12:00, first quarter: Well, Navy's new defense was going to be a concern. Might as well get exposed right away and not harbor faulty visions of grandeur. A sobering splash of cold water for the Buddy (Green) System.
10:28: Not part of the plan, boys. Not part of the plan. At all. An average of 7.4 yards per play from Maryland represents genuine physical domination up front, especially by the right side of the Terps' offensive line.
9:21: Clockwork. Absolute clockwork.
7:36: That was not clockwork. Maryland, though, took away the fullback, and when that happens, Navy does indeed find itself in a distinctly vulnerable position.
7:03: Early-game adversity. Might as well see this team get tested and forced to draw on added resources in game one.
6:33: Um, maybe embracing early-game adversity is overrated. My word, this is feeling like a "no-contest" matchup between the Maryland offensive front and Navy's outclassed front seven. Yikes.
6:11: Tackle made by… the field turf at M&T Bank Stadium. Geez.
4:44: That's an uncatchable ball. The Maryland receiver stopped running his route, and the ball was thrown five yards away from him. The brush by Wyatt Middleton did not affect the play and was arguably late as well. That was a well-earned stand by Navy, wiped out by a dubious call. More early-game adversity. Unreal.
4:15: Thanks, refs, for the seven-point tally instead of the field goal Maryland should have been limited to.
4:15: During the commercial break, one looks at the box score and finds that Maryland running back Davin Meggett has 75 yards on just four carries. Yeah. Smashing.
0:39: It's so weird as Navy inches the ball up the field. Maryland is the team that hasn't passed the ball yet and is scoring at will on the ground, thanks to a jolt of big-play lightning. Maryland is out-Navying the Midshipmen so far in Baltimore.
0:08: Solid stuff from the triple-option, but until this drive gets finished, it's not worth all that much.
End of First Quarter Score: Maryland 14, Navy 0
14:51, second quarter: Disaster averted. Barely. That ball should have been scooped up by Maryland's Demetrius Hartsfield. Maybe the second quarter will feature the good luck that was missing in the first quarter.
14:25: Okay. Back in business. Now, though, comes the hard part: getting a defensive stop.
13:42: Well, Maryland STILL refrains from passing the ball. No containment on the boundary.
12:20: So, maybe that's why the Terps didn't want to throw the ball in the first quarter… more second-quarter gifts for Navy from the Maryland side. Remember, that Navy fumble should have been recovered by the boys from the ACC. That was a gifted touchdown; now a gifted defensive stop on a terrible decision by Jamarr Robinson.
10:03: GEEZ! What a supremely risky play! Navy is living on the edge and surviving a lot of plays that could have been disastrous in the other direction. Ah, opening-week tenuousness! Feel the excitement!
8:02: Inexcusable. No reason for that completion to not be made. Dobbs was angry with John Howell, ostensibly for not running a crisp route. Oh, boy.
7:28: That's a good timeout by Ken Niumatalolo. Gotta dial up something special for this fourth-and-long, or maybe opt for a field goal try. It's still early, and you might want three. However, this would be a 48-yarder, so I can understand the thought process either way.
7:23: Maryland expects pass. Navy runs. Deceptively simple play by the Navy braintrust for a first down.
4:08: Oh, no. Maryland was jumping the gap and reading the snap count like a coloring book. Terrible job by Dobbs with the cadence on top of the fumble. He did nothing to keep Maryland's linebackers guessing. He needed to either audible or call a timeout in such a situation… and then hold onto the ball once that play got smoked by the Terps. That's two fumbles inside the Maryland 10. This one didn't return to Navy's possession.
2:22: Goodness gracious. Navy's treating the pigskin like a greasy, slippery creature. It's one thing if Dobbs throws a pick in a difficult third-and-long situation; it's quite another for a run-based team to so continuously lose hold of the ball. This is the team's identity (a run-first team). Fumbles mean instant death.
1:40: I like that. Remind Maryland of the fullback, and do it on third down and a medium-yardage distance to go against tendencies.
0:48: Gee Gee Greene did indeed get his toe down while still having control of the ball. Tremendous play out of the backfield. Just what Navy needed to give balance and ballast to their overall attack.
0:12: Time for the best play in the bag.
0:00: You have got to be kidding, Ricky Dobbs. No timeouts left, sir.
Halftime Score: Maryland 14, Navy 7.
