Maryland suffers first loss of season to Temple
OVERVIEW COMING IN
Temple Owls University came into College Park Maryland to face off with the Maryland Terrapins football team on Saturday September 15th for a 12 ET noon kickoff.
This was the 9th overall meeting between the schools with Maryland holding a 7-1 edge after winning their most recent match up in 2012 by a score of 36-29 in Philadelphia. Saturday’s game will also be Maryland’s official home opener after playing their first 2 games away from College Park.
The Terps were pumped to be playing in front of their home crowd for the first time even though the season opener vs the Texas Longhorns was a Maryland home game technically.
However, that game for as many Terps fan there were at Fed Ex Field that afternoon really did not have the game days at College Park feel. The tailgating was at a minimal mainly due to the heavy rains two weeks ago.
Texas fans also traveled well which somewhat negated the Terps home field advantage edge coming in. The weather coming into today wasn’t supposed to be that much better than the one during the Texas game.
Earlier in the week, Many within the Maryland program even considered whether or not to postpone the Temple Owls game entirely due to severe concerns of the Hurricane season. However the Hurricane impact were mostly exaggerated.
Maryland offense sputtered on their opening drive to the game with red shirt freshmen starting quarterback Kasim Hill nearly throwing interceptions on his first two throws of the game.
There were Terps receivers open on both throws as well. In what should have been a sign of things to come in that first half or game as a whole. If you read my preview to the game I said to fully expect the Temple Owls to come out and play with the ultimate desperation. Fakes and trick plays were all a concern coming in and Temple leave nothing to the imagination.
In just the first half alone I counted at least 4 trick plays by the Temple Owls. All of which got them huge gains and momentum in the process. The Terps simply couldn’t do anything right in the early going especially on offense. The Maryland offensive line got dominated by a much smaller yet hungrier Temple Owls front 7.
The Owls were able to generated easy penetration deep inside the Terps backfield consistently. The Terps came out lacking focus, hunger, drive, and most of all the sharp execution that got them to their 2-0 start. Maryland never really found answers to the Owls offense. Temple made all the big plays in the first 30 minutes of this game. The Owls nurse that momentum to a 14-0 lead. Basically, shutting up the College Park crowd.
FOLLOW THY LEADER
Just when it seems like Temple was getting ready to run away with the game the Terps defensive leader senior starting star safety Darnell Savage Jr made what became the biggest play for the Terps in the half .
Savage Jr playing man to man on a Owl’s tight end in the flat stepped in front of a short flare pass by the Owls and walked into the end zone with the 12 yards interception return for touchdown.
Savage Jr showed very little excitement after the play and for good reason.
On the ensuing kickoff the Owls took the ball and went 80 yards in just over 3 minutes that basically chewed up the rest of the play clock in the first half. After the first 30 minutes Temple took a 21-7 lead into the half.
A half totally dominated by the them in any shape or form.
BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY PART 2?
The good news was the Terps had just played a similar bad of a first half just last weekend against Bowling Green State University (BGSU). In that game the Terps went into that halftime trailing as well (14-10) and really didn’t look anything like the team that would end up winning that game 45-14. The Terps were still well in it.
Maryland came back after the half in that game and played a clean second half. However, this Temple Owls team looked much better than that BGSU team ever looked against Maryland in the first half.
For one, Temple didn’t really need any help from Maryland penalties as BGSU did to move the chains with the ease they did it in that first half.
Second, Temple defensive line was definitely much more physical than that BGSU defensive line ever was throughout that game.
The Owls whipped the Terps on both lines of scrimmages like no opponent has so far this season not even the Texas Longhorns.
The Terps were held to just 61 total yards of offensive production with only 8 of those coming via the rushing game. Temple basically played the perfect away game.
Temple dared the Terps to respond physically and on the scoreboard.
