The Military Bowl, containing none of the service academies, takes place Wednesday night as Maryland faces East Carolina. All the rumors swirling around Maryland currently must be put on hold while a final game is to be played under Ralph Friedgen’s regime. East Carolina is finishing its first season under the supervision of Ruffin McNeill (ironically, McNeill’s previous stint in Texas Tech was under Mike Leach and this game may prove to be the precursor to Leach becoming the newest Terps’ coach). Maryland is looking to move in a new direction, while East Carolina is hoping to end its season with a winning note adding to its 6-6 record.
3 Keys from the scouts
1. An offensive defense. East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill built his reputation on turning around defensive units. He has yet to do as much for the Pirates. The team’s defense ranks 118th overall in the nation. They cannot stop the run. They cannot stop the pass. It’s pretty simple cause and effect. Maryland may not have one of the nation’s top units offensively, but they can move the football and have scored over 38 points five times this season.
2. Receiving attention. Two of the nation’s top wide receiver prospects will be on display, as they attempt to one-up each other. Maryland’s Torrey Smith is a hot name among draft circles currently, and the junior leads his team with 1045 yards receiving, at 16.1 yards per catch, and 12 touchdowns. East Carolina’s Dwayne Harris has tallied similar yardage numbers, but he has achieved his accomplishment while catching the football 93 times to date. He has added 10 touchdowns. Both talents are focal points of each team’s offenses, as well as, the opposition’s defensive gameplans.
3. Passing interest. Aside from Harris’ talents, East Carolina loves to throw the football all over the field. The Pirates rank seventh in passing yardage per game. Quarterback, Dominique Davis has already posted 3699 yards passing. Maryland’s defense is better than East Carolina’s, but the Terps have still surrendered 217.5 yards per game through the air. They do present real talent in the secondary with safties Kenny Tate and Atwine Perez providing a major presence along the backline.
Bold Predictions: Since this is the military bowl, let us compare a similar opponent for each team, Navy. Maryland boasted a thrilling 17-14 win over the Midshipmen to open the season. East Carolina was pummeled by the Middies, 76-35. Navy ran all over the Pirates. Maryland has one of the most talented pairs of running backs in the country. Despite the uncertainty in Terp land, talent overcomes stability.
Maryland 24, East Carolina 14.
|1-2||Torrey Smith||WR||82||4Jr||Explosive, game breaking receiver with home-run hitting speed. Terrific prospect. Will enter the draft.|
|3-4||Kenny Tate||S||6||3Jr||King sized safety with a decent upside. Better against the run but flashes skill in coverage. Expected to enter the draft/|
|4th||Adrian Moten||OLB||1||5Sr||Athletic linebacker who shows potential on the weak side.|
|4-5||Demetrius Hartsfield||OLB||9||3So||Developing prospect that could turn into an early pick in the future.|
|5-6||Da’Rel Scott||RB||23||5Sr||Strong, straight ahead ball carrier who picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact. Lacks the speed and agility to turn the corner. Also loses a lot of momentum when he must change direction. Cannot create yardage or elude defenders.|
|5th||Will Yeatman||TE||88||5Sr||Large strong, tight end who began his career at Notre Dame.|
|6th||Davin Meggett||RB||8||3Jr||Elusive ball handler who creates yardage while running hard on the inside.|
|FA||Alex Wujciak||ILB||33||5Sr||Hard working linebacker who plays with a good degree of suddenness. Diagnoses the action, chases around the field and works very hard. Lacks next level speed but does enough to be used on the inside of a 34 defense.|
|3-4||Dwayne Harris||WR||17||5Sr||Strong possession wide out with reliable hands. Well thought of in scouting circles.|
|4th||Darryl Freeney||WR||81||4Jr||Solid pass catcher who displays outstanding focus and reliable hands.|
|FA||Willie Smith||T||69||5Sr||Fundamentally sound lineman that shows ability in pass protection.|
|FA||Travis Simmons||CB||13||5Sr||Potential zone cover corner.|
Game Preview: Brent Sobleski
Prospect Preview: Tony Pauline