Keys for the second half: Um, not fumble inside the 10. Manage the clock at the end of the half. Stop the Maryland run. Contain Jamarr Robinson and don't give him running lanes. Make short field goals instead of missing them. Yeah, the basics. It's week one, everybody.
13:36, third quarter: A personal foul. Just when Navy could have gone for it on fourth-and-two. Beautiful.
13:11: That Vince Murray burst? Truly beautiful. And oh-so-necessary for the Mids.
11:46: Dobbs had two men running wide open in the Maryland secondary. He missed both of them badly. Maybe this offense is using up all its mistakes in one game. It's remarkable that Maryland leads by only seven. Then again, it's also astounding that Navy, for all its yardage and first downs, has tallied only seven points today.
9:45: You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. There wasn't even any severe contact on the play. Dobbs didn't get drilled or blindsided. He just lost. The. Ball.
There are no words.
5:50: We haven't mentioned much about Navy's defense of late. That's because the Mids have had the ball so much, but it's also because Maryland hasn't scored since the first quarter. Buddy Green has made the requisite adjustments, and the boys in white jerseys have settled down. A very pleasing set of developments on that side of the ball. Now, about the fumbling issue…….
3:34: First down at the Maryland 12. Just waiting for the pigskin to pop loose again. Not impressed until this puppy is 14-14.
1:52: Finally. That's all there is to say. 14-14.
0:26: Fantastic reactions from Navy's linebackers against Robinson. That sack should have been made, but the defense is still reacting really well and making great reads. The Men of Ken need this stop, right here, to sustain momentum. If Navy gets a 21-14 lead, I doubt that Maryland will be able to throw the ball or otherwise move downfield to tie things up.
0:00: Defensive stand made. At the three-quarter milepost, the outlook is finally on the sunshine side for Navy, though the outcome is far from certain. It takes only a fumble or three to change the tenor of a tussle.
End of Third Quarter Score: Maryland 14, Navy 14
14:10, fourth quarter: A dropped pass on an easy ball from Dobbs. A catch puts Navy in second-and-three, in a position to do whatever it wants. Now the down-and-distance situation works against Navy. That could blunt the drive right there. Oy.
12:50: Nice call, but not enough for the first down. Drive blunted, indeed.
12:21: The one thing that really could have hurt Navy at this point… just happened. A massive punt return to the Mids' red zone.
12:00: The one thing that Navy needed at this point… just happened. A fumble recovery. In the red zone. The scales even out… somewhat.
10:31: That's the first pair of play calls I haven't liked from Niumatalolo and Ivin Jasper. On second-and-two, pound the fullback. On third-and-six, disguise the pass instead of a straight-dropback style which is easier to read and (hence) defend. Maryland back in business at midfield. Strange game – that's what season openers are like.
9:53: Just like that, Maryland is now dictating play again. Big Mo is traveling with the team in red, and it's obvious.
7:50: Maryland leads, but that's a win for Navy's defense. Time for the offense to finish one more drive. No fumbling. (It's an opener. Gotta remind the boys.)
6:14: There's a gift hand-delivered by Maryland, literally. A face-mask on what was a third-down stop. There's something to be said about mistakes: They will happen, and we human beings are imperfect. Be wise enough to make mistakes when and where you can afford to make them. Neither Navy nor Maryland has made the kinds of mistakes that are affordable. Every goof is a huge one this afternoon.
3:55: Two false starts within a handful of plays? I tell ya, if Navy can survive this tsunami of slip-ups, how confident will this team be for the rest of the year? Just dig out this win, get out of Dodge, and clean things up in the remaining 11 games. Just win, baby.
1:43: Navy doesn't want to score too quickly, but now, it's time to do something on third down.
1:25: Good heavens. Why was the offensive unit rushing to the line of scrimmage?! The play clock had barely started, and you WANT to let the clock run here! Another cringe-inducing play from the Mids' yard-eating but decidedly balky offense.
0:49: Go for it. Of course. Win or lose here. The offense needs to get this half-yard. Sneak it only if the Terps don't load the box. If they do, go off-tackle
0:37: Timeout, Maryland. Terps have no timeouts left. Here we go – one play for the whole shebang.
0:00: Stuffed. Dobbs seemed to lack good footing on the play. No attempt to dive over a defender, but hey, Maryland simply beat Navy's best stuff on that play. All the earlier fumbles were just enough to make this a miserable Opening Day.
Final Score: Maryland 17, Navy 14.