In an effort that shocked many of the 50,000 red-shirted spectators on hand at Byrd Stadium, Ralph Friedgen's Terrapin squad (2-3, 1-0)was able to steer clear of a third straight loss and upset the heavily favored Clemson Tigers 24-21.
After consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State and Rutgers, fans and media critics alike began to grumble about the team's coaching staff. And while much of the criticism was directed towards new defensive coordinator Don Brown as well as towards the Terps' young offensive line, Friedgen certainly began to feel the heat once his team hit 1-3.
When asked about being on the proverbial 'hot seat' after the game Coach Fridge got a little testy, according to one of the school newspaper's beat writers.
“I don’t really care about what you say, about what you write. I’ve been at this 41 years, it comes with the territory, you know what I’m saying. But I like winning. I’ve won most of my career. …If they don’t want me here, I’ll go somewhere else.”
Whatever you say Ralph. You can feel free to credit your quarterback and defense with cooling down that chair.
Senior Chris Turner was 19-26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions. This is the sort of stat line that popped up maybe three or four times last season, especially in the wins over ranked opponents, and provides students and fans with a reason to look forward to the next few ACC games.
The Terrapin defense also seemed far more at-ease with the new 4-3 scheme. Blitzes were controlled and holes were few and far between. Don Brown was able to X and O Clemson's All-ACC Heisman candidate running back CJ Spiller to just 72 yards on the ground and the entire Tiger team to 83 on 2.8 yards per carry.
And for once the Terps were able to win the turnover battle.
The victory, of course, was not an easy one. In fact it took a few mishaps on the part of Clemson kicker Richard Jackson, who is heralded for his cannon of a leg. He missed two potential game-tying field goals in the fourth-quarter as Maryland's offense seemingly stalled out.
Upcoming games at Wake Forest and at home against Virginia should give College Park a better glance at its team's true colors, but for the time being students can wear their school's colors without shame and Ralph Friedgen and Don Brown can both sleep a little better for the next few days.