Coming out of halftime, Maryland still had a chance to win this game with some swift adjustment but instead came out and immediately allowed the Temple Owls to go on a long quick touchdown drive taking only 3 plays and using less than a minute of the game clock. The drive was aided mostly by a blown coverage.
The Owls repeatedly caught the Terps on the wrong call whether on defense or mostly on offense.
The Owls coaches seems to have an idea just what the Terps offensive play call would be and had plenty of bodies to the direction of the play to stop or contain the play for short or no gains.
Maryland offense just couldn’t get anything going all game long.
WHERE THIS GAME WAS LOST?
Maryland lose this game in the trenches. Coming into the game the Terps got the better end of both their first two opponents.
However, the Owls must have figured out something or saw a weak link on film because they were consistently on the Terps backfield on defense and on offense they negated that Terps pass rush to pretty much oblivion with quick short passes and quick outside runs or a quick full back dive.
The Owls pretty much had the perfect game plan on how to attack that Maryland defense and by the time the Terps adjustment to what the Owls were doing on offense it was too late.
The Owls offensive line kept their quarterback(s) clean all game besides a few hurries here and there. The Terps front 7 got whipped.
SO, WHAT WENT WRONG?
For a start, most of the offensive struggles can be directly attributed to the struggles of that entire offensive line.
However, there was a few key reasons why that line played so poorly. For starters the line was missing arguably their top two guys in seniors bookend tackles Damian Prince and Derwin Grey.
Both those guys are NFL caliber linemen and their absent sent the whole offense in disarray. Younger guys had to step up and today they showed they’re still not ready yet for the big show.
Tyran Hunt and Marcus Minor both have very bright futures in College Park but those young guys got owned by a much more motivated and experienced Temple Owls defensive line.
The Terps rushing game never really got going besides a few electric runs by red shirt freshmen running back Anthony McFarland whom finished with just under 100 (96) yards rushing in less than 10 carries.
For all the good running the running backs group has done so far this year (445 rushing yards last wk), today it was the Owl’s backs that did most of the damage.
The Terps came into the game having only committed one turnover all season, however that too took a hit late in the game when the team was desperately fighting to comeback. After what looks to have been a huge momentous block punt for a return touchdown by Senior defensive end Jesse Aniebonam.
The block and scoop got the College Park faithful right back into the game and it looked like it had woken the team up on the ensuing offensive possession.
The Terps were driving after a couple of explosive runs by McFarland. It was 2nd down and short yardage to go from just inside the Temple owls 20-yard line when red shirt freshmen Kasim Hill drop back to throw.
Senior wide out Taivon Jacobs ran a short 5-yard comeback route but Hill never saw the Owls middle linebacker shading towards Jacobs and was just reading Hill’s eyes.
There were other guys open but Hill was zeroed in on his target and threw it right into the waiting Owls linebacker arms resulting in game clinching interception and return for a touchdown to give the Temple Owls their 21 points lead back at 35-14. The game was pretty much over after that.
POSITIVES IF ANY
There is never going to be many positives when you get beat by 3 touchdowns at home as over 2 touchdowns favorite but there were some encouraging signs from a few.
Red shirt freshmen running back Anthony McFarland had a good game last week against BGSU however he showed today against an Owls front 7 that was very locked in that he’s not just a difference maker but may arguably be this team’s most explosive player.
The Terps offensive staff would be very wise to keep finding ways to hand that kid the ball far more on offense going forward.
This game for as bad as the score shows the Maryland defense actually played very respectable besides that blown coverage to start the second half. Seniors Jesse Aniebonam and Darnell Savage Jr both played very well. Both seniors were responsible for the Terps only touchdowns.
If those two guys weren’t on the field this game could’ve easily been a serious blowout far worse than that 21-point final margin shows.
CONCERNS/THINGS THAT MUST GET BETTER
This is as easy as it gets. That Terrapin entire offense has got to be much better going forward. They did some good things but everyone have got to be far more consistent including the coaches. The kids didn’t look totally prepared to play this game.
