, two more carries in the first quarter, and then done? I just don't understand this coaching staff sometimes. And with Edsall saying Pickett's in line for more PT, I guess Adams will see his share of carries reduced even more. Sad.
The passing game. A combination of a mediocre day from Danny O and a still-struggling Gary Crowton scheme means a bad day through the air. The offense is based heavily on the running game right now, and when it deviates from that it goes almost solely to the short pass, which is just an extension of the running game. O'Brien and Brown combined for 137 yards through the air is the fewest for Maryland since last year's 11 against Navy, when they didn't even pretend to care about throwing the ball.
ACC defenses will prey upon this passing game unless it gets straightened out quick.
Ronnie Tyler. Had a good downfield block as well as a nice 15-yard run-and-catch. But he dropped a terrible downfield pass that was probably the best one Danny had thrown all day. Quintessential Ronnie, really.
Towson's wide receivers' hands. Maybe they should be in the "Stock Up" category since, technically, this is for Maryland. But I'll go with the literal interpretation. Towson's receivers dropped at least five passes, three of them that would've resulted in 30+ yard gains and one of them that would've been a sure touchdown. They gave Maryland's defense more than a few assists.
Kenny Tate as a linebacker. I will not give up the dream. Move him back to safety yesterday.
Maryland's pass defense. A few observations: Towson is a run-first team who was middle of the road in the FCS in passing offense. They were starting their backup quarterback. They threw for 217 yards on Maryland and it would've been a lot more if the receivers could actually, y'know, catch. Still have holes in the back.
Special teams. Blocked field goal, no blocking for Tony Logan on punt returns. This unit has slowly and steadily gone to hell since Ray Rychelski left three years ago.
Gary Crwtn and To Brafor. The coordinators, not the nicknames. I'm willing to give a little on both of them, for different reasons; Gary, because the entire offense seems out of sync right now, and To, because he lacks any measure of defensive depth. But let's be real: the team was outgained by Towson. Serious problems exist on both sides. The offense isn't working, whether or not because its because of the scheme or execution, and the defense I don't think has a scheme, and Antwine Perez seems to agree with that. When a former player describes the current defensive scheme as "ass", I think it's safe to assume that we have some problems.
Number gradients. I was against them from the start, but one thing I didn't consider: you can't read them. Really, you can't read the numbers, on TV or, judging by Twitter, in person. Seriously annoying.
Justus PIckett, RB. Tough to turn down Meggett here, but we already know about him. PIckett is more of an unknown quantity, but the true freshman had a big day with 82 yards and a touchdown. Don't know how much he should be playing come ACC time, but he looked the part today.
Joe Vellano, DT. Tough not to like a guy like Vellano. A legacy who didn't expect anything to come to him, who's playing at an All-ACC level and nearly matching his dad's accomplishments and has a great motor. Picture-perfect.
Nick Ferrara, P. Blocked FG was a problem and too low, but 4 punts downed inside the 20 was huge, and a big reason Towson outgained Maryland - their fields were consistently much longer.
Tyler Cierski, FB. Aw, come on, if your heart didn't swell at seeing the fullback scoring on the first touch of his career (in his fourth game), I'm not sure you have one. 100% scoring ratio FTW.