Maryland makes it 12 straight with win over IUPUI

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Maryland makes it 12 straight with win over IUPUI

After a solid month of playing mid-major teams from around the country the Maryland Terrapins could probably be excused for sleep walking through their New Year’s Day matinee against the IUPUI Jaguars at Comcast Center today.

The end result was a to-be-expected 81-63 rout of the visitors. While the Terps took a circuitous route to getting the win, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon pronounced his team ready for ACC play.

That’s a good thing because league play begins this Saturday against Virginia Tech.

While much of the media has focused on the rotation of players that Turgeon may or may not employ with the conference season upon us, the coach himself has focused on the benefits of Maryland’s unparalleled depth and the answers he seems to have for every situation as a result.

With IUPUI red-hot out of the gates and off to a 14-3 lead barely six minutes into the game Turgeon had already tired of his team’s effort defensively and went to the bench for answers. He ended up getting exactly what he wanted – and then some.

Freshman guard Seth Allen may have been inserted initially for defensive purposes but he nailed back to back three pointers and the Terps- and the crowd in attendance- seemed to come to life.

The Jaguars continued to shoot the lights out of Comcast for a few more minutes and eventually held a 19-9 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half. After what happened over the next 6 minutes, IUPUI was probably left wishing that they had literally shot the lights out of Comcast.

Maryland reserves went on a quick 11-0 run to hand the lead back to the Terp’s starting five and they immediately went on a 9-3 run of their own. That 20-3 run over a seven minute span effectively decided the game and allow Maryland the chance to try and do some fine tuning heading into conference play.

There was plenty to be concerned with, to be sure. IUPUI had struggled to score in many of their previous outings but shot the ball extremely well for the first thirty minutes before fatigue took over and they wilted against Maryland’s depth. For the game they ended up a solid 24-54 (45%), the best an opponent has shot against the Terps this season.

The Terps also committed 14 turnovers against a team that rarely pressured them. Many of them could be categorized as “unforced errors” that Turgeon quickly alluded to after the game. He also countered that quickly by saying how much he loved how his team shared the ball and pointed to the 16 assists his club had.

When he was asked about Virginia Tech just after the game, Turgeon was quick to say that he had completely focused on IUPUI in advance of this contest and that preparation for the Hokies would be coming over the course of the next few days.

That may be true – to a degree. Turgeon is an extraordinarily superstitious coach and he knows enough not to offend the basketball Gods by preparing for one opponent five days away when you have a game against another opponent tomorrow. That said, there can be little doubt that his assistants have probably watched enough tape of Virginia Tech to run a Hokie practice themselves. You can be certain that Turgeon left College Park with a scouting report and plenty of game tape to watch tonight when he gets home.

Virginia Tech had started the season as one of the real surprises in the league and they reeled of seven consecutive wins. Since that point they have lost four of six games, including blowout losses against Colorado State and Brigham Young. They are led by perhaps the ACC’s most NBA-ready player in point guard Erick Green, who is averaging a league best 24.4 points per game. For the Terps the job defensively will begin with containing Green.

As the nearly 9,000 in attendance strolled into the College Park night there had to be some consensus among them that – for all intents and purposes- the JV games are over.

Now it’s time to bring on the Varsity.

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

There were high hopes for LSU at the start of the season. With the collection of talent the Tigers boast on their roster, there was no reason to think they could not challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.

Even my preseason College Football Playoff projections at the start of the season had LSU as one of the four teams to make the playoff.

SEE THE NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

The Tigers' championship hopes took a hit with an opening loss to Wisconsin. Now just four games into their season, Les Miles been fired and their playoff aspirations appear to be completely dashed after a devastating loss Auburn.

With Alabama looking as dominant as ever and what was believed to be their main rival already looking down and out, who else can challenge the Tide for supremacy of the SEC? Who else joins the Alabama in the projected top four?

Find out here in this week's College Football Playoff projection.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.