Terps mak­ing progress

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By C.J. Doon

Wel­come to the col­lege foot­ball over­re­ac­tion in­dex, where we ex­am­ine the most im­por­tant sto­ry­lines from the last week­end of games to de­ter­mine what’s worth pay­ing at­ten­tion to and what’s get­ting a lit­tle too much at­ten­tion.

Here are the big­gest take­aways from Week 3.

Same old Mary­land. Ver­dict:

Over­re­ac­tion.

The No. 21 Terps’ 20-17 loss to Tem­ple will sting for awhile, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how many chances Mary­land had to salvage a sloppy per­for­mance. There’s the missed 42-yard field-goal at­tempt; a failed fake field goal; com­ing up short two sep­a­rate times on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line; and fail­ing to turn a 7-yard punt by the Owls and a 55-yard punt re­turn in­side the 5 into points late in the fourth quar­ter.

Per­haps even more de­flat­ing is how quickly the mo­men­tum from the hot start un­der firstyear coach Mike Lock­sley was brought to a sud­den halt. The As­so­ci­ated Press Top 25 ranking, the pro­gram’s first since 2013 and the re­ward for a feel-good 2-0 run, was short-lived. In­stead of head­ing into a Fri­day night Big Ten home opener against No. 13 Penn State next week with a chance to plant their flag as a force to be reck­oned with, the Terps will have to prove their fast start wasn’t a fluke.

Be­com­ing a pro­gram on par with Penn State, Ohio State and Michi­gan in the Big Ten East was al­ways go­ing to take time. But the ar­rival of quar­ter­back Josh Jack­son and fel­low trans­fers Shaq Smith, Ke­an­dre Jones and Tyler Mabry added depth and tal­ent at po­si­tions that sorely needed it, and, com­bined with Lock­sley’s coach­ing and two straight top-30 re­cruit­ing classes in 2017 and 2018, there was hope for a sea­son that de­fied mod­est ex­pec­ta­tions.

The ACC is the worst Power 5 con­fer­ence. Ver­dict:

Not an over­re­ac­tion. It was not a ban­ner week­end for the ACC. Bos­ton Col­lege fell to Kansas, which earned its first road win over a Power 5 team in nearly 11 years, end­ing a 48-game skid. Georgia Tech lost to FCS level The Ci­tadel in OT. Vir­ginia Tech needed a sec­ond-half come­back to beat FCS Fur­man. NC State was routed by a re­build­ing West Vir­ginia.

Four years ago, Vir­ginia was 4-8 and Wake For­est was 3-9. Now, those two pro­grams are per­haps all alone in the con­fer­ence’s sec­ond tier be­hind No. 1 Clem­son, each stand­ing at 3-0 af­ter qual­ity wins last week­end.

What does all this mean for the ACC? It’s un­clear. How Florida State and Vir­ginia Tech fin­ish the sea­son and what they de­cide to do with their coaches will tip the bal­ance of power.

This is the year Cen­tral Florida gets its play­off shot. Ver­dict:

Over­re­ac­tion.

Give credit to UCF. The Knights knew noth­ing less than a rout of Stan­ford would earn them any re­spect, and they re­sponded with a 45-27 win.

It marked UCF’s 28th win in its last 29 games, and the Knights scored at least 30 points for the 29th straight game — the long­est streak in the FBS since 1936.

They also might have found their long-term an­swer at quar­ter­back. Fresh­man Dil­lon Gabriel threw for 347 yards and four touch­downs in his sec­ond start.

The prob­lem is, UCF won’t get many more op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a state­ment to the play­off com­mit­tee. En­ter­ing Satur­day, ESPN ranked the Knights’ re­main­ing sched­ule the 76th tough­est in the na­tion.

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