Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason report: Maryland
By ESPN.com staff
Record: 4-1 (1-0 ACC)
It’s been a complete turnaround from a year ago for coach Ralph Friedgen, whose job was in question following a 2-10 finish in 2009. This year, a 4-1 start is as good as can be expected with the lone loss coming on the road to a ranked West Virginia team.
One of the biggest reasons for the improvement can be found in the turnover margin, where the Terps are fourth in the country. They’ve only lost the ball four times this season and have 12 takeaways.
Injuries to quarterbacks – including starter Jamarr Robinson -- have been an issue, but freshman Danny O’Brien has been a success as he has managed the offense without throwing any interceptions. The entire offense could use a boost, but stability and experience at quarterback will help that.
The defense has also shown improvement in the second season under coordinator Don Brown, holding opponents to just 18.4 points per game. Florida State and NC State have asserted themselves as the teams to beat in the Atlantic Division, but until proven otherwise, Maryland is a contender, too.
Offensive MVP, WR Torrey Smith: He leads the team in receptions (17) and receiving yards (405). His five touchdown receptions rank second in the ACC and matches his total from last season. With two touchdowns each against Morgan State and West Virginia, he became the first Terp to record consecutive multiple touchdown-reception games since Jermaine Lewis in 1993. He has touchdown receptions of 60, 68 and 80 yards, and is averaging 20.5 yards every time he touches the ball.
Defensive MVP, LB Alex Wujciak: He is 10th in the country with 11.4 tackles per game. He is on the watch list for five awards - Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Lott Trophy, Bednarik Award and Butkus Award. He set a new career high with 18 tackles in the season opener against Navy, but has expanded his game beyond the tackles stat. Over the past 10 games, he's also forced three fumbles and broken up a pair of passes.