Let me say first off that this was a great football game to watch if you are a fan of rivalry games.
Very tough play with each team grinding on the ground to gain their yards; an old-school
gridiron game. Sure each side had mistakes in the game, but each school played a good game
For Maryland, they start their season off strong after winning just two games last season.
Getting a win over a near-touchdown favorite in Navy on neutral ground is a good way to start
your non-conference schedule, and now the Terps stand a good chance to go 3-1 before heading
into ACC play.
For Navy, they played a very good game, and with a few adjustments can be competitive in
their season. As long as they can fix their red zone issues, the Midshipmen should not have any
difficulty getting to the Poinsettia Bowl, their designated bowl if they are eligible.
For this post, I will focus more on Maryland and what I observed based on this game.
On the Offensive End:
–Considering that the Terps were running early and nearly on every play, getting 7.7 yards per
carry is solid. It had been suggested earlier that Jamarr Robinson fits in James Franklin’s system
much better than Chris Turner, and on the ground it is easy to see why. Robinson ran very well,
very good considering that Navy was easily holding the passing game, and Davin Meggett and
Da’Rel Scott looked like a good tandem again.
–The lack of a passing game is concerning, but for this game it was acceptable. In order for a
running game to be successful, having a good passing attack is good, but it can still work if the
defense is still worried about it. I’m not even concerned about Robinson’s passing performance,
other than the questionable pass into coverage in the second quarter he did not make a costly
decision and helped keep Maryland going on the ground. Still, Maryland needs to get Torrey
Smith the ball more often; he is probably the best player the Terps have on the offense and
Maryland needs to get him some space in the open field. He only had two short catches and a
meaningless end around.
–The gameplan for James Franklin was fine in the first quarter, but after that there had to be
some people scratching heads. For example, why would Danny O’Brien go in for Robinson for
his first play in the red zone off a turnover? I understand if Franklin feels O’Brien is the better
passer, but it was not the time to change a quarterback. Plus, if O’Brien is having a problem
dealing with a simple handoff, then certainly it was not the time to see him. Second, after Scott
was great on the first drive with five solid runs, why did he only get the ball five more carries
after that? For now, Maryland got away with the gameplan, and next game against Morgan
State, Franklin can find out more of what he has to work with.
On the Defensive End:
–I am going to cut Don Brown some slack in this game, because it is hard to prepare against the
triple option. Maryland has not seen it since 2005 and only two teams, Nayv and Georgia Tech,
use it. Plus, as the game went on, Maryland was catching on to certain routes the Midshipmen
were relying on, especially on Ricky Dobbs’s runs, and the offsides calls were decreasing as the
game went on. And just because Navy made mistakes on the final drive should not take away
from the Terps, penalties by the other team are part of football. Maryland stood strong in the end
zone, and made plays when they counted just in time.
–The defensive line needs work, badly. Yes they were good on a shortened field in the red zone,
but they could not get penetration in the open field against Navy’s line. Maryland normally had
four linebackers and four secondary players to deal with the running threats, but too many plays
were made by Vince Murray running up the gut, including the 27-yard gain to convert the 3rd and
17. If they are playing this way against undersized players, trouble awaits in the future.
–I would argue Kenny Tate is the most important player on Maryland’s defense. Alex Wujciak
is the leader in the linebacker core, but with such an inexperienced secondary, Tate will need to
make big plays to prevent problems down field. It was Tate who forced the fumble on Dobbs
on the first second half drive on the one-yard-line and also the one who helped stop Dobbs from
entering the end zone on the crucial play. Very good from the former wide receiver now free
On Other Things with the Game:
–The “Crab Bowl” needs to continue as a game every year. Maryland and Navy are the only
two FBS schools in the state, and both times they have played in the last 65 years they have been
great games with huge crowds. Plus, it is helpful for both to play a game in the Baltimore-area.
–The loss of Nick Ferrera is going to hurt Maryland very badly. Travis Baltz is decent, but
cannot be relied upon to kick a long field goal, barely scoring a 24-yard one in the game. Ferrera
was a strong kicker and was solid on field goals and kickoffs last season, and Maryland will need
him to come back.
–Ken Niumatalolo said after the game that he should have chosen to kick the field goal on the
4th-and-1. If I were in his shoes, I would have gone for it. You never know what can happen in
overtime, and do you want to rely on a kicker who missed a short field goal earlier? You have
a chance to win now and only a yard to go with a good running team, I think his first call was
–The fact is, Maryland was dominated on the ground all game and Navy in many ways looked
like the stronger team. But the triple option is weaker on a shortened field, and Maryland played
their strongest in the red zone defense. Overall, a well fought victory by the Terps.