I have a lot to cover since I have taken the last couple weeks off. First the Terps have been able to secure two very big wins coming off an embarrassing loss to UVA. The win two weeks ago over Wake Forest was impressive because the Terps played a complete game.
Their Offense was able to put points on the board and their Defense managed to shut out Wake Forest, who has given them a lot of problems in recent years. To be fair to Wake Forest, their Offense did put them in position to score a couple of times; but with their All-American kicker Sam Swank out of the game they had trouble cashing in on field goal attempts. This win allowed the Terps to stay in control of their own destiny.
The win over N.C. State was impressive because it proved the Terps could beat inferior opponents. N.C. State came into the game without an ACC win but had played many teams very close and were a dangerous opponent. The weather conditions in this game were incredible. I don’t think I have ever seen so much water fall from the sky during a sporting event. The weather made it the perfect game for Da’rel Scott to return to form after his shoulder injury. Scott carried the Terps to victory with 163 yards rushing. That was almost not enough. When Scott went down at the beginning of the last drive and re-injured his shoulder, the crowd became very nervous. Freshman Davin Meggett stepped into the role with a couple big runs and one huge catch on a screen pass.
The truth is that this game never should have been this close. The officiating in this game may have been the worst I have ever seen in key moments. First the Wolfpack muffed a punt and fell on it at the goal line. The ball appeared to cross the goal line before the Wolfpack player gained possession. The crowd started to chant for a replay and then the officials announced that there had been a personal foul on the play and that Maryland would get a first down. A flag was never thrown on the play and they never said what the personal foul was. Then on the ensuing possession Da’Rel Scott scored on a TD run, but there was a holding call. My complaint is not with the call, because there was a hold, but with the fact that the flag was not thrown until the entire team was in the end zone celebrating. Then on the game winning drive the Terps were called for two more holding calls. In football you can probably call a holding on every play if you want to, but the officials in this game had only called one in the first three quarters. I believe that as an official you cannot change the way you are calling a game in the fourth quarter. Then the final blown call was on a Heyward Bey touchdown. Heyward Bey appeared to come down with the ball in the endzone and was lying on his back with the ball when the defender knocked it out. The pass was ruled incomplete by the official on the field and then replayed and still called incomplete. I can assume that the reason it was ruled incomplete is that they don’t think that Heyward Bey maintained possession through the catch. In the end zone, all the WR needs to do is touch the ground with possession of the ball. That looked like it was clearly the case, as the ball sat on his stomach. Luckily the Terps were able to score anyway and move on with the win.
Now the Terps are still in control of the rest of their season, but they have a very tough road. Next up is a huge game at Virginia Tech next Thursday. The Terps have been embarrassed the last few times out against VaTech and playing in that stadium might be the toughest place to play in the country. The good news for the Terps is that Tech may be playing with out their top two quarterbacks. Both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon left the game against FSU with injuries. Tyrod Taylor is the biggest threat for the Terps because he is a mobile quarterback much like N.C. State’s Russell Wilson, who gave the Terps a lot of trouble.
I am not going to go into much depth with the NFL this week. I just wanted to hit a couple of key things.
First if Joe Flacco could have kept his legs under him he would have caught, passed, and ran for a TD in the same game. He just was running too fast for his feet. Still, he played a great game and gave Raven’s fans something to look forward to.
Second, the Steelers finally found an injury that they could not overcome. The Steelers managed to start 5-1 despite the fact that they have lost a punter, an O-lineman, and a 1st round draft pick running back for the season. They have also lost a DE, a corner, a DT, another O-lineman and a star RB for multiple games. The Steelers overcame all of those things to keep winning. The one injury they couldn’t overcome was to their long snapper. Because of the injury the Steelers chose not to attempt a 49-yard field goal that would have put them up 17-9. Then, later in the 4th quarter Pro-bowl linebacker James Harrison airmailed a long snap over the punters head for a game-tying safety. The Giants scored on the following possession to win the game with a short field. Football is a complete game, and the coaches don’t lie when they say every man counts.
Finally we are getting to the part of the season where those severely underachieving teams such as the Chargers and Colts are in real trouble. The Chargers still have a chance because they are only one win behind the Broncos and they have another game against the Broncos. The Colts, on the other hand, might be done. They are 4 wins behind the Titans with only 9 games to go. The Colts are also in a three-way tie for last place in their division. Peyton Manning must get on a very hot streak right now or the Colts are done.
I personally can’t wait to see how the rest of this crazy season works out.