clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland 56, Charlotte 21: In-Game Adjustments and a Potent...DEFENSE?!

A Maryland conspiracy theory, some love for Brian Williams, and whether the Terps can take the next step against Purdue and Penn State:

NCAA Football: Maryland at Charlotte
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

First, a B1G conspiracy theory: Need proof that Notre Dame is coming to the B1G in the next round of super-conference expansion? They were MACrificed by Marshall. Granted, Marshall is in the Sunbelt Conference, but they are located literally just across the Ohio River, less than 1,000 feet from Ohio, which is definitely MAC territory.

It’s a conspiracy theory, so work with me, and ignore any fallacies in my logic.

My own Maryland football conspiracy theory: Locks scheduled MD to play Charlotte AT Charlotte against the 3rd worst defense in FBS (129th of 131) as an early election season to pimp Taulia Tagovailoa as a Hesman candidate.

Unfortunately, like most conspiracy theories, this one falls apart at the first effort to look at facts. For unknown reasons, Maryland scheduled this dumb game before Locks was hired.

Maryland Terrapins 56, Charlotte 49ers 21

Nevertheless, put an atrocious defense on the field against Taulia, Maryland’s receiving corps, and their experienced O-line, and you get: 27-31 with 4 TDs and 1 INT. I didn’t mind the INT. It was near the end of the first half, the receiver was briefly open down the sideline near the goal line, the ball was placed perfectly. Unfortunately, the receiver didn’t see the defender closing quickly on the play and was lacksadaisical about going for the ball, both players got their hands on it, and the defender ended up with possession in the end zone.

  • Thirteen different receivers had at least 1 reception. Does Iowa even have thirteen receptions for the season?
  • Total yards: 617.
  • 1 punt for 45 yards.

Interesting aspects of the game:

Aside from these gaudy, complete-opposite-of-Iowa offensive stats, there were some mildly interesting elements to the game, despite the final score:

Unlike the workmanlike snorefest against Buffalo, this game was interesting to most OTEers into the beginning minutes of the 2nd quarter and interesting to Maryland fans through the 3rd quarter. The first quarter represented chaos, but on the complete opposite end of the football spectrum than the Iowa-SDSU train wreck/tragic-comedy. Charlotte rolled the dice and started their supposedly 3rd string true freshmen QB. After forcing Charlotte to punt on the first possession of the game, the Terps and Charlotte combined to scored 5 straight TDS over the next five possessions. It was 21-14 with 14:25 to go in the 2nd quarter. Ruh-roh, shaggy.

Maryland figured out Charlotte’s new starting QB that they had not prepared for and made the necessary defensive adjustments. Charlotte’s defense is horrible, so the Terps built that 21-14 lead into a 56-14 lead, while completely shutting down Charlotte’s offense for 2-1/2 quarters. Hooray for Brian Williams, MD’s new DC. He can actually make in-game adjustments. Charlotte didn’t score again until 7:49 remained in the game [with starters long gone from the game] to reduce MD’s lead from 42 points to 35 points, still comfortably beating the -28 point spread.

The Good: Offense. See above. Unfortunately, MD will not see a truly good defense until their B1G home opener in Week 4 against UM. I think MD has a very talented offense. But, I can’t get very excited until I see this offense against a real defense.

Special Teams: Looked good last week. MD punted one time for 45 yards. There is nothing to add about STs this week.

The Bad: Discipline and penalties. 8 penalties for 48 yards. Last week they had 10 for 80+ yards. MD eliminated the defensive PI penalties. But, they still had some dumb penalties... delay of game, followed immediately by a false start turning a first and goal at the 6 to a 1st and goal at the 16. MD scored anyway because Charlotte’s defensive secondary is trash. But, still. No bueno.

The ?????: Defense. As stated above, things looked a little shaky at first, but then the Terps made adjustments and completely shut down an over-matched Charlotte offensive unit. Next week’s opponent, SMU has a potent top-30 offense. This will be a real test to measure how much Maryland defense has improved.

Firing Brian Stewart as DC last year and promoting Brian Williams as the new DC has already shown demonstrable improvement. Brian Stewart’s defense gave up 35 points to a horrible IU offense last year. Since B-Will took over as DC at the end of last year, MD has given up no more than 21 points to any opponent: winning 40-16 against Rutgers, 54-10 against Virginia Tech, 31-10 against Buffalo last week, and 56-21 against Charlotte this week. All against bad or over-matched offenses. Again, compared to IU, which was on the same general level of offensive ineptitude as these last four teams, Maryland gave up 35 points. So, there is measurable improvement. But, the question that will define Maryland’s level of success is how much has the Terps’ defense improved?

Good enough to stop Michigan or Ohio State? Nope. uh-uh. Not even Michigan State.

Good enough to to win against at home against Purdue, or at Penn State? Maybe. Maybe not. I see these two games being the defining games of Maryland’s season.

Up Next: Maryland plays a very potent SMU offense next week (6:30pm CT, FS1), which should be a true test to measure any improvement to Maryland’s as yet unproven defense, before getting wrecked by Michigan in Week 4.


Do you believe in THIS version of September Maryland?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    HELL YEAH, 11-1 here we come!
    (12 votes)
  • 36%
    Sure? 8-4 would work just fine.
    (38 votes)
  • 37%
    Nah, but I’m cool with 6-6 again.
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    Uh, buddy, the collapse is going to be SPECTACULAR.
    (14 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now