So, I was watching a little bit of Greg Schiano’s post-game press conference, and he mentioned this interesting nugget that he felt was a key to a successful game plan against Maryland: Taulia Tagovailoa has not thrown an interception this year when Maryland was leading. Hmm. So, things didn’t bode well for Rutgers when the Terps scored on their first two possesions and then went into halftime up 20-2.
The two points Rutgers scored? Glad you asked. Blocked PAT attempt returned for a touchdown. Special teams failure, again.
Some other stats that accurately describe what I saw:
- Maryland: 575 total yards and 9/15 on 3rd down conversions.
- Rutgers: 337 total yards and 0/4 on 4th down conversions.
Yikes. Two of those 4th down conversions started as 1st and Goal. Oof. Two 4th and goals and coming away with zippo, zilch, nada will usually end with a loss.
The second failed 4th and goal attempt occurred with the ball inside Maryland’s 1-yard line with 11:02 to play and Maryland up 33-16. A score would have brought Rutgers within 10 points, making the game somewhat close. But the Terps took over possession on their own 1 yard line and promptly marched 99 yards for a touchdown, eating up five minutes of valuable game time in the process. The drive started with a 40-yard run by Colby McDonald straight up the middle. Maryland is damn good when their O-line and D-line are comparable or better than their counterparts, which brings me to the more interesting topic: Locks.
For those who predicted a Rutgers win, including 67% of the imbeciles who voted on OTE and 7/8 writers from On The Banks, the most-often cited reason was superior coaching—Schiano is a genius and Locks is a fool.
Well, Locks actually makes a good argument for being a fool by keeping the Zooker on staff as the special teams coach, as the Terps’ effort featured a blocked PAT attempt and yet another big kick-off return by the opposing team.
But, I digress. Schiano is a good solid coach, especially on defense. But Schiano couldn’t do shit because Taulia had all day to throw, going 21 for 30 with 312 passing yards. When Rutgers brought in extra d-backs, Maryland’s mediocre rushing attach excelled: Tayon Fleet-Davis rushed 18 times for 152 yards and Colby McDonald rushed 15 times for 99 yards. Huh? Maryland?
I agree with the general OTE sentiment that Locks is safe and off the hot seat by going 6-6. They beat the shitty B1G teams, Illinois, Indinia, and Rutgers, while losing to the B1G teams that were ranked in the top-25 at some point this season: Iowa, OSU, Minny, UM, MSU and PSU. As I wrote earlier this season, that makes them the “king of the dipshits.”
There is definite progress, but climbing the B1G East is tough. Penn State has been consistently recruited top-10 classes for years and they finished fourth in the B1G. If Locks can consistently (not always) get to 7-5 or 8-4, Maryland fans should be happy, particularly considering their low coaching budget.
Next year will be a challenge with Schiano recruiting his ass off and Rutgers on the rise. But, if Locks would just fire the Zooker and improve special teams, that could account for significant improvement. O-line and D-line, as always, must improve to get to 7 wins.
Up next: A BOWL GAME