Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rutgers Looking Into Mirror of Sorts vs Maryland

In spite of having to replace 12 starters entering training camp, the Maryland Terrapins had aspirations of competing for the ACC Championship entering the season. However, the Terps have disappointed fans, following a very similar path to Rutgers thus far as seen in their opening season 52-13 blow out on the road at Cal, a game in which Maryland’s defense gave up 542 yards of total offense (Sound familiar). The following week, the Terps barely pulled out a win against FCS Top 5 James Madison winning 38-35 in OT but couldn’t repeat last week in its 32-31 home loss to Middle Tennessee State. Much like Coach Schiano, Coach Ralph Friedgen finds himself scratching his head entering this week’s match up against its first BCS opponent since the opening week. And like Schiano, Friedgen has been plagued by uninspiring play at the QB position and is looking for life signs from a defense that was victimized for 137 yards and 2 TD’s on just 10 carries from Javid Best in the opener.

The similarities end there however as Maryland’s running game, led by Junior Da’Rel Scott has been one of the few bright spots for the Terrapins this year along with better then expected play from an o-line that replaced three starters entering the year. As a sophomore, Scott out of Plymouth-Whitemarsh HS in Conshohocken, PA, earned 1st team All ACC honors rushing 1,133 yards and averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Scoring TD’s in each of his first three games, the highly versatile Scott has maintained form rushing for 275 yards on 43 carries for 6.4 yards per carry and has made his presence felt in the receiving game along with star sophomore receiver Torrey Smith (14 catches for an incendiary 274 yards thus far) where he has caught 5 passes for 42 yards through the first three contests.

While Scott will surely offer the biggest rushing challenge to date for the Scarlet Knights defense, a unit that is ranked 106 nationally in total defense through the first three weeks, a shut down of the Terps running game is not out of the question following the solid performance vs FIU and would certainly be another step in the right direction for a defense who entered training camp as one of the top returning units in the Big East.


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