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97th versus 118th

I was reading a post by Patrick Stevens over at the Washington Times about Maryland's turnover woes this season (we're currently 118/120 teams in turnover margin, by the way) and I wanted to see how that compared to last season. My theory and reasoning for looking at this year's stats verses last years was to see if we had this turnover problem last year, but it went unnoticed because we were still pulling out wins. The results? Check them out after the jump.

So here are our turnover stats thus far for 2009:

Games    Fumble Take Aways    Int Take Aways   Total     Fumbles Lost   Ints Thrown   Total       Turnover Margin

    7                          4                                    3                   7                  12                     8                 20                 -1.86


And here are the stats for ALL of 2008:

Games    Fumble Take Aways    Int Take Aways   Total     Fumbles Lost   Ints Thrown   Total       Turnover Margin

  13                         7                                   10                17                 12                    13                25                  -0.62


In 2008, we ranked 97/119 teams. Maryland's percentile ranking would then be 18.5%, meaning they had a better turnover margin than 18.5% of the teams in the NCAA FBS last season. In 2009, we rank 118/120, which is a percentile of just 1.6%. That means we're not as bad as two other teams! Yay!

What to take away from this? I think we shouldn't be as surprised as many of us are that our team is having such a hard time with turnovers this year but at the same time, we're still turning the ball over one additional time more per game then we were last year. Our take aways per game are pretty much on pace with what they were last year (although our INTs/game are down), but our fumbles per game are way up. We fumbled the ball to the other team a total of 12 times all of last season. This year, we already have 12 fumbles. Our INTs are also up.

I think when you look at our turnover situation, it's the difference between our wins and losses last season. If this were last season, I'd say we'd probably be 5-2 right now instead of 2-5 (by the way, we were 5-2 this time last season). If we can stop turning the ball over, even if it's just one less fumble per game, we have a decent shot of winning most of our remaining games (and we now have to almost win out to become bowl eligable, meaning we'd have to either beat Va. Tech in College Park, which would be extremely hard or FSU on the road, where we don't really have what you call "success"). The difference in being 97 verses 118th might not seem like much, but when you realize that no team in the bottom 10 of the turnover margin rankings last year finished with more than 4 wins, where as 8 of the 13 teams above the bottom 10 finished with at least 7 wins, you can see how easily cutting down on turnovers can affect your season. Lets hope the Terps right their ship this week at Duke...