Maryland is more than the same song and dance
Maryland dances their way back to college park after a 20 – 17 victory over the Illinois Fighting ilinni this past Friday. While Maryland was predicted to be more effective on the offensive end, Tualia Tagovailoa and the three headed monster “Terperus” of Demus, Jarrett, and Jones were able to secure victory despite being down late in the second half. The fact is, Maryland faced real adversity for the first time this season. They were down to a Big 10 opponents on the road, when momentum was clearly favoring their opponents. For weeks, we have heard that this team was different. We’ve heard that players were holding each other accountable, leadership was different, and that these were not the same old Terps. It was not pretty by any means, but Maryland was the first team in NCAA to go 3 – 0 after Petrino kicked his first ever game winning field goal.
The last time Maryland started the season with three consecutive victories, it was 1996 and the Macarena was at the top of the billboard music charts. Yes, the same Macarena about a girl trying to get people to dance with her before the night is over. While approximately 90% of the population never listen to the words of this one hit wonder, she tempts us with the lines “Give your body joy, Macarena. Because your body is meant to be given joy and good things, Give your body joy, Macarena.” Dare I say that Maryland is tempting us with joy? Should we believe the siren call of this team? I think this game proves that we can.
Next week Maryland faces a 1 –2 Kent State team at home, but do not let the record fool you or have you peaking past them for the date with Iowa the following week. Kent State’s loses this season are to #7 Texas A&M and #5 Iowa. Despite the final score of the Iowa game, Kent State held their own with the Hawkeyes for most of the game until they were eventually worn down into submission.
Luckily Maryland will be at home for the next two weeks as they try to extend their winning streak. Tualia has been a different quarterback at “The Shell” for whatever reason. Lesser opponents? More comfortable? We are not sure at this point, but his numbers are startling better when in College Park.
When the Golden Flashes come to the Shell, watch them run the ball. That is where they try to not only run on their opponents but run out the time of possession. In three games, they have a total of two touchdown passes on the season but eight on the ground. If you enjoyed the West Virginia game and the back and forth field position battle, I imagine this game will be similar.
Like most teams in the NCAA, I do not expect them to have the athletes to compete with the recievers that Maryland brings to the dance floor. However, if Maryland can’t find the big plays early and are forced into deal with down and distance plays, Kent State could control the clock in an ugly field position battle.
Ultimately, I do believe in this Maryland team. I do believe that this team is better than the teams that we have seen in the first two years of Coach Locksley’s tenure. I believe they have learned from their mistakes and this team passed their two tests against WVU and Illinois. I also believe that despite the win, Maryland players would admit that they did not play their best game and hope to take it out on their next opponents.
I also firmly believe the Terps will want to gain control of this game as early as possible to not only rest some of their star players, but put a frew wrinkles in the offense to give the Hawkeyets are few more hours of film to prepare for.
Just like the Macarena, Maryland goes through the motions, makes our bodies feel joy for a little bit, but ultimately we know the bigger prize is down the road.
Final prediction: Maryland 28 Kent State 10