Was this a worse played game than UVA? Very possibly.
Can't say too much bad about Chris Turner today, mostly because he wasn't given the opportunity to actually throw the ball. Franklin seemed to abandon the pass pretty quickly as the conditions worsened, and Turner was rendered obsolete. He was great at the beginning of the game - completed eight of his first nine - but wasn't the same after we stopped passing it in the mid second quarter. He still had his usual problems with passes getting tipped at the line and a terrible interception, but all in all, not a bad day for Turner.
Definitely not a breakout game for Porzel in his first start, and I doubt he'll be making another one with Ralph's tendencies, but it wasn't terrible. When he found a hole, you could see his explosiveness. He's easily the quickest and shiftiest player on the team; at this point, it's all about getting him reps. He did seem to wear down quickly, but it was a good start.
Davin Meggett looked good again, slowly reclaiming last year's performance. He averaged more than four yards per carry and had the 67 yard touchdown reception off the screen. He did have a key drop, but the ball was wet and throw was a bit high. If the grade here looks low, it's because Maryland still only averaged 2 yards per carry; a lot of that's blocking, but that's also partially on the backs.
Cannon looked awesome, but how do we again ignore the (former, now) NCAA leader in all-purpose yardage. For the first five weeks he was the only consistent weapon on offense, and now he's not even getting the ball.
I guess that's better left to coaching, though. Cannon was great, and the rest of the group was pretty average for the day.
On the plus side, Duke only got one sack on Chris Turner. On the negative, they got constant penetration into the backfield, probably should've had two more sacks, and had six tackles for loss. The play that stands out to me is the Caleb Porzel draw in the third (?) quarter, when he is tackled literally as soon as he touches the ball. They didn't have to blitz much, but they still controlled the line. The rushing game had some respites with the quicker Porzel, but it was still evident this group is very much a work-in-progress.
With a passing attack as measured as Duke's is, you have to leave a lot of guys back in coverage - otherwise, Thaddeus Lewis will eat the defense up. At times, Maryland did that, but the defensive line was so dominated by Duke's offensive line that it didn't really matter: Lewis had all day to throw the ball anyway, and coverage can only hold so long. In response, Maryland would blitz more, and it'd be even easier for Lewis. I can only remember one time that the defensive line - by itself - ever got into the backfield. After controlling the game against UVA, it's clear that it's possible, but it didn't happen today.
First off, hat tip to Ben Pooler. The guy's a legit LB and looked pretty good in his second start: he's a great fourth linebacker, and I'm trying to figure out why we burnt Darin Drakeford's and Avery Murray's redshirts. Seriously, leading tackle, with one sack and two tackles for loss...that's a great performance.
Alex Wujciak was his normal self - solid against the run, ugly against the pass, and slow, which adds up to not very good against a team that passed it 43 times. He's a great asset, but only in certain situations. Adrian Moten was surprisingly quiet this week; he seems to alternate between good and bad each week, but he was solid in coverage.
That said, all three of them got abused in pass coverage - either zone or man - at least once, usually more.
Ouch. Outside of one good play from Anthony Wiseman and a few gigantic hits and picks by Cameron Chism - by the way, I'm no longer referring to the hit stick...it's now the Chism stick - it was a pretty rough day. Richard Taylor getting toasted in man coverage sticks out in my memory for some reason, but most of the guys, including the safeties, had a rough go of it. If not for Chism - who, in case there was any doubt, proved wholly that he should be the #1 corner with that performance - this grade is in the Ds or Fs. Yes, the defensive line had trouble getting to the QB, but Lewis often didn't even need the time they were giving him.
Special Teams: C
Nick Ferrara continued his MVP performance (really) with two field goals and his first touchback as a kickoff man, and Travis Baltz looked solid in his first game back after injury. Sadly, Torrey Smith looked only average as a kickoff return man, and Tony Logan muffed Maryland's last chance. Can't do that.
See this. And, in a while, another post about the coaching. It simply didn't make sense: QB draws on 3rd and 18 (I don't care that it nearly worked, the playcall was horrendous), completely ignoring Torrey Smith for the second straight week, abandoning the Wild Turtle after just one play for the second straight week, burning Eric Franklin's redshirt, putting in Caleb Porzel on 4th down, accepting the holding call...want me to go on?
- Adrian Cannon, WR - He had his real breakout game this week, and showed he can be just as elite as Torrey Smtih. The only difference is that he actually gets the ball.
- Ben Pooler, LB - Props go out to Pooler, who also saw his coming out party yesterday: 13 tackles, the most on either team, 2.5 tackles for loss, tied for the most on either team, and a forced fumble.
- Nick Ferrara, K - Nick the Kick had another solid day, 2-2 with a couple of good kickoffs.
- Davin Meggett, RB - Really, nobody else deserved one. Meggett himself was a stretch, but at least he saw the endzone.