The Washington Times - September 7, 2008, 02:17PM

Just starting some chart work from last night’s game. Wanted to post one right as I was doing it.

And that would be “explosive plays” – a term by Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin’s definition is any play of 16 yards or more.

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So who had more last night, Maryland or Middle Tennessee. Well, let’s tally them up:

Middle Tennessee

Craddock-Cannon 30 pass in blown coverage
DeFatta-Ingle 28 pass on fake punt
Beyah 16 run
Craddock-Beyah 16 pass
Craddock-Beyah 53 touchdown pass (a missed tackle in there)

Maryland

Scott 63 touchdown run
Portis 16 run
Scott 24 run
Turner-Tyler 20 pass
Turner-Heyward-Bey 80 touchdown pass
Turner-Gronkowski 20 pass
Turner-Oquendo 16 pass
Turner-Watson 29 pass

That’s right, Maryland had eight “explosive” plays to Middle Tennessee’s five, and the Blue Raiders needed the Terps’ aid to get even that many.

But guess what happens when the Terps take those slivers of hope out of the equation? Hint: It isn’t pretty.

In Maryland’s 46 other plays, it gained 89 yards. That’s 1.9 yards a play.

Take the five big gains away from Middle Tennessee, and it had 259 yards in 77 plays, or 3.4 yards a play.

So on average, Middle Tennessee was making suitable progress toward first downs each play. On average, Maryland was making suitable progress toward a punt.

A big play here and there dazzles, and last night it produced 14 points as well. But against better teams, those big plays won’t come as easily – and that won’t bode well for the scoreboard so long as Maryland can’t actually sustain any drives in the weeks to come.

Patrick Stevens