The good and the bad from the Terps' loss to West Virginia

September 14, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

Maryland fell to West Virginia, 40-37, at Byrd Stadium on Saturday. Here is what went well and what didn’t from a Terps perspective.

THE GOOD

The big plays on offense

Quarterback C.J. Brown missed an opportunity for a long touchdown during the first quarter, misfiring on a pass down the left sideline despite wide receiver Malcolm Culmer being wide open. However, Brown had a 77-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs that cut West Virginia’s lead to 28-13 during the second quarter and trimmed the Mountaineers’ lead to 28-27 with a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage during the second half.

Maryland also got a 26-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe, who came in briefly during the second quarter after Brown took a hit to the head.

In all, the Terps had nine plays that went for gains of 15 yards or more, including four that went for gains of 26 yards or more.

There could have been other big plays if not for off-target throws by Brown, and Maryland’s offense failed to produce a first down or a touchdown during the fourth quarter. But Brown and the offense did do some good things and showed the type of explosive potential it has.

Cornerback Will Likely

Likely was one of the few noticeable bright spots for Maryland defensively.

Likely had a forced fumble that helped prevent West Virginia from extending its lead to 14-0 midway through the first quarter and had an interception during the second quarter that stopped another Mountaineers drive that had stretched into Terps territory.

Likely also continues to be a factor as a punt returner and had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown that tied the game at 37 with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter. He is averaging 27.5 yards per punt return, the third-highest average in the country.

The kicking game

Kicker Brad Craddock connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, including one from 46 yards. Punter Nate Renfro, meanwhile, had probably his best showing of the season.

Renfro has been inconsistent, but he averaged 47.9 yards per punt and had three of his seven punts downed inside West Virginia’s 20-yard line, including a 64-yard kick late in the fourth quarter that was downed at the Mountaineers’ 5-yard line.

Recording double-digit tackles for a loss

Maryland gave up 511 passing yards. However, the Terps did limit West Virginia’s running game to an average of just 3.1 yards per carry and finished with 10 tackles for a loss, including three sacks.

Senior defensive lineman Andre Monroe had nine tackles, including 1 1/2 for a loss and a sack, and sophomore outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue recorded three tackles for a loss for the second straight game.

Saturday was not a good day overall for the Terps’ pass defense. However, the front seven did do some things well.

The resiliency

The Terps did a lot wrong that resulted in them being down 22 points early and eventually losing the game.

However, Maryland did battle back after falling behind, 28-6, during the second quarter and then again early in the fourth quarter after the Mountaineers’ pushed their lead back to 10 points.

THE BAD

The pass defense

You can’t give up 511 yards and four touchdowns. West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett made some great throws, and the Mountaineers’ wide receivers made some great catches. But Terps defensive backs were beaten on multiple 50-50 balls, and there were numerous missed tackles by Maryland linebackers and defensive backs, as well as issues getting off blocks that contributed to West Virginia players turning short passes into big gains.

C.J. Brown as a passer

Brown ran for 161 yards and a touchdown, and he did complete four passes that went for gains of 15 yards or longer, including the 77-yard touchdown pass to Diggs. However, Brown had an interception, had at least two other throws that probably should have been intercepted and was also off-target on multiple throws that could have produced nice-sized gains, including the early one to Culmer that should have gone for a 52-yard touchdown.

Finishing just 4 of 15 on third down

Maryland’s offense converted four of the first five third downs it was faced with, then failed to convert the final 10. The Terps were 0 of 7 on third downs during the second half, including 0 of 4 in the fourth quarter.

Maryland had a third-and-1 on its last drive, but fullback Kenny Goins was stopped for a 5-yard loss. That led to West Virginia getting the ball back for a drive that ended with the Mountaineers’ game-winning field goal.

Injuries

The Terps began the game without outside linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (foot) and inside L.A. Goree (back). They then lost three linebackers during the game — outside linebacker Matt Robinson, outside linebacker Avery Thompson and linebacker Jalen Brooks.

Brooks returned. But Robinson did not, and Thompson left again after re-entering.

mzenitz@tribune.com

twitter.com/mzenitz

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.