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Maryland-FIU preview: They're better than you think...

By Rick Nelligan

My initial intention for this post was to recap the season so far. After doing my obligatory research on Florida International, though, I knew I had to write a preview/warning for all Terps. From what I can see, FIU is a very competitive team. Their first two games were against Rutgers at home and on the road at Texas A&M. Not only did they compete with those teams, they led both of them into the fourth quarter and Texas A&M needed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win. This team is no joke, and we cannot overlook them if we have any dreams of becoming a bowl quality team.

So what makes FIU so good? It’s unquestionably their defense, especially their secondary. They held Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage to seven completions for 72 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. Then held Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, a raw but NFL-type player, to 11 completions on 31 attempts for 194 yards, one touchdown, and a terrifying four interceptions. Terps quarterback Jamarr Robinson is not as talented as those two quarterbacks, at least not yet.

With the Terps starting left tackle Justin Gilbert out for the year after tearing his ACL, the Terps cannot expect to drop back and pass the ball effectively. The Terps must rely on their backfield and offensive line. Against Rutgers, FIU only allowed 76 rushing yards, but against Texas A&M, FIU allowed a staggering 206 yards rushing. We must give the ball to stud running backs Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett and force the ball down their throat. Our offensive line must step up and show that the West Virginia game was the exception, not the rule. As talented as our backfield is, it means nothing if there are no holes to run through.

On offense, FIU is not exactly spectacular. They are led by quarterback Wesley Carroll (who started for Mississippi State his freshman year) and running back Jeremiah Harden (a Syracuse transfer). While they are talented, so is our defense. I fully expect our defensive triumvirate of linebackers Alex Wujciak, Adrian Moten, and safety Kenny Tate to lead our defense to a dominant game. There is no Ricky Dobbs or Noel Devine on this team that should be able to gash us for electric plays. Ideally we'll play aggressive defense in order to force FIU into bad situations and bad decisions.

After last year, this is a must-win game. The Terps struggled against teams from lesser conferences last year in James Madison and Middle Tennessee State. They must come out and show that they want this and that will compete to the death to defend our program and its reputation. Make no mistake about it, if we lose, we will have officially fallen into mediocrity and on the way to being a cupcake program. FIU is capable of stealing a win, but I don't think that will happen. My prediction: 24-7, with explosive runs from our backfield and another dominating performance by Adrian Moten.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 24, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  | Tags:  Maryland-Florida International  
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'We must give the ball to stud running backs Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett and force the ball down their throat.'


Posted by: Barno1 | September 24, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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