The Washington Times - September 23, 2007, 01:03AM

\ Both coach Ralph Friedgen and quarterback Jordan Steffy are being roasted on message boards, and panicky fans seem ready to jump off a ledge, as usual.\


\ I will say this: It’s a heck of a lot more warranted when complaining about losing a game to a similar-caliber opponent when things were one play from being sewn up before the fourth quarter even began than getting worn down by a superior, top-five team like West Virginia.\

\ Sitting just below the Maryland coaches’ box was an educational experience to say the least. There was a lot of yelling \0x2014 more at some times than others, and never any louder than when Steffy inexplicably slid in the middle of the field on Maryland’s last regulation possession. \

\ Without getting into any explicit details, quarterbacks coach John Donovan was greatly displeased at the development. Probably moreso than the ranters on the Internet. Steffy said he didn’t want to commit a turnover, but I’m not so sure he knew what the heck he was doing. In many ways, that play was a worse reflection on the Terps’ offense than the interception brought back for a touchdown.\

\ Here’s some amazing figures before I try to get some rest:\

\ * Darrius Heyward-Bey was thrown to twice the entire game, and not once in the final 51 minutes. He did, however, have a 54-yard reverse play that set up Steffy’s ill-fated interception that changed the game altogether.\

\ * Maryland was 6-for-17 on third down, but broken down further, the Terps were 0-for-8 with three sacks and three scrambles or draws on third-and-10-plus. \

\ * One decided tendency for the Terps this season — looks in the passing game for Dan Gronkowski in the red zone. The tight end has been thrown to three times while Maryland was inside the 20, or as much as everyone else on the roster combined.\

\ * I cannot remember a meltdown quite like this at Maryland. There have been devastating losses — the 1999 season finale to Virginia springs to mind — but this one ranks right up there. Certainly, I can’t think of a lead squandered so painfully. At least in the ‘99 game, Virginia managed to match LaMont Jordan tit for tat for much of the afternoon. Wake Forest was all but buried until Alphonso Smith\0x2019s INT return.\

\ * Maryland had 57 runs to 20 passes, or 74.0 percent runs. That’s the third-heaviest run reliance in Friedgen\0x2019s six-plus seasons. Granted, the six sacks count as runs, but even if they’re considered passes, runs outnumber passes at nearly 2-to-1.\

\ * In the fourth quarter and overtime, Maryland had 18 runs and two passes. Again, there were the two sacks in at the end of OT, but that was an ultraconservative finish.\

\ * Maryland has lost the last three times it has forced at least four turnovers (Virginia Tech and Boston College in 2005, and now Wake Forest this year).\

\ * The Terps took 19 sacks all of last year. Steffy’s been sacked 15 times in three games, and has been vetted so many times in the last week, not nearly all of it is on the offensive line.\

\ * Once again, in the final quarter and OT, Maryland ran 18 plays for 1 yard.\

\ — Patrick Stevens