Special Teams and Turnovers Doom Maryland

By Ben Linton

The Maryland Terrapins had been very sound at winning the turnover margin so far into the 2010 season. But on Saturday in Death Valley, Maryland threw three fourth quarter interceptions and were shaky on special teams in a 31-7 loss to the Clemson Tigers. Maryland had won three of the last four against the Tigers, including the last two on the road, but were not as fortunate in this game.

Although the score seems lobsided, for a majority of the time the game was very close. Maryland held a lead at 7-3 after a 4-yard pass from Da’Rel Scott to Danny O’Brien, (not a typo, it was a halfback pass) but the key turning point came right after, as Andre Ellington would take the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to put Clemson up for good.

The Tigers were able to exploit a Maryland penalty for points when the Terps were called for a pass interference on a 3rd and 8 that looked uncatchable. This allowed Clemson to continue their drive and capitalize on a 1-yard run by Jamie Harper at the end of the half to put them up 17-7.

Special Teams would continue to hurt the Terps when Clemson returned a punt 41 yards to the Maryland 21 at the beginning of the second half. Once again, the Tigers would score on a 1-yard run by Andre Ellington, putting the Tigers up 24-7. From then on the Clemson defense would take over, as they forced three interceptions in the fourth quarter by Maryland freshman Danny O’Brien in his first road start, one of them going for a touchdown.

Maryland had more yards then Clemson (350 to 213), but the Terp playmakers were held in check. Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett were held to 47 yards combined rushing, and Torrey Smith only had 55 yards on 4 catches. With the loss Maryland falls to 4-2 (1-1 ACC) on the year, and Clemson (3-3, 1-2 ACC) avoids a four game losing streak. Next week Maryland hopes to rebound and win their first road game of the year against Boston College, who has a record of 2-4 and has lost four straight games.

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October 2010
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