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Prediction: 38-13

This was the commentary that I sent to the EMU student paper. I don't expect this game to offer much suspense.

Let me say, 38-13, Maryland wins. Ralph Friedgen is concerned because he says EMU runs a no-huddle spread offense similar to the one MTSU ran so successfully against the Terrapins. But the only way I see Maryland losing is if it chooses to sleepwalk through this game like it did in Murfreesboro, Tenn., two weeks ago. Maryland is a consistently inconsistent bunch, so that should give EMU hope. Friedgen has tried everything to motivate players --- challenging them, playing nice guy, even blaring music at the end of practice to liven up the mood. This is a senior-laden team that often plays to the level of its competition. Clemson is up next for Maryland. The Terps will get up for Clemson; the question is whether they will be fired up for EMU. For what it’s worth, players say they have learned their lesson and want to make a resounding statement against EMU. Quarterback Chris Turner told me, “We want to murder Eastern Michigan.” Running back Da’Rel Scott is questionable with a left shoulder sprain, but watch out for true freshman Davin Meggett, the son of the former NFL player, Dave Meggett.

One player to watch:
With Scott potentially limited or out, I would keep an eye on Darrius Heyward-Bey the whole game. Maryland’s best receiver has world-class speed and could very easily be in the NFL next season even though he is only a junior. You will not catch Heyward-Bey in the open field unless your last name is Bolt. Maryland wants to get the ball to Heyward-Bey as much as possible, but a lot of that falls on the shoulders of Turner, the son of the former drummer for the heavy-metal band Ratt. Turner played a great game against Cal, a near flawless game, but he is prone to being inconsistent.

State of the program:
Some fans at Maryland feel the Terps should be a legitimate power. I find that to be unrealistic. I think a more realistic goal is to win seven or eight games most years and every few years challenge for the ACC title. A vocal segment of the fan base wanted Ralph’s head after the loss at Middle Tennessee State. They really wanted him fired. My question to them was: Who do you think you can bring in to do a better job? The program is really overshadowed in this D.C. market by several pro teams from a variety of sports. Friedgen would have probably been under more criticism had Maryland been the biggest game in town. It is not. Case in point: A noon kickoff for Cal at Maryland and there were plenty of empty seats in the upper deck of Byrd Stadium. I expect the same number of empty seats Saturday for a game that is not expected to be as interesting as the Cal-Maryland game was.

Perception of Eastern Michigan:
I know more about the MAC in general and its reputation with quarterbacks than I know about Eastern Michigan. I have covered the MAC final in men’s basketball before and really enjoy the teams, fans and campuses. But I have to admit: Before the season, I ranked Maryland’s games from toughest to easiest, and this was the one I marked as easiest. EMU has never beaten a team from a BCS conference, right? Having been to most college campuses in the country, I’m disappointed to say I have never been to Ypsilanti. Always wanted to, and will someday.

Side note:
Ralph Friedgen is really enthralled with EMU’s punting situation. He spent more than a minute on two separate occasions explaining that EMU uses three punters and that two are right-footed and one is left-footed. He actually got me eager to see EMU’s punters, if you can believe that.

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 19, 2008; 6:12 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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great line "You will not catch Heyward-Bey in the open field unless your last name is Bolt. "

Posted by: Lee | September 19, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

One game against Cal doesn't change my stance that RF isn't the answer here. I think he has done a good job but there are coaches who could win here, albeit at a price.

The recruiting of local talent has been a fiasco. However, Kenny Tate was an outstanding pickup. For Maryland to achieve top-tier status we need more Kenny Tates. We need that sort of talent at the quarterback position.

I also would like to hear viable arguments why Maryland can't be a top-tier program. It seems people and the media are willing to settle for mediocrity.

During the Claiborne and Ross tenures, this program consistently appeared in the top 20. Now Maryland is consistently in the top 50.

Posted by: Charles | September 19, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I actually went to EMU for two years before transferring to Maryland in the late 80s. They have a fairly nice campus actually. And they played some nice basketball back then when Ben Braun was coach. Always strong in track as well.

Posted by: John R | September 19, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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