It was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Clemson seemed to move the ball at will. As predicted, CJ Spiller showed-up to play and was running all over Maryland’s defense. Despite getting two turnovers which resulted in great field position, the offense stalled due to penalties and the Terps could not get the ball into the endzone. Maryland trailed 17-6 at halftime. In the locker room, coach Ralph Friedgen told his team, “We’re going to find out what kind of team we are in the second half.” The second half revealed the Terps to be winners.
The Terps were trailing 17-6 with nine minutes left in the third quarter when Darrius Heyward-Bey broke a 75-yard run on a reverse. Heyward-Bey showed his world class sprinting speed by blowing past the Clemson secondary. That led to a 6-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith, and gave the Terps momentum. They never gave it back.
Chris Turner showed that he could put the ball in tight spots and third-and-longs. On a day where the running game never got going, the Terps put the game in Turner’s hands and he responded with consistency. Turner hit six different receivers, including four completions to red shirt freshman Ronnie Tyler. Tyler showed sure hands in crucial spots. Look for him to become a bigger part of this offense as the season progresses.
In the end, the credit for this win goes to Maryland’s defense. The two first half turnovers kept Clemson from running away with it early. Alex Wujciak had sixteen tackles and led a second half defensive attack that held the Tigers scoreless. In the second half, the D did a great job of containing Clemson’s speedy running backs and keeping them inside the tackles. It seemed that every time Clemson completed a pass there was a Maryland defender right there to put a hit on and limit the damage. The effort culminated in a crucial fourth quarter, fourth down stop that all but iced the game for the Terps.
This is a great start to ACC play. Clemson is in the Atlantic Conference with the Terps, and this win puts the Terps on the right track to getting Tampa. Coming into the game the Terps had received eight votes in the USA Today poll. After two wins against top-25 teams, is it premature to say this team should be ranked? Fresno State is ranked and they haven’t beaten anyone good. Am I getting carried away? Maybe, but I don’t care after a solid road win like this one.