Here are three keys for the Terps against East Carolina in the Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman:
1. Stay together. Maryland has more talent than East Carolina, but it will lose if it lets the coaching situation become a distraction. This is the most important intangible, and a challenging one for those within the program right now. It’s Ralph Freidgen’s final game as head coach of his alma mater, and both players and coaches have lamented the fact they missed opportunities to play in a higher-tier bowl. The Terps can either let the scenario beat them, or use it as motivation.
2. Disrupt the passing game. The one edge the Pirates have in this game is at quarterback, with former BC transfer Dominique Davis, but Maryland’s secondary is good enough to match up with ECU’s receivers. The key is to smother them and not let them loose for yards after the catch. Dwayne Harris and Lance Lewis have combined for 2,034 yards and 23 touchdowns on 171 receptions.
3. Get the running game going. It’s been stagnant all season, but that should change against East Carolina, which ranks 116th in the nation in rushing defense. If Maryland can establish a ground game and help keep quarterback Danny O’Brien in manageable third-down situations, it will be tough to get the Terps off the field.