On paper, the planets had aligned last night for a Maryland loss. They’re bad on the road, they’re bad at night, they’re REALLY bad against Virginia Tech, they’re bad when they’re not in a “must win” situation, and they’re bad whenever they’re favored in some way (Terps were nationally ranked, Hokies were not). So when that happens, there’s one of two things a team can do: they figure they have nothing to lose and take a swing-away approach, or the intensity goes down a notch and they come out flaccid. Obviously the latter happened, as unknown freshman Darren Evans set a Va. Tech single-game rushing record in a 23-13 Hokie victory.
Va. Tech played well and showed a lot of heart, but let’s not confuse them with USC. I have a wallet here that says we don’t hear squat from Evans for the rest of the season. Their QB, Glennon, was playing on one foot. They were so desperate for offense that a cornerback, Macho Harris, got like 10 touches, a few of which came on gimmicky plays like a fake reverse. Va. Tech was vulnerable.
A few bright spots for Maryland: freshman wideout Torrey Smith quietly had a terrific game, getting 62 receiving yards, 101 return yards, and blocking a punt. Darrius Heyward-Bey had the play of the game for either team when he caught a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage, then turned on his jetpack and basically ran past the entire defense for a 63-yard touchdown. (DHB reminds me of Shawne Merriman from a few years ago…he’s going to be nice in the NFL, and everyone’s going to wonder why Maryland wasn’t better while he was there.)
And, ehhhh, that’s about it. The D-line was acting like someone had walked in on them in an outhouse. The linebackers seemed determine to play the entire game without using their arms in any way. It was like they had a bet going. Chris Turner, as is his wont sometimes, just didn’t seem into it.
“The future is still bright,” said Turner after the game. “We still control our own destiny.”
Well, yeah. But does that mean you should come into Lane Stadium half asleep? This team seemed to collectively decide that things didn’t look favorable, and they didn’t desperately need the game anyway, so why try? Why bother with “competing”? We’ll see if they can regain their intensity against UNC and FSU, but for now, just another interesting piece of emotional insight into a team that could probably use a few sessions on the therapy couch.