The Terrapins football team’s offense was incredibly efficient in a 47-10 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday. The Terps totaled 587 total yards against the Monarchs and averaged a stellar 8.5 yards per play.
Much of the success came on short passes or designed runs on which Terps playmakers were able to get into open field and make Old Dominion defenders miss tackles. Here’s a breakdown of a few of those plays:
Brandon Ross’ 23-yard gain
Situation: First-and-10 at the Terps 23-yard line with 7:51 left in the first quarter.
Setting the scene: Ross didn’t have a signature play Saturday, as his career-high 149 yards on 18 carries were more a product of consistency. He was able to set a tone for the Terps offense with some key runs, such as this 23-yarder on the first play of the Terps’ first touchdown drive.
Breakdown: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs motioned into the backfield behind quarterback C.J. Brown before the snap. Ross was standing just to the left of Brown. When the Terps’ signal caller took the snap, he decided to give the ball to Ross on the zone-read rather than keep it himself.
Ross quickly cut up the middle of the field through a small hole. Monarchs linebacker Richie Staton appeared to have a chance to step in the gap and stop Ross, but with Terps right guard Michael Dunn pushing the Old Dominion defender, he only reached an arm out in his attempt to bring down the tailback. Ross broke through the arm tackle and ran for 23 yards out to the 46-yard line.
Quotable: “To tackle us, you’re going to have to wrap up. You can’t do all that arm tackling, stuff like that, because we’re going to run through those,” Ross said.
Stefon Diggs’ 41-yard touchdown catch
Situation: Second-and-six at the ODU 41-yard line with 5:30 left in the second quarter.
Setting the scene: The Terps have been finding ways to take advantage of Diggs’ ability to make tacklers miss since he arrived in College Park last season. Saturday might have been the Gaithersburg native’s finest college game yet, as he totaled a career-high 179 yards on six catches. This screen pass put the Terps up, 24-3.
Breakdown: Diggs was one of three receivers split out wide to the right of Brown before the snap. Brown threw a quick screen to Diggs, who caught the ball about two yards behind the line of scrimmage and turned up field.
Receiver Nigel King blocked Monarchs linebacker Larry Alston III, allowing Diggs to get around the corner and to the sideline. But Old Dominion defenders Fellonte Misher and Alex Johnson closed in on Diggs at about the 38-yard line. Diggs sprinted around Johnson, a defensive end, and then stiff-armed Misher, a safety, to break loose.
Diggs sprinted free down the sideline until about the 15-yard line, where he began high-stepping when he saw Reggie Owens taking an angle to try and cut him off. Diggs then sped toward the end zone and before Owens could reach him, the sophomore somersaulted across the goal line for the score.
Quotable: “I had some good blocks on the outside by Nigel and [tight end Dave Stinebaugh]. They sealed their guys. C.J. gave me a good ball. From that point out, I was just trying to get in the end zone. I dove a little bit because I wasn’t sure I was going to get there all the way. Luckily, I got there,” Diggs said.
Albert Reid’s 27-yard touchdown run
Situation: Second-and-four at the ODU 27-yard line with 1:41 left in the second quarter.
Setting the scene: With Ross’ big first half, Reid didn’t get his first carry until late in the second quarter. But when he did, he took advantage of it by taking this handoff 27 yards for a touchdown to give the Terps a 31-3 lead.
Breakdown: The play call from offensive coordinator Mike Locksley seemed to be the zone-read, and Brown decided to give this one off to Reid. Stinebaugh sprinted from the right side of the line into a hole to be Reid’s lead blocker, and Reid followed up the middle of the field.
Cornerback Rob Thompson moved up to help stop the run, but Reid saw him coming and sharply cut to his left. Thompson stumbled while trying to change direction, and Reid got into the open field.
At about the eight-yard line, Misher had a chance to stop Reid but couldn’t wrap him up. Reid broke through Misher’s tackle and then made Owens miss at the five-yard line before sprinting into the end zone.
Quotable: “I think Old Dominion tried to take C.J. away a little bit this week because of what he did last week. As they took C.J. away, you saw what Brandon did. You saw what Albert did. I just feel good that we have some guys who can make plays,” Coach Randy Edsall said.
C.J. Brown 31-yard touchdown run
Situation: Third-and-two at the ODU 31-yard line with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
Setting the scene: Brown, who accounted for five touchdowns in a season-opening 43-10 victory over Florida International on Aug. 31, had another efficient outing against Old Dominion. He finished 14-of-22 through the air for 275 yards and two scores, and he rushed for 30 yards and another pair of scores. This 31-yard touchdown run put the Terps up 38-3.
Breakdown: Brown took the snap and sprinted to the right, while Diggs followed several yards behind and to the right of the quarterback. It was the traditional option play; Brown could either pitch to Diggs or keep it himself.
An Old Dominion defender sprinted at Diggs, leaving Brown with an easy decision to turn up field with the ball. He did just that and easily picked up the first down, with King and Stinebaugh each sealing blocks.
Brown ran in the open field until about the 14-yard line, where Misher cut him off. But Misher, who was sprinting from the middle of the field to the left sideline, didn’t wrap up on the hit, and Brown stayed on his feet after a full-speed collision. The signal caller didn’t even lose his balance and was able to finish off the touchdown run.
Quotable: “There was one or two that I kind of missed in the zone-read. With the adjustments in the secondary, they were changing up their coverage a bit in the third quarter. But I think other than that, I did OK. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t kill us; we didn’t have any turnovers,” Brown said.