Maryland's injury-filled season is blissfully over, and the Terps can now focus on a full recovery for what should be an exciting ACC swan song in 2013. With a legitimate quarterback battle, four great weapons at wide receiver, and two standout running backs, the offense should be much improved, and while the defense loses quite a bit, they still have a good amount of talent returning. Some of the offensive talent was on display Saturday, as the Terrapins fell on the road to North Carolina in a wild game by a score of 45-38. Let's grade out the units.
Quarterback: B-. Shawn Petty scored two touchdowns (one through the air, one on the ground) against only one turnover, marking the second week in a row that he has had more scores than giveaways. He struggled late in the game, but was on fire during the frantic period near the end of the first half and the start of the second. Petty finished up 16/35 for 208 yards and a touchdown, and ran ten times for 25 yards and a score.
Running Backs: A. Maryland finally just stayed with Brandon Ross, as Justus Pickett and Albert Reid were left without carries (Pickett had a reception). Ross made the most of it, rushing 21 times for 141 yards and a score. That included an early one-yard touchdown and a 71-yard run off a zone read that led to a Terrapin score.
Wide Receivers: A-. All four receivers who had a catch on Saturday averaged more than ten yards per reception, with Stefon Diggs surprisingly at the bottom of the pack at 10.3 ypc (eight receptions for 82 yards). The freshman also had a passing touchdown, ran for 20 yards, and returned a kick for a score. Nigel King had four catches for 72 yards, including two fantastic one-handed grabs, Matt Furstenburg caught two passes for 37 yards, including Diggs' touchdown throw, and Kevin Dorsey caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left in the first half to take Maryland's only lead of the game.
Offensive Line: B+. Petty only got sacked once, Ross had a great day, but Petty got hit quite a few times after throwing the ball - including one instance that led to an interception.
Defensive Line: C+. This unit was hampered by an injured Joe Vellano, and the Terps did not manage to sack Bryn Renner in the entire game. Darius Kilgo, Keith Bowers and A.J. Francis each recorded a tackle for a loss, however, and combined for 11 stops in the game.
Linebackers: B. L.A. Goree continued to do well in Demetrius Hartsfield's absence, recording a game-high 14 tackles. Before being injured, Cole Farrand recorded seven tackles, and Kenneth Tate had five in his final collegiate game. Goree, Farrand and Alex Twine each broke up a pass, and Bradley Johnson forced a fumble.
Secondary: C+. Yes, Bryn Renner did throw a school-record five touchdown passes, but Dexter McDougle had a very good game at cornerback, recording eleven tackles, including one for a loss. Eric Franklin had six tackles and broke up a pass, and Anthony Nixon recovered the squib kick that turned into an onside effort. Matt Robinson had an awful game, with only two tackles and two blown tackles to start out the game that led to an early Tar Heel touchdown.
Special Teams: C+. Stefon Diggs returned four kicks for an average of 36.5 yards, including one for a 99-yard score to start out the second half. Brad Craddock made his only field goal attempt (from 27 yards) and all five extra points, and kicked the squibber that led to the late first half Dorsey score. However, Nate Renfro punted consistently poorly throughout the game, giving the Tar Heels the requisite second half field position to put the game away. He finished with six attempts for an average of 34.7 yards.