As Kevin Cowherd said, ugly weather, ugly game, ugly result.
I like Chris Turner a lot, and I can respect what he's done as QB for the better part of three years, but he's been having a rough go of it lately. Yesterday was no exception.
First off, his arm was noodle-y and weak, most evidenced by the Torrey Smith underthrow. Second, he was rarely on target, even with open receivers. And this wasn't just the rain: Jameel Sewell looked better than he did for most of the game. Worst of all, he rarely even looked Torrey Smith's way. Like I said in the recap, Smith was isolated, one on one coverage, with no safety over the top several times, and he was never even glanced at. Turner's gotta get some of that blame.
There were some good things - he did lead some good drives, and looked good running - but they were overshadowed yesterday by the bad. Besides, when you don't put the ball in the end zone, it's tough to give credit for good drives.
Strangely, the running game looked really good yesterday. Davin Meggett played well for the first time all year. Gary Douglas looked shifty and displayed some of the natural running back ability that people had been praising him for since spring. Caleb Porzel looked very good in his first real reps, and should be out there a lot more, especially with Douglas' injury. He's got moves, and is quick as hell. Great change-of-pace guy.
So, good performance, right? Oh, forgot about the fumbles. Those three fumbles, one from Meggett and two from Douglas, were absolutely killer and probably were the direct reason for Porzel's increased playing time. Without them, Maryland probably wins. This grade would've been a B+ if not for the fumbles.
Kerry Boykins...sigh. The kid's got talent - no denying that - but I'd be surprised to see him on the field again any time soon. Two huge first down drops and a fumble that resulted in ten lost yards is not a recipe for playing time.
Everyone else was pretty average. Torrey Smith didn't get many looks, so it's tough to judge there. Adrian Cannon and Ronnie Tyler looked like their usual selves: solid but unspectacular. Outside of Boykins, I think the only drop came from Corey Jackson or Tommy Galt, both of whom aren't really renowned for their hands anyway. Average performance with one bad outlier.
It's a C kind of day for the offense, I guess. This was actually one of the better days for this offensive line, believe it or not. They held a decent UVA defensive line to just one sack, and Turner wasn't under immense pressure all day. He still got rid of the ball early, but sometimes that looked more like him being jumpy than actually having to get it out fast (I can certainly understand that, but I won't punish the OL for it). This was also the first time the running backs had some real holes to run through. Perhaps best of all, they didn't commit a plethora of false starts and holds, like they usually do. It wasn't a dominating day, but they looked pretty good compared to their usual selves.
This will be the only time all year I say this, so make sure you pay attention: Maryland won the battle in the trenches. This is not a drill.
The line wasn't outstanding, and Rashawn Jackson gutted them a few times, but they actually outplayed the other side. Travis Ivey, Jared Harrell, Isaiah Ross, and Deege Galt all had tackles for loss, and Galt and Harrell added sacks. Rashawn Jackson was able to get about four yards consistently, but there were times he was stuffed in the backfield and the line actually controlled him to an extent. It's a shame they couldn't take advantage in this in form of a win, but at least there's some progress.
Rainy, cold, sloppy...sounds like the perfect conditions for Alex Wujciak. He had fourteen tackles, two for loss, and a sack; definitely one of his best performances this year. Adrian Moten added two sacks of his own and defended his claim to best pass rusher. Demetrius Hartsfield played despite a broken hand and looked surprising good doing it; he wasn't an impact player, but he did get seven tackles and didn't make any bad plays. Ben Pooler is still a work-in-progress, but he had easily the best hit of the night, absolutely destroying Sewell on a blitz
It's no coincidence the LBs had this kind of game after the DL them some protection from blockers getting to the second level.
It's kind of sad that the defense put up such a good performance - I don't care if it was aided by the rain, I'm taking what I can get - and Maryland didn't win, because I don't think they'll be able to do this again all year. The defensive backs, from Cameron Chism to Anthony Wiseman, actually played pretty well. Maryland had five sacks - three of them were coverage sacks. Despite being rainy, I don't remember any CB or S getting beaten badly. Even Wiseman kept on his man consistently.
Also, there's no reason for Richard Taylor to not be the nickel back. He had two great plays in coverage and brings leadership and experience. As for other individuals, Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez still have some kinks to work out, but Jamari McCollough and Terrell Skinner had great games at safety.
Special Teams: C
A below-average performance from a usually very good unit. I'm not going to blame Nick Ferrara for missing those two FGs, but I'm not going to just forget about them, either. Conditions were terrible and the kicks were tough, but if he makes even just one, Maryland maybe wins the game. They also kicked away from Torrey Smith, so the kickoff returns were limited. Even punt returns had minimal impact. Can't really say much good outside of Ferrara's first three FGs.
Torrey Smith needs to get the ball more. A lot more. That is all.
Okay, that's not all, but that's the biggest thing. There's also the strange case of the abandonment of the running game midway through the third quarter, when it was working great. On the good side, they did call the Chris Turner draws perfectly.
- Adrian Moten, LB - Wait, isn't an offensive player supposed to go here? Yeah, but the performance was so bad I'm not even going to give anyone on offense a helmet sticker. Here you go, Adrian.
- Alex Wujciak, LB - Another double-digit tackle day for Wujciak.
- Nick Ferrara, K - Hey, he did make three field goals,
- Richard Taylor, CB - More of a feel-good helmet sticker than anything else, Taylor looked solid in his first real playing time in six long years.