Well, that wasnt exactly what I, nor any Maryland fan, was expecting. Danny OBrien is still a redshirt freshman, and it most definitely showed in his second start. He was the definition of mediocre and never really seemed to get too comfortable in the pocket. OBrien finished with only nine completions in 26 attempts, and most of those 17 incomplete passes were the fault of OBrien, not his receivers. The QB repeatedly missed throws and overthrew receivers, and he really only ever seemed comfortable throwing check-downs and quick patterns. Certainly not the best showing by OBrien, but hes only a freshman. And really, would Jamarr Robinson be that much better?
Running Backs: B
The running backs on this team are such an enigma that its almost impossible to get a hold on where their real talent lies. For example, DaRel Scott looked absolutely terrible for about 80% of the game, and it showed in him only picking up 50 yards on the ground, yet Scott showed and incredible mixture of speed and moves on his 71-yard touchdown catch, in which he made at least four or five defenders miss.
David Meggett did next to nothing in his short time on the field, and while he did manage to get some much-needed tough yards on a couple third and fourth-down conversions, that was the extent of his production. It was an overall mediocre week for the backfield, and the only thing bringing their grade up to average is that spectacular run by Scott.
As Torrey Smith goes, so does this unit, and considering that Smith only managed two receptions for 50 yards, you can tell that this unit was not at its best on Saturday.
While Smith wasnt up to his normal spectacular self, that doesnt mean that he wasnt productive. The All-ACC wide receiver still managed to catch a spectacular 44-yard catch, so it wasnt all bad.
As for the other members of the unit, there really isnt much to speak of. Adrian Cannon was decent with three catches, but he still has yet to really step up as a true #2 wideout. No other player besides him and Smith had anything more than a single catch.
Offensive Line: C-
An ugly, ugly, ugly performance by this group, especially in the first few quarters. Danny OBrien was constantly having to run out of the pocket and either scramble for a few yards on the ground or throw it away in order to avoid the pressure that was constantly being applied. The pass protection slowly improved in the second half, but the lack of protection still left OBrien uncomfortable and skittish.
The line was a bit better in run-blocking, as there were occasionally holes for our backs to run through, but those holes were small and few. Also, Pete DeSouza had a killer false start penalty in the third quarter that killed a drive and forced the team into a punting situation. DeSouza certainly stood out as the worst of the bunch, but that doesnt mean that the whole line isnt to blame for a weak offense. How well an offensive unit plays is based on the foundation of a quality offensive line, and that was certainly not evident on Saturday.
Defensive Line: B-
What a strange game for this unit. While the line did somehow manage six sacks against Duke and David Renfree, there was virtually no pressure besides those tackles of the quarterback. This gave Renfree more than enough time to find an open receiver and throw the ball, which ended up hurting the defense pretty bad.
Against the run, the team managed to play quite well, actually, and held the opposing runners to only 2.1 yards per carry. This was a double-edged sword, however, as it forced the Duke offense into a pass-first mode, which they were more than happy to do, and did with great effect.
Individually, Joe Vellano continually had his name called and wound up with 2.5 sacks, a pass breakup and seven total tackles. He had a HUGE game and is getting better week by week, a great sign for a defensive line that is continually struggled generating pressure throughout the season.
While weve seen the group play better in past weeks, this group still managed to have a pretty good game against a respectable offense this week. The group aided in holding Dukes running backs in check, which was huge.
In the passing game, things werent as pretty. Each member of the group consistently had chances to tackle a wide receiver for a short gain after a catch, yet continually missed tackles, which kept drives alive and really hurt the defense.
Adrian Moten continues to prove to be the biggest playmaker on this defense, and its becoming an absolutely joy to watch him week-in and week-out. Moten was constantly in the Duke backfield and broke up passes throughout the day. The senior linebacker managed to also generate some pressure with a sack and intercepted a pretty tough ball in the third quarter that helped to preserve a very small lead at that point in the game.
Defensive Backs: B
While the defensive line didnt do this group any favors in not generating any pressure on the quarterback, this group still looked borderline-awful from the beginning to the end of the game. The Blue Devil offense continually picked apart this defense, especially the middle of the field, and was able to complete intermediate passes like they were the easiest passes in the world.
Cameron Chism also does not seem to have the look of a number one cornerback, as he was continually targeted in the 15-20 yard range and absolutely could not break up anything. He, along with the rest of the defensive backs and really the whole defense, allowed David Renfree to get into a rhythm that he never really got out of.
There were some pretty big plays made by this group, though, which one has to give them credit for. The safety tandem of Antwine Perez and Kenny Tate made some HUGE plays for this defense. Perez, in particular, had an interception at the goal line that really changed the momentum of the game, while Tate had 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception of his own. While the two were certainly not the best in coverage, they made plays when it counted, and thats really all a football team needs to do if they want to win a game.
Special Teams: A+
Wow. Just wow. In a game in which neither the offense nor the defense were particularly good for the Terrapins, the special teams unit picked this team up and basically carried them to victory.
Is there anything that can be said about Tony Logan that hasnt already been said? Hes absolutely electrifying and is one of the few players in college football who could take it to the house any time he has the ball. Maryland has a rare commodity in Logan, and they should feel so blessed to have him.
And finally, Travis Baltz continues to be his normal incredible self. He had a couple great punts, including one that he was able to, along with the help of his coverage units, get to stop at the Duke one-yard line. Hes become so consistent that its hard to think of a situation in which Nick Ferrara could get his job back. Baltz has been a savior for this team.