The Washington Times - September 12, 2009, 07:22PM

There’s a half in the book in College Park, and Maryland predictably hasn’t pulled away.

Sure, Torrey Smith’s kickoff return was superb. And Chris Turner has mostly been crisp. And Da’Rel Scott has 46 yards.

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But the defense? It hasn’t exactly been very efficient.

James Madison is averaging a cool 7.8 yards a play. That isn’t California good, but it’s close enough – and it’s something that really shouldn’t be happening.

So is the problem schematic? Or just talent? Or just an overreaction based on six quarters, especially considering James Madison and coach Mickey Matthews are plenty familiar with Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown?

It’s too early to say. But it’s also too early to say Maryland has this one in the bag. Up only a touchdown with a shaky defense, a victory is far from secure with 30 minutes to play.

Patrick Stevens