September 12, 2009
Last week couldn't have been a worse opening week for the ACC. While Virginia Tech more than held their own before falling to Alabama, there was not one marquee win for the conference.
In fact, the ACC had just one victory against an FBS school (Clemson defeated Middle Tennessee State at home). To add insult to injury, not one but two teams fell to FCS schools, at home!
Both victories came from the CAA as Richmond defeated Duke while William & Mary stunned Virginia. Then again, it's rather hard to win in Charlottesville when the home team is turning the ball over seven times.
As for the Terps, things unraveled rather quickly during their blowout loss to Cal. In fact, it was the school's worst opening result when Maryland was defeated by football powerhouse St. John's of Annapolis, 50-0, back in 1892.
Maryland (0-1, 0-0 ACC) should find solace in the fact that they'll be playing in Byrd Stadium for their home opener, but as we've quickly learned, they should not underestimate their opponent in James Madison, another team hailing from the suddenly upset-driven CAA.
Fortunately for Maryland, the Dukes lost a dangerous weapon in former quarterback Rodney Landers, who led the team in rushing.
JMU will instead have to play two new quarterbacks to fill the void Landers left, but seeing that this is their first game of the season, they might have some difficulties adjusting the offense against a team hungry for redemption.
The Terps offensive live, as young and thin as it is already, lost mammoth left tackle Bruce Campbell to turf toe last week and will obviously have to improve their blocking capabilities after a disappointing effort last week.
On the flip side, Cal had one of the best defensive fronts the Terrapins will face all year, but quarterback Chris Turner will be unable to get the offense going if the line lets Turner repeatedly get sacked a la last week, six times to be precise.
Maryland also starts a four-game homestand this Saturday, three of which are against non-conference opponents before kicking off ACC action against Clemson in the beginning of October.
Head coach Ralph Friedgen is optimistic that his young team will be able to mature and develop during this time and that the Cal game will be thing of the past. One can only help after that waxing.
Maryland 26-10. The Terps have a reputation of playing down to their opponent's level, so expect this game to be a close one. Then again, they probably want to rid themselves of the bad taste the Golden Bears left in their mouths.
Maybe that means we'll see Don Brown's aggressive defense finally display itself, as it was mostly nonexistent in Memorial Stadium.
JMU is currently ranked sixth in the FCS, and as we've already learned with Duke and UVA, upsets are certainly possible. The Terps should be victorious here, but with such an inexperienced offensive line, it will most likely be a low-scoring affair.
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