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NC State Vs. Maryland: Defense Leads Terps' Recovery

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Maryland is not nearly as bad as many expected. Unfortunately.

Geoff Burke - Getty Images

Maryland has regressed significantly on the offensive side of the football, which is not necessarily surprising for a team that lost its starting quarterback. A loss like that tends to cause some damage, or so I've heard. Maryland's turnover margin is worse than it was last year--the Terps have turned the ball over 17 times in six games and are -7 on the season. Last year's team finished +4. Yet Maryland has already doubled its win total from a year ago, and the team is within striking distance of bowl eligibility. The Terps are undefeated in league play and in first place atop the Atlantic, and while that won't last, it's a notable accomplishment for a group that was a disaster in 2011.

The biggest difference for the Terps so far has been their defense--while the offense is averaging a yard fewer per snap in 2012, the defense has improved by more than 1.5 yards per play.

Opp. Yds/Rush Opp. Yds/Pass Att. Opp. Yds/Play
2011 4.7 7.6 5.9
2012 2.7 6.2 4.2


Although the numbers to this point are obviously heavy on non-conference games, the Terps did play West Virginia, and they did limit a team that averages nearly seven yards per snap to 5.3. It's no proof of excellence, mind you, but it's a good indicator of a unit that has progressed from 2011. I sure as hell did not expect their numbers to look this good at midseason after what I saw from this team last year. Suffice it to say that it would be a good idea for NC State to avoid falling behind by 27 points this time around.