Coming in everyone could’ve told the Terps coaches that the Temple Owls will be coming in very desperate and to be fooled on trick fake punt right after a timeout just simply cannot happened.
The Maryland staff got out coaches, out schemed, and out smart.
The Temple staff did an outstanding job getting their kids to play with the desperation they absolutely needed. Temple was not a bad team by any means coming in however this was a huge lost opportunity by Maryland Football.
The Terrapins had a chance to clinch a 3-0 record going into the bye week but simply drop the ball. The job of these coaches going forward is to right the ship during the bye week and come back angry and focus to open up Big Ten play against the Minnesota Golden Gopher’s.
Kasim Hill struggles early may be a huge cause for concern but the Terps would have two weeks to get him going or find another starter.
Hill left a lot of plays on the field and if this team is going to have a good season he simply has got to play much better.
COACHES SHOULD BE ASHAMED
Maryland had everything to play for and in front of jacked up home crowd and these coaches got their asses handed to them by that entire Temple Owls coaching staff.
The Owls had all the right calls it seemed like, while the Terps just kept making wrong calls after wrong calls none more apparent than that blown coverage to staff the second half which lead to long Owl’s touchdown. On that play the Owls had just the exact play call on offense to catch the Terps on a corner blitz. Maryland defensive staff got flogged like only the likes of the BIG top teams do to the Terps.
Temple was neither close in talent or athletic ability to Maryland however they were clearly the better coached team today. Interim coach Matt Canada offense got manhandled to the tone of gaining less than 200 net yards and about 130 of those came late when the game was all but over.
To put it simple the Terps offense got whipped to oblivion. It was like everyone in Terps nation was watching a completely different team from the one last week. Play calling was horrendous on offense all game long, partly due to terrible offensive line play.
The coaches have a whole lot to figure out before now and Minnesota in two weeks.
NOT ALL IS LOST
As disappointing a lost as this is our Terrapins are still 2-1. Many experts had us being 2-1 after our first 3 games however I’m sure many didn’t have us losing to Temple as our first lose.
The Owls showed the Terps in this game that they’re a long way away from being whom they thought they were or wants to become.
Maryland is going to have to find answers to what really went wrong today and do so quickly. The Big ten conference (BIG) can be very unforgiving if you can’t stop leaks.
The Terps showed they have some leaks on their rush defense and on both sides of the line.
Those things have got to be correctly or Maryland will find their season going in a tailspin in no time come BIG play.
HOW TEMPLE WON THIS GAME
The Owls did an outstanding job of game planning.
They had the Terps flustered all game long and their coaches remained aggressive all game long. Temple came in with a must win attitude and they simply played like they wanted it more than Maryland.
They out hustled, out hit, out executed the more talented Terrapins and they deserves credit for that. I for one it never crossed my mind that Maryland could lose this game but it just goes to shows you how silly and unpredictable Collegiate athletics can be.
The Owls knew an 0-3 start to their season would pretty much eliminated them from Bowl contention however now they’ve gained just the kind of momentum they needed to make a run come American Athletic Conference (AAC) season.
Temple played nothing like their 0-2 record would suggest and left College Park with a huge win over an undefeated Big Ten school.
From that first quarter trick play on a fake punt the Owls simply ran away with the game and never really let the Terps back in it and winning going away 35-14. They were absolutely ELITE on defense all game.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE? MARYLAND
Well for the Terps they’re heading into their bye week before facing a gantlet. Maryland must work on the issues that played them against the Temple Owls and have them corrected.
The team is still in good shape but they could’ve been in great shape with a win today. Maryland is still a good team with a very talented back field but as proven by today’s performance their running backs for as good as they are can not do it on their own.
Hopefully both Prince and Grey weren’t seriously hurt and can be back there in two weeks. Our offensive line is abysmal without the two bookend senior tackles.
Temple Owls 35 Maryland Terrapins 14. Not our day All Temple #GOTERPS