Terps Hold For A Big Win

Maryland defense held strong and the offense got it done on the ground.

In a game filled with turnovers, and a Maryland defense that had already been on the field for 81 plays, it was the 82nd play that would determine the outcome of the game. Navy had the ball on the Maryland 1 on 4th and goal. There were :37 seconds left and the score was 17-14 Maryland. Instead of kicking the field goal to tie the game and send it into over time, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to roll the dice and go for it. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs kept the ball but was stopped by Kenny Tate for no gain causing a turnover on downs and allowing the Terps to run two quarterback sneaks and run out the clock holding on tight to a 17-14 win.

Before an announced crowd of 69,348 fans at M & T Bank for the Crab Bowl, fans from both teams waited anxiously throughout the entire game to see what would unfold next. Navy had their chances to put points on the board. They missed a 32-yard field goal on their first possession after driving 52 -yards at will to get down to the Maryland 15.

On Navy’s third possession, they drove the ball down to the Maryland one yard line before Adrian Moten dove over top of the Navy offensive line and swiped the ball out of Dobbs’ hand forcing a fumble that was eventually recovered by Maryland’s Antwine Perez, wasting a chance to put seven more points on the board.

With their last possession of the half, Dobbs drove Navy down to the Maryland seven with :12 seconds left. Instead of throwing the ball away on a play in which he had no open receivers, Dobbs scrambled and ran for five yards, but time expired as Navy did not have any timeouts remaining.

Last year, Navy had eight possessions all season in which they were inside the opponents red zone and did not score. Today, they had seven opportunities, and only scored on two, more than half of all last season.

Maryland on the other hand opened up the game scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions.

On their season opening possession, Da’Rel Scott scored on a five-yard run that capped an 8 play, 59-yard drive. Maryland’s second possession started with a Davin Meggett 67-yard run. The drive was capped with a Meggett 3-yard run to put the Terps up 14-0.

Navy did score a touchdown in the second quarter on a 10-yard run by Andre Byrd, but went into the half trailing 14-7

The third quarter was owned by the Midshipmen. They held the ball for 9:20 and scored on a one yard run by quarterback Ricky Dobbs to tie the game at 14-14. Navy outgained the Terps 150 yards to 53.

In the fourth quarter, the Terps got an early 24-yard field goal from Travis Baltz, the first of his career. Baltz was filling in for injured kicked Nick Ferrara pulled double duty, playing his regular position as punter.

It all led up to the 82nd play of the game. The play in which linebacker Alex Wujciak said, “Coach Brown told us what they were going to run and told me to just jump up the middle and bust things up. Kenny Tate then did the rest, sealing the deal for the Terps.

After the game, Coach Friedgen said, “I am very proud of the players. Navy is a great team that played their guts out. It was a great game.”

In previous years, when in a close game, the Terps would have fallen apart. “Last year we wouldn’t have won this game” Friedgen said. “We found a way to hang in there and kept persevering. That’s why I am so proud of our players.”

The Midshipmen held on to the ball almost twice as long as the Terps and ran more than double the amount of plays that the Terps ran. Despite being on the field more than half of the game, the Terps defense continued to battle.

“This was one of the best rushing offenses in the country” Friedgen said. “The whole game was like a tremendous chess match.”

Although the Terps passing game (2-5 11 yards) struggled, their ground attack excelled. Davin Meggett led the way with 105 yards on eight carries and Jamarr Robinson finished with 103 yards.

Should there be concern for the Terps passing game? Not according to Coach Friedgen. “I’ve seen Jamarr in practice. I know what he can do. Our running game was working. Our plan was if we can run the ball and hold the ball, then that’s what we wanted to do.”

Maryland defensive tackle Joe Vellano (10 tackles and two sacks) said, “You really can’t prepare for the triple option. Our Scout team did a great job in practice, but there is no way to truly simulate running it as precise and efficient as they do. Coach Brown told us they were going to make plays but we can’t give in and I think that’s exactly what happened on that last play, we didn’t give in.

Vellano finished last season with only one tackle, did it all today. Ask what he worked on in the off-season that helped him find so much success today, Vellano said, “A lot of lifting and running.”

Despite the ugly win, the Terps will take it, enjoy it tonight and then start preparing for Morgan State. They are already halfway to their win total from last year and hope to match it at 6 pm Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

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