Terps Offensive Line Making Some Strides

After an embarrassing performance against Cal, the O-line saw an improvement against JMU

For the Maryland Terps, this home opener was important after last week's demoralizing loss to the California Bears. One of areas that needed improvement the most was the offensive line. We must remember that this youthful offensive line lacks experience. Only two starters return from last season. The five lost from last season combined to start 115 games. This year would be a big test for them.

The Terps' offensive line may have looked slightly appalling in the road opener, but against the Dukes of James Madison, the big men stepped up their game early. The line put together a great first half performance in an effort to keep quarterback Chris Turner off the ground and open up holes for backs Da'Rel Scott and Davin Megget. But, as we all know, you have to play all 60 minutes if you want to win. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Terps found themselves down 28-21 to JMU.

The Terps came out throwing a series of short passes and screens combined 14 plays of pure magic, capped off by Turner taking it in for himself from the JMU 3 yard line for the first score of the game. The offensive line held their own as Turner looked like an old pro to open the game.

The Terps ran an impressive first half and it looked like the game was well in hand; but the 3rd quarter proved to be a moment of weakness. The main focus of concern had to be the offensive line as it slowly collapsed causing Turner to shuffle around the pocket and make poor throws (including a costly interception) and even resulted in a sack.

The fourth quarter would prove to be the deciding factor not only for the Terps' offensive front, but also for the game. The first drive of the quarter for the Terps looked promising before a 3rd and 1 turned into a 3rd and 6 as a result of a false start upfront. A 5-yard penalty may not have seemed completely horrible at first glance, but even the small things can stop a drive. One incomplete pass later and the Terps were forced to punt.

The second drive started out with promise, two runs and a quick pass across the middle later and the Terps were in business with a first down in JMU territory. After a successful 4th down conversion, Chris Turner delivered on an impressive pass to Adrian Cannon for a touchdown. This drive showed the unexpected maturity of the offensive line as they kept the pressure off of Turner and allowed the Terps to tie up the score at 35-35 and get back in the game. Overtime.

With the JMU Dukes failing to score first in overtime, it was up to the Maryland offense to clinch the game in overtime. The Terps would need an impressive showing from the offensive line if they wanted to walk away from Saturday night's game with a win. Two quick runs by Da'Rel Scott thanks to the Terp's strong blocking up front, and it looked as though they were in perfect position to score. A few plays later, and a 26-yard Nick Ferrara kick was all the Terps needed to seal the deal.

Overall, the Terp's offensive line had a weak 3rd quarter, but improvement was definitely noticed as Maryland got their first win of the season. Say what you will about the competition they faced this week, the offensive line showed that they are capable of grinding it out late in the game to get a win. Coach Friedgen recognizes that the line is still a ways away from perfection, but improvement was noticed.


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