A dazzling defense

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Quick question – how many shutouts has Maryland authored under defensive coordinator Chris Cosh and, before him, Gary Blackney?

The correct answers are two for Cosh and one for Blackney, which is not the most telling number but still an interesting one.

Here’s what’s more fascinating: I was really struggling yesterday to come up with a list of ACC games during which a Maryland opponent was held to fewer than 219 yards total offense. That was what Wake Forest managed yesterday.

This, of course, calls for a run through the records. And so I came up with a list of Maryland’s 10 best defensive performance in conference games under coach Ralph Friedgen.

Clearly, my memory isn’t that great, since yesterday ranked No. 5 on that list (and I actually covered one of the four games above yesterday’s on the list. Here’s the rundown (remember, conference games only):

185: at Duke, 2004 (W, 55-21)
186: at N.C. State, 2005 (L, 20-14)
206: at Clemson, 2004 (L, 10-7)
211: at Clemson, 2002 (W, 30-12)
219: No. 21 Wake Forest, 2008 (W, 26-0)
228: at Georgia Tech, 2003 (L, 7-3)
244: at Wake Forest, 2005 (W, 22-12)
250: at N.C. State, 2007 (W, 37-0)
259: at North Carolina, 2007 (L, 16-13)
272: Wake Forest, 2004 (W, 13-7)

Two things stand out to me, the first surprising and the second much less so.

One, the absurd number of road games on that list, which could be partially because of blowouts that led to opponents passing for big yardage late against the Terps.

Two, the general mediocrity of the opponents on the list. Six of the nine teams prior to this year didn’t play in bowl games. The others were 2002 Clemson (7-6, lost Tangerine Bowl), 2003 Georgia Tech (7-6, won Humanitarian Bowl) and 2005 N.C. State (7-5, won Meineke Car Care Bowl).

One more note on those opponents: The only team other than ‘08 Wake Forest to be ranked at any point in their respective season was 2004 Clemson, which started off at No. 15 but endured a 1-4 start.

Patrick Stevens

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