The Washington Times - October 14, 2009, 01:28PM

To the best of my recollection, Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown has made some mention of third-down conversions every week this season.

For the most part, it’s actually been pretty good for the Terps.


In Saturday’s ugly first half, it was very, very bad for the Maryland defense.

“They were six of seven on third down in the first half,” Brown said. “We were 33 percent since week one in third down conversions. That’s what it came down to. Then in the second half, they’re three of nine, counting the fourth down stop.”

So let’s take a look at opponents’ third- and fourth-down conversion rate against Maryland, based on yardage required for a fresh set of downs.

Game 1-3 4-6 7+ Total
@California 5/5 2/4 1/6 8/15
James Madison
2/3 0/6 3/8 5/17
Middle Tennessee   
2/7 1/5 1/5 4/17
Rutgers 1/6 2/2 2/8 5/16
Clemson 2/2 0/4 2/10 4/16
@Wake Forest
3/4 0/2 6/10 9/16
Total 15/27

Brown might as well have made the split at the end of the third quarter. Wake was still 8-for-10 at that stage, then went 1-for-6 in the final 15 minutes.

Anyway, he wasn’t kidding about the third down problems. Against Clemson, the Terps held the Tigers to 2-for-6 in short- and medium-range third-down situations. Wake was similar —- 3-for-6.

But longer third downs? Not so much.

“That’s really what it comes down to,” Brown said. “That football game came down to us getting hurt on third down. I’m not talking third-and-one. I’m talking third-and-seven-plus. If you ask me if you could have anything back, obviously the third-down scenario. That’s the one.”

—- Patrick Stevens