Run and Shoot: How Quickly Things Change

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How Quickly Things Change

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - And here I was thinking my halftime comments would be about Rutgers' hopes for a comeback.

Not that he knows I'm here, or knows I exist, but I'll bet Ralph Friedgen was thinking something similar.

For Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, this is a very nice setup. His team has the lead and the momentum, but the issues the Scarlet Knights had in the first half will ensure a consistent level of effort over the final 30 minutes here, as the Terps will not be taken for granted. Or, to use Schiano's terminology, they won't "come off the chop."

Here's the thing about the "chopping wood" metaphor: not only does it speak to the consistent effort that Schiano is looking for from his team in practice and games, but it also speaks to the intensity of that effort. Even when Maryland has gained yards on Rutgers in this game, the Terrapins have gone down hard more often than not. This is a very physical team, and they just might chop through a Terrapin's shell or two as we head to the second half.

The two keys for Rutgers in the second half in terms of improving on the first are taking care of the football and making the most of Kenny Britt. The Scarlet Knights had two turnovers in the first half and could easily have had three on that first pass by Teel. That can't happen. They got though it once, but twice might be a bit much.

As for Britt, he's been doing a great job getting open, but Teel either hasn't seen him or has overthrown him most of the time. He should still be an option in the second half, and one that Teel needs to take advantage of.

On the Maryland side, the Terps can't allow themselves to be "shell-shocked" by the lightning-fast comeback by Rutgers. Maryland did a lot of good things in the first half, and should still be competitive in this game. The biggest issues the Terrapins have are tightening up the pass defense and making field goals.

The pass defense didn't look anything like the No. 9 unit in the nation when Teel was leading those two touchdown drives in the last two minutes, and I heard one Maryland writer here in the press box say that the pass defense is overrated.

The missed kicks, in addition to giving Maryland six fewer points, also hurt the Terps' ability to take the crowd out of the game, which they've clearly tried to do by going for it on fourth down in Rutgers territory. The next time Egekeze gets an opportunity, he needs to make good.

Should be a good second half.

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