The Maryland football team dropped a 31-10 decision to Wake Forest on Saturday and now stand at just 2-9 on the season. In what has been a very frustrating season, this might be one of the more frustrating games. The Terps played well enough in most phases to win, but in the end there was one aspect of the game that cost them completely.
The big storyline from this game was missed opportunities. The Terps were actually able to move the ball with some consistency, something they haven't been able to do for much of the year. But when they got in a position to score and capitalize on their drives, things just sort of fell apart.
By my count, the Terps left as many as 27 points on the board on Saturday. There was a rushing touchdown by Davin Meggett that got called back because of an offensive penalty, a drive after a blocked punt that started inside the Wake Forest 15 and failed to produce any points, a sure touchdown dropped by tight end Matt Furstenberg towards the end of the game and the two missed field goals by Nick Ferrara.
Unlike missed defensive assignments or stagnant offense, there is no real good reason why the Terps were unable to get the ball into the end zone when it really counts. If they can move the ball inside the 20's successfully, then they should be able to move the ball when they get into the red zone.
Is it the offensive playcalling that changes? Is it just a matter of failing to execute? There is really no way to answer that question definitively. If it's one of those things, you would expect the team and the coaching staff to be able to work on those things throughout the course of the game so that it isn't a consistent issue throughout.
For me, this has to come down on the coaching staff. If it's the playcalling that's an issue, and at times it certainly seemed to be, then you have to be more flexible in what you're willing to call. A perfect example came on the possession that followed the blocked punt. The Terps had a fourth and eight inside the red zone, and the play they called was an out route to Kevin Dorsey on the wide side of the field. Everyone knows that quarterback C.J. Brown struggles to throw the ball, and yet they have him make arguably the toughest throw in the game at one of the biggest moments. That's a perfect example of failing to tailor your gameplan to the players you have.
Even if it is just execution on the part of the players, than it is also on the coaches to put players on the field who can make plays when it counts. It's a very frustrating way to lose a ballgame when the team is playing well enough in all other phases to win.
At halftime of the game on Saturday, the Terps were tied with Wake Forest 7-7. They were right in it and could have won an ACC game on the road. But failing to cash in on some golden opportunities when it really counted cost them completely.
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