Friedgen: Focus on Doing Whatever to Beat FIU

The Terps, coming off a loss to nonconference rival WVU., hope to rebound against FIU.

In what the Terps’ players described as their first big game of the season, the team folded. A first half dominated by West Virginia was too much for Maryland to overcome when the team woke from the dead after halftime.

But the team has a new challenge at hand – taking down Florida International – and they’re not going to walk away from their most recent loss without something to prove.

“Hopefully we can take our experiences from [the West Virginia] game and help us in the future,” head coach Ralph Friedgen said in his Tuesday press conference. “I think we can reestablish ourselves and reestablish our confidence. Our goal is to win the next game.”

And the Golden Panthers will be met by a hungry Terrapins team coming home to make their presence felt. More than anything, the team is focused, as illustrated by running back Da’Rell Scott.

“The last game’s in the past,” Scott said. “We’re not really trying to focus on the last game; we’re just trying to focus on the game coming up. We’re trying to forget about the past, just focus on the present.”

Before the team forgets last Saturday completely, there is a second half offensive explosion the team can hope to build off of. Quarterback Jamarr Robinson threw a career-high 227 yards, all while putting together a career-best passer rating of 161.12; not to mention they’re 17 points all came after halftime.

“I think [the second half versus West Virginia] gave our offense confidence as a whole that we could strike, that we could make the big play. We knew what he could do all along – we just have to do it consistently,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said, coming off a stellar performance where he caught two touchdowns, one of which was an 80-yarder – the longest reception of his career.

Offensive coordinator James Franklin was impressed with Robinson and the offense at that point, but was quick to point out the first half production was nonexistent. The solution going forward, he said: consistency.

“In general, [Robinson] had a good second half. He started out good against Navy, started out as a really good half against Morgan State – at the quarterback position and offensively in general, we need to put four quarters together,” offensive coordinator James Franklin said.

On the defensive side of the ball, the second half was also another story. Don Brown, the Terps’ defensive coordinator, said the difference was the poor start to the game. If you take away the first quarter and Noel Devine’s big run – well, we might be discussing a different outcome.

“We dug ourselves a huge hole,” Brown said. The positive in that we put the brakes on, we settled down going into the half. From there, you play pretty well. You give up 48 plays, 354 yards in the first half, and you go 37 yards for 124 yards in the second [half]. He’s 14-18 then he’s 5-12 – that’s a big difference.”

After being shell-shocked Saturday, Friedgen went left Morgantown with the intention of bringing his team together. He told his team: “If there’s ever a time we need to pull together, it’s right now.” Perhaps this is the spark the team needed to move forward.

“This is a very important game on our schedule. I think it’s very important for us to reestablish some momentum,” Friedgen said, adding he still believes in his team. “We’re really focusing on doing whatever we have to do to win this football game.”

But next up for the Terps – Florida International – is no pushover. In fact, they present a lot of similarities to the Mountaineers. And with that in mind, the team is simply looking for a win.

“This week we know we have to come out and play the whole game like we did the first two games of the season,” nose tackle A.J. Francis said. “[Florida International is] definitively a capable team of beating anybody. I’m just really looking forward to going out there and getting this loss out of the back of our heads.”

Like the Terps’ last opponent, the team features an abundance of speed and athleticism – both of which were on display against Rutgers and Texas A&M, Florida International’s previous two opponents. Both games were close, and both resulted in fourth quarter blown leads for the Golden Panthers.

Against Rutgers, FIU surrendered a 24-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to fall 19-14 to the Scarlet Knights. After holding a two-touchdown lead at Texas A&M, the FIU defense let up three scores in the final 14 minutes to fall 27-20. Nonetheless, the Maryland coaching staff is still impressed.

“They played well enough to win against Rutgers and played really well last week [versus Texas A&M],” Brown said.

For the Terps’ sake, they hope not to have to comeback in the final moments when they take on FIU. But as the game versus West Virginia made apparent, they can.

TerrapinTimes Top Stories