First off, a before and after comparing Rutgers’ first 10 drives with its last three (which does include the game-ending kneeldown) against Maryland on Saturday:
Put another way, the Terrapins’ defense was actually extremely above average for much of the day, even if it came against a one-dimensional opponent.
“It’s very obvious we made a lot of progress,” defensive coordinator Don Brown said. “They had 155 yards with 57 snaps gone in the game. In the last six snaps, I’m very disappointed with the way we finished.”
Even if Brown’s numbers aren’t precise, his sentiment is correct. Maryland gave up more yards in the last seven minutes than it had in its first 53.
That’s hard to do unless you’re really good over a really long stretch —- or pretty bad over a fairly short stretch. The Terps were both.
Still, the Terps were on target to hold an opponent under 200 yards for the eighth time in Ralph Friedgen’s nine seasons until the closing minutes.
The other sub-200-yard games:
Eastern Michigan (2001), The Citadel and West Virginia (2003), Duke (2004), N.C. State (2005) and Villanova and Florida International (2007).
There are some really bad or undermanned teams, an opponent Maryland handed a crucial victory with turnovers (N.C. State) and a regional shellacking of a pretty good outfit (West Virginia) on that list. And Rutgers ‘09 almost joined it.
What stood out to Brown was the number of young players he’s plugged into significant roles.
But as he talked about Demetrius Hartsfield and Isaiah Ross and Zach Kerr and A.J. Francis and Cameron Chism and others, something else stood out: An embrace of youth.
Sure, those guys have made mistakes, but most of them played well Saturday. And Brown, who is about as results-oriented a guy as there is, probably sounded more upbeat about his players because of their age than anyone else on Maryland’s staff since camp began.
“There’s a lot of guys that I’m coaching right I’m going to be coaching hopefully three years from now if I don’t get fired,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the exciting thing. I’m coaching a lot of young players that are doing a good job.”
—- Patrick Stevens