Friedgen: It's never easy to win on the road

After 10 straight road losses, Maryland gets another shot at BC

You can incorporate all the silent counts you want, or turn up the volume of simulated crowd noise to full gear, but you can’t ignore the Terrapins’ glaring weakness over the past three seasons.

Since 2008, the Terps have assembled a 12-6 record playing at the friendly confines of Byrd Stadium, while sporting an unimpressive 1-11 record on the road, including 10 consecutive losses.

The most recent defeat came at the hands of a Clemson team that came into their contest against Maryland with a 2-3 record. A 31-7 shellacking in Death Valley was their second road loss on the season, and a missed opportunity to reverse the trend.

“We’re a better football team than what we showed Saturday,” Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I’m hoping from that experience, from going up against some good players, we gain some confidence and we get better for it. Hopefully, we can finally find a way to win on the road.”

Friedgen indicated a lot of his team’s struggles stemmed from foolish penalties. 10 penalties Saturday matched a season-high for the Terps – the same amount amassed Morgan State, as well as their previous road game in Morgantown.

The six offensive penalties committed against Clemson were due in large part to the thunderous crowd noise notorious in Death Valley taking its toll on the offensive line’s ability to communicate. Fortunately for Maryland, the solution lies within the root of the problem.

“We’ve got to stop hurting ourselves to give ourselves a chance. The longer yardage you’re in, the longer throws you have to make, the longer you have to protect. We’re being our own worst enemy,” offensive coordinator James Franklin said. “We’re having way too many offsides penalties on first and second downs, so now we get into a situation where it’s third-and-long every time.”

A refereeing crew, according to tight end Matt Furstenburg, will attend the Terps’ practices this week in an effort to bring more attention the team’s Achilles heel. ““Hopefully that should help us out a lot. They’ll be calling penalties in practice and we’ll make a conscious effort to fix them.”

Leading up to their next challenge, playing Boston College in Chestnut Hill, the entire team realizes their fifth victory on the season would provide one with significant value. For freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien, it would set the tempo for the rest of the season. In other terms, he called it “gut-check time.”

“If we want to get where we want to be this year, we have to win on the road,” O’Brien said. “We know that. Clemson’s over. I think there are a lot of things we learned from that game and hopefully we can apply it to this game.”

An Emotional Hit

For defensive tackle A.J. Francis, winning on the road seems like a foreign feeling. He said when you lost on your home field; you’re in your room 15 minutes later. However, it’s a different story when you’re losing on the road.

“[When] you lose on the road, you got five, six hours before you get home. You just have to sit with that for six hours, and it’s just the worst. It’s terrible because the bus ride to the plan, the plane ride home and the bus ride to campus is just miserable. You just want to be home. You realize you’ve lost.”

It’s no wonder why Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen was so emotionally charged Tuesday during his press conference when he described his team’s ongoing struggle.

“I’m pulling for these guys. I want to see them to be successful. I went through a tough year with them last year. I’m with them. I want it so much for them it frustrates me at times,” Friedgen admitted.

The Terps will have yet another shot at break the mold Saturday at Chestnut Hill.


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