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Monday, December 15, 2008
Maryland season review

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Terps were a microcosm of the entire league -- impossible to predict. A surprising loss at Middle Tennessee on Sept. 6 was followed one week later with an upset of No. 23-ranked Cal. Maryland finished with a 4-1 record against ranked opponents, and was 3-4 against unranked teams. Only Florida and Oklahoma had more wins (five) against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

When it mattered most, though, Maryland came up short. For the second time under coach Ralph Friedgen, Maryland had the chance to win the Atlantic Division and let it slip away. The embarrassing 37-3 loss to Florida State at home sealed the Terps' fate, and the season finale at Boston College meant little more than an audition for a better bowl game. They missed out on that, too, and in a matter of two weeks went from contending for the ACC title to being Boise-bound. Maryland lost three of its final four games and was held to negative yards rushing in two of those losses.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback Chris Turner. He is 5-1 as a starter against ranked opponents, the lone loss coming in the regular season finale at Boston College. Turner entered that game not having thrown an interception against a ranked team in 185 pass attempts. Turner threw a career-high 11 touchdown passes this season.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Moise Fokou. He posted a team-high five sacks this season, which is tied for third in the ACC among linebackers, and the most by a Maryland linebacker since Shawne Merriman had 8.5 in 2004. He is the only player in the ACC with at least 70 tackles and five sacks. He also leads the Terps with 11 tackles for loss this season.

Turning point: Florida State's fumble return for a touchdown with 9:19 left in the second quarter put the Seminoles ahead 14-0 and Maryland's chances at clinching the Atlantic Division significantly diminished. The Terps fell behind 24-0 in that game, and any chance of a comeback ended when Da'Rel Scott lost his second fumble with 13:19 left.

What's next: The Terps will face an explosive Nevada offense in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, and they will be without former defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, who took a job at Kansas State, and special teams coordinator Danny Pearman, who was hired at Clemson. Al Seamonson will serve as interim defensive coordinator and Brian White, an intern and former graduate assistant, will take over tight ends and help with special teams.