Danny OBriens line doesnt really look too pretty at first glance, what with only a single touchdown and two interceptions. OBrien wasnt nearly as bad as those numbers make him out to be though, as one of the interceptions was not actually an interception, and while the stats, arent great, if you watched the game youd see a completely different story.
First of all, OBrien was absolutely killed by an absurd amount of drops, especially from the tight ends, on passes that should most certainly have been caught. (Well get to that later in the article, though.) Even with such drops, the freshman QB was poised and in control in the pocket, even when confronted with a decent amount of pressure from Florida State throughout the game, and his ability to handle that and consistently drive his team down the field enables OBrien to get a decent grade this week, even with a not so pretty stat line.
Running Backs: A
This was the kind of game needed out of the running backs after what felt like an eternity of mediocre-but-not-great performances. DaRel Scott finally turned it on this week and showed off serious explosiveness in generating 87 yards on only 10 carries. Scott consistently pushed through the first man who reached him and generated extra yards that proved to be necessary to sustain drives.
Davin Meggett aptly played the role of trusty sidekick (which is really something weve been expecting all year) in generating 72 yards of his own, but with his own style of shiftiness and breaking through holes.
Finally, D.J. Adams had a great game as the short-yardage back, consistently getting over the pile and getting those fourth-down conversions when needed. Each back played their roles and played them to perfection, and it really showed that this running back trio can be effective when everyone does their job.
This unit was decent, but thats really the best thing you can say about them. Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon had decent games, and even broke some screen passes, which we hadnt seen since early in the year, but it was otherwise quite a dull showing from this group.
Except, of course, for Will Yeatman. How could we forget about Will? He was the epitome of an up-and-down player against Florida State. When Will was good, he was good, especially on that second-quarter drive that ended with a great catch in the end zone on a bullet from Danny OBrien.
However, when Will was bad, he was REALLY bad. The tight end had two absolutely HUGE drops in the second half, one of which on a pass that I honestly think I could have caught. They killed drives and really hurt the time, and while he somewhat made up for it with the touchdown catch, those plays hurt this units grades.
Offensive Line: B
Is this unit actually improving? Thats the way it appeared during Saturdays game, as the five guys up front were able to consistently open up some great holes for our backs to run through. It was a nice surprise after about four weeks of pretty disappointing performances, and to come through in this kind of game is great to see.
As for pass protection, Id say the unit played above average. While they did get called for a false start on their very first play of the game, they settled down after that and ended up giving OBrien a fair bit of time to throw. Also, two sacks is a very respectable number to hold a defense from a top-25 team to, so Ill take that any day of the week.
Anyway, this unit may finally be coming together, and though it may be at the end of the season, it definitely makes me excited for next year.
Defensive Line: B-
It was kind of a ho-hum day out of this group. They played seriously well against Florida States running attack, and literally were basically a stone wall all game, but the pass defense was an entirely different story.
While the stats may show that the Terrapin defense generated three sacks against Florida State QB Christian Ponder, they werent really as successful as those statistics indicate. There were stretches in the second half where Ponder literally had ten or more seconds in the pocket of uninterrupted time, and it just left me screaming my head off. This unit has got to become more than one-dimensional if they want to really win.
This group made me so happy on Saturday. Plays were made, whether they be routine or difficult, and they did it in style, which has been missing throughout the season.
Adrian Moten wasnt great, but he did enough against the Seminole offensive line, and while his stats may not show it, he was pretty much the only Terrapin who was consistently getting to Ponder. He wasnt exactly the bona-fide playmaker that weve seen all season, but he was solid.
Alex Wujciak also came up HUGE in this game, as he was making tackles all over the field with some rarely seen ferocity. It was a wonderful change from the player who almost let players come to him instead of charging at players throughout the season, and he almost single-handedly stopped the Seminole run game.
Wujciak cant get all the credit, though, as Demetrius Hartsfield showed some serious moxie with 8 tackles of his own and a TERRIFIC sack of Ponder that really halted Florida States momentum. I couldnt be happier with this groups play.
Kenneth. Tate. Just an absolutely HUGE performance out of the starting safety on Saturday night, and he really came up big in every part of the game. 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and an interception that was returned 20 yards. Just look at those numbers. Tate was absolutely ridiculous and showed himself to be the playmaker on the Terrapin defense.
There were some other decent performances out of the secondary, but nothing that came close to Tate. Cameron Chism had 7 tackles and a fumble recovery, Antwin Perez had two tackles for loss himself. While there were surely a couple missed plays on the second level, this unit overall played as well as they could against a great offense and quarterback in Florida State.
Special Teams: B-
This unit was incredibly frustrating to watch in this game, simply because I know that they can do better. While Travis Baltz put together another terrific game by nailing three field goals and continually booting long punts inside the Seminoles 20-yard line, the rest of the unit was not too pretty.
Torrey Smith REALLY struggled with his returns, never getting to the 30-yard line on any of his runbacks, and he also had a costly fumble that was almost recovered by Florida State. We also never saw any punt returns to Tony Logan, which was by design by the Florida State coaching staff, so we could never get any real return yardage from any sort of kick by Florida State.
Finally, kickoffs. Nick Ferrara did NOT look good. He didnt kick the ball far and he could never keep it inbounds, which left the Terrapins in constantly bad field position. After a great first half of the season, this unit has unfortunately gone downhill quickly, and theyve got to recover if this team is to play well in the future.