The Washington Times - September 8, 2008, 02:47PM

Remember that cause-and-effect discussion from yesterday?

A trip through the stats has revealed two big causes. And while I’m still working on the big weekly file, two numbers really jump out.

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First, Chris Turner was 3-for-12 for 102 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions on first down. Yikes. Turner was the first to admit he could have played better, so there’s no need to pile on much beyond that. But he was awful on first down, and unsurprisingly, the Terps found themselves in second-and-long on 12 of 18 occasions.

Second, Middle Tennessee converted all six of its third-and-short attempts. In two games, opponents are 10-for-12 on third down from three yards or less. Granted, those aren’t the easiest of situations, and Maryland is 2-for-19 on all other third down scenarios.

But it’s a problem that’s twofold. One, opponents are creating plenty of third-and-shorts. Two, Maryland is struggling badly to stop them from extending possessions.

More coming in a bit, but suffice to say first-down passing and third-down defense are two obvious spots to work on this week.

Patrick Stevens