A lot will be made of Maryland‘s inability to score more than 14 points in its opener.
As well it should be.
But in fairness, the defense looked as good as it has in an opener in a long time.
The Blue Hens’ seven points were the fewest allowed by Maryland in its first game since 2001. On that day, Fast Willie Parker ran and ran and ran on the opening play, and the Terps shut down North Carolina for the final 59 minutes.
The last shutout was an ever-forgettable 6-0 triumph at Temple in 1999.
But anyway, the Terps allowed all a total of three plays of more than 11 yards. Two of them came on Delaware’s lone touchdown drive —- in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“That was a shame there, it really was,” defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre said. “For three quarters we did our job up front. To relax for one drive like that, we can’t do that. But we rebounded right away.”
The Terps weren’t especially overwhelming at anything. But they were above average defensively at just about everything, which has to rate as the most encouraging thing of the day for the program.
When you hold an opponent to 249 yards, you shouldn’t be holding on for dear life in the final minutes. And, of course, it was the defense that clinched the win with a Terrell Skinner interception with 3:20 remaining.
So, yes, the offense provided reason to pause. A lot of it. But the Terps’ defense wasn’t shabby.
For starters, anyway.
—- Patrick Stevens