Maryland's 38-7 implosion against Temple on Saturday dropped coach Randy Edsall's Terps to 1-2, and set off an alarm within the program. The Mid-American Conference visitors totally dominated their ACC hosts and following next week's much-needed visit from FCS member Towson, the schedule becomes increasingly daunting.
"What happened today was unacceptable and really embarrassing," said Edsall. "There's no need to sugarcoat things, we got our butts kicked today."
For the second straight week, Maryland started slowly, this time falling behind 31-0 by halftime in what certainly seemed like a winnable game going in. The Owls had never beaten an ACC program since the ACC formed in 1953, and they've only got two BCS wins since 2004 -- Maryland and last season against Edsall-coached Connecticut.
"I guess I didn't get my message across this week about how physical it was going to be," said the coach. "I have to do a better job of letting them know exactly what they are going up against. To me, there was no life and energy out there. We will address it, get better, and move forward."
Edsall sensed trouble in a lackluster Tuesday practice and let the team know about it. Wednesday was better but by Thursday, Maryland's focus was again wavering.
Temple, coming off a close 14-10 loss to Penn State that apparently wasn't a fluke, scored the first five times the Owls had the ball. They had the ball for over 41 minutes of the game and got a school-record five rushing touchdowns from tailback Bernard Pierce.
"We have to play with way more emotion and with more attention to detail," said Terps senior guard Andrew Gonnella, blood on the bridge of his nose in the postgame interview room. "This week we have to come out and maybe practice like we're all freshmen. We're starting from scratch. We have to practice like we haven't earned anything."
The Terrapins, after that season-opening win over Miami on national television, haven't earned anything and the honeymoon with Edsall seems to abruptly be over, as well. Following the sell-out crowds of over 52,000 against Miami and West Virginia, only 39,102 fans -- a number similar to the kind of crowds last season that led to Ralph Friedgen's ouster -- turned out against Temple.
--The Terrapins hadn't had a punt blocked since November 1999 against Florida State, a streak of 139 games and the longest such string in the nation. That ended Saturday when Rod Streater roared in and blocked Nick Ferrara's punt in the first quarter. Coach Randy Edsall said one of the up-backs missed an assignment. The Owls recovered at the 7-yard line and scored to go up 21-0.
--The no-huddle Terrapins offense didn't get a first down until its third possession with the Owls ahead 14-0. Maryland's 18:59 time of possession for the game was the lowest for the Terps since a 2002 loss to Notre Dame (18:56).
--The loss to Temple was Maryland's first defeat to the Owls in seven meetings.
--Following this week's home game with Towson, the Terrapins launch into ACC play Oct. 8 at Georgia Tech. Starting with that contest, two of the next three games are on the road and all against foes ranked last week -- Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DL Maurice Hampton got in more action when starting freshman Andre Monroe went down early with an ankle injury. Hampton had a career-high five unassisted tackles, including Maryland's only two tackles for losses in the running game. The 6-2, 295-pound senior stands to get even more playing time in coming weeks as defensive line injuries have mounted.
LOOKING GOOD: Other than the blocked punt (and it wasn't his fault), junior P Nick Ferrara was superlative. He punted six times for an average of 47.2 yards, a career-best single game average. He put two punts out of bounds inside the 10-yard line. Ferrara, who is also the placekicer, had punted just three times total in the previous two games.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Maryland running game ground to a halt against Temple, the Owls whipping the Terrapins up front. Maryland mustered just 45 yards rushing on 23 carries. The Terps went into catch-up mode early but the team's first two rushes -- both one-yard gains for Davin Meggett -- were part of three-and-out series that set a bad tone quickly. To add insult to injury, The offensive line gave up the first three sacks of the season on QB Danny O'Brien.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're not giving up. This is nowhere near the end for us. The season's still early and we still have more opportunities." -- Maryland LG Andrew Gonnella.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Junior WR Kerry Boykins set new career-highs with eight catches for 76 yards against Temple, including the Terps' longest play -- a 27-yard gain from QB Danny O'Brien.
--Sophomore QB C.J. Brown, Maryland's second-stringer, got in for one fourth-quarter drive and delivered, hitting all four of his passes, good for 42 yards, and including an 18-yard TD strike to TE Devonte Campbell. Brown's 29 yards rushing was also a team-high.
Coach Randy Edsall didn't leave the door open on any QB change, though. "C.J. did a great job against their twos (second team), but Danny (O'Brien) is our starting quarterback," Edsall said. "We can put that controversy to bed."
--Junior MLB Demetrius Hartsfield had a career-high 17 tackles against Temple, including a second-quarter sack on a blitz.
--S Matt Robinson entered the game 10th nationally in tackles with 11.5 per game, and bettered that mark with 13 stops against the Owls.
--DE Andre Monroe, a freshman making his first start, went down in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Monroe was carted off the field. If he is sidelined this week, he'll join DT Justin Anderson (broken foot) and DE Isaiah Ross (broken leg), defensive linemen already out for extended periods.
--WR Marcus Leak, a true freshman pushed to second on the depth chart by the indefinite suspensions of seniors Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree, had his first two career catches Saturday, good for 14 yards.
--WLB Darin Drakeford continues to be hobbled by an ankle injury but started against Temple. He finished with three tackles.