Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 10/14/12
Maryland finally took home the victory in the Border War, and of course, they did so on the road.Stefon Diggs was electric. The defense, impressive all game, helped close out the win yet again. Perry Hills is improving every single game.

And the Terps are now 4-2 and in line for a bowl game with one more win.

Three Up

The Terps are (almost) bowl-eligible: After two wins in all of 2011, Randy Edsall has turned the Terps into a team on the brink of bowl-game eligibility.

An entire recruiting class worth of players transferred out of Maryland, including former ACC Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien, leaving the team in shambles. And many questioned what was going on in College Park.

Months removed from the chaos, the Terps have four wins, two of which come against ACC foes. There are still winnable games ahead on the schedule, and the way the offense is improving and the defensive has played, a bowl game seems (cross your fingers,) inevitable.

I Have A Serious Case of Freshman Fever: Stefon Diggs has been a superstar before he even took the field in the season opener. But seriously, he's lived up to the billing from, from his announcement to stay home at Looney's Pub til his kickoff return for a TD yesterday v. Virginia.

Diggs has been the team's catalyst. His ability to make plays on special teams as a returner and on offense is uncanny — a rare combination of skills the Terps have not had. It's not like Tony Logan as a punt returner and Torrey Smith as a wide receiver — Diggs does it ALL.

Diggs compiled 239 total yards yesterday. Breath-taking, to say the least.

Brian Stewart's Defense: The transformation into a 3-4 defense has been an exceptional move for the Terps' D.

Maryland ranks 9th in the nation in total defense allowing fewer than 280 yards per game, ahead of college football powers like Notre Dame and South Carolina. 

Against the Cavaliers, Anthony Nixon, who was filling in for the injured Matt Robinson, picked off Phillip Sims. The Terps sacked Cavs QBs five times, including two apiece from Darin Drakeford and Joe Vellano.

Overall, Maryland's D totaled 10 tackles for loss.

In the red zone, the D locked it down. Virginia was held to field goals on 2 of their 4 trips to the red zone. 

 

Three Down

Can the momentum last? Four wins and 2-0 against the ACC is not something prognosticators could have foreseen around — let's say, March.

But the majority of Maryland's wins, especially in the conference, have come against the bottom half of the competition.

Whether 4 or 5 wins come against BCS-level squads or FCS schools, the wins count toward bowl eligibility. But the 2-0 in the ACC stat has to be put in perspective.

Wake Forest and Virginia are a combined 5-8 and 1-4 in ACC play. Yikes.

N.C. State is a different kind of animal. At 4-2 and 1-1 in the ACC, the Wolfpack are two weeks removed from upsetting then the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles. 

And who can forget the collapse last year in Raleigh? 

The game v. N.C. State will be a tremendous determinant of just how the team will fare against the rest of their ACC slate. After the Wolfpack, the Terps travel to Boston College, Clemson and North Carolina — no easy feats — and host Florida State and Georgia Tech.

Four Running Backs, -2 Yards? Randy Edall still chooses to list four RBs atop the depth chart, so how can he explain why the Terps totaled all of -2 yards against the Cavaliers' suspect defense?

Maryland's offense produced 20 points, but only 10 first downs. When there's a freshman QB under center, a strong running game is a much-needed support system. 

Hills led the way with 19 rushing yards — and that's just patheitc.

Justus Pickett and Albert Reid combined for 1 net yard. What the …?

Whether it's offensive line in need of more shake-ups, or none of the RBs are capable of gaining positive yardage, negative yardage is unheard of and absolutely imperssable. 

Third Downs a thorn in the side: The running game — or lack thereof — is largely the reason why Maryland's offense went 2-for-13 on third downs yesterday.

When your team is averaging a loss whenever they carry the rock, it's hard to find manageable third-down situations, especially with a rookie under center.

It doesn't make sense for me to get into another spiel about the running game, but putting Hills in manageable situations and positions NOT to turn over the ball (on third-and-longs where defenses can pry on him) is important to his continued growth and success.

With no running game, it's hard to expect Hills to be a game manager. There, you're forcing him to be a playmaker — an E.J. Manuel or a Geno Smith, and with six games started at the college level, he's simply not prepared for that heavy of a burden.



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