Maryland Terrapins vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers: Keys to victory

College Park — A day after Dr. Rod Walters released his findings from his team’s investigation of the Jordan McNair incident, the Terps open up their conference schedule against Minnesota. Once again the Terps will have to look past the emotional distractions and find a way to show up and play football.

The undefeated Gophers are 3-0 with convincing wins in two-out-of-three victories. The Gophers bring a mediocre 83rd ranked offense to College Park led by true freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad. Minnesota also has the 19th overall defense led by linebacker Blake Cashman who to leads the team with 21 total tackles.

Keys to victory:

  1. Commit to the run game: The Terps boast the 27th overall rushing offense and only ran for 132 yards on 31 carries against Temple. When the best weapon you have on offense is the run game, 31 carries is not a commitment. Coach Matt Canada must commit to running the ball in order for the Terps offense to be successful. A strong running game will also open up the passing game. The Maryland running back group is one of the nations deepest and most talented, led by senior Ty Johnson who has only 29 carries on the season but is averaging 6.1 yards when he touches the ball. As a team the Terps are averaging 5.5 yards per attempt, which ranks 27th in the nation.
  2. Start Fast: In the last two contests the Terps have looked flat, lethargic, and the scores showed that. Although injuries were a factor in last weeks 31-14 loss against the Owls. The Terps still allowed a mediocre team to come into College Park and spoil their home opener.  In week two against Bowling Green the Terps were down 10-14 at halftime before waking up and completely dominating the second half by racking up 444 yards on the ground. Maryland would go on to win that game 44-14. Whatever half time speech Coach Canada gave in Bowling Green needs to be incorporated in every pregame. A fire needs to be lit under these men.
  3. Bring the pressure: With the true freshman under center the Terps need to dial up the pass rush. If Maryland can get pressure on Annexstad,  he will be more prone to mistakes. However the walk on quarterback has yet to throw an interception in 79 attempts this season. He has also been relatively unscathed with the Minnesota offensive line allowing just four sacks through three games. The Terps really need to see this “revamped” defensive line take over and dominate like they did against Bowling Green. Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh needs to bring the pressure something the Terps defense has struggled with for the past few years.

Opinion: We have no idea which Terps team will show up today in College Park. Will it be the team that upset the 23rd ranked team in the nation? Or will it be the team that laid an egg at home against a mediocre Temple Owls team? The Terps should win this game at home, but they should have won last week. With NFL talent offensive tackles Damian Prince and Derwin Gray returning this week, a commitment to the run game will put this team in position to win the game. Coach Canada need to see some solid quarterback play from Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome, or be prepared to move away from the dual quarterback system. To put it simply, the Terps cannot afford poor quarterback play today in a highly winnable game.

Prediction: Terps win 24-17

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun


Game Reaction: Terps overcome a slow start and roll in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, OH — The Terps improved to 2-0 after a 45-14 win at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. The Terps got off to a slow start and found themselves trailing 14-10 at halftime, but rallied back to score 35 unanswered points in the second half to route the Falcons.

In the first quarter, the Bowling Green fans had the stadium rocking as they welcomed a Power 5 Conference opponent for the first time since 2014. In the first few drives, the Terps’ offense looked explosive, but continued to sabotage themselves with mental mistakes leading to penalties. In the first half alone, the Terps were penalized nine times for 80 yards. On the other hand, the Falcons were taking full advantage of the physical mismatch on the outside. The Bowling Green offense boasted two distinct size advantages with receivers Quintin Morris (6’3′ 230) and Deric Phouthavong (6’5′ 205). In the first half, the Falcons had two touchdown drives, one 14-play, 89-yard drive which ended with a touchdown pass from Jarret Doege to Scott Miller. The other was a drive that ended with a broken play 29-yard touchdown pass from Doege to Morris. At halftime, the prediction’s of a “let down” game looked to be shaping up as a real possibility.

The second half was where the defense really came alive. The defensive line looked explosive firing off the ball, and absolutely dominating the smaller Bowling Green offensive line. Isaiah Davis, Antoine Brooks and Byron Cowart, led the Terps defense with a combined 3.5 and five tackles for loss. After giving up 161 total yards to the Falcons offense in the first half, the Terps defense only gave up seven combined yards in the second half.

After the game, Bowling Green head coach Mike Jinks said:

”They physically kicked our tails on both sides of the ball, up front offensively and defensively.”

As the defense absolutely dominated in the second half, Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada committed the Terps to the power run game. The Terps rolled on the ground for the next two quarters racking up a grand total of 444 yards on the ground. They averaged more than eight yards-per-carry, and carried five touchdowns into the endzone. Ty Johnson led the stellar running back group with 124 yards and a touchdown. Tayon Fleet-Davis added 102 yards and two touchdowns. Ty Johnson moved into Maryland’s top 10 all-time rushing list with his performance.

This Maryland football team scored 38 unanswered points to beat a Bowling Green team who were itching for an upset bid. Despite a rocky start, the Terps cruised to a 45-14 win behind a bone-crushing run game and stout defensive front.


After a super emotional win against a highly touted Texas Longhorns team, this game had all of the inklings of a potential let down. The game even started with those same feelings, as he Terps ripped off some explosive runs only to shoot themselves in the foot on simultaneous drives. Coach Canada really needs to work with his guys on the mental mistakes. They were able to recover against a lackluster Bowling Green defense, but when BIG10 play opens up, these are the types of mistakes that will cost the team a game. Certainly 14-penalties for 139 yards is completely unacceptable.

The offensive and defensive line looked like real BIG10 units on the field Saturday. They were big and physical, absolutely dominating the smaller front of the Falcons. The running back group, who was stymied in Landover last weekend, showed up in force. They had two players ellipse 100 yards, had four runs for over 30+ yards. A group that needed to show up finally did. Kasim Hill played a solid game completing 50% of his passes for 121 yards and a touchdown through the air.

The Terps looked ugly in the first half, but Coach Canada must have said the right things to get his men focused. All three units came out firing on all cylinders, imposing the brute strength advantage the Terps had. Hopefully, the Terps can keep the freight train power run offense rolling as they welcome a mediocre Temple team to College Park next Saturday at 12PM.



Podcast Episode 15: Empire Writes Back’s John Carroll Jr. helps us break down Ravens’ season opener vs. Bills

Welcome to Episode 15 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Fake football is finally over, and on Sunday at 1:00 pm the Ravens will kick off the 2018 season against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium for the second time in three years. After the guys give their final thoughts on the Ravens’ 53-man roster (3:00) and react to the scary Kaare Vedvik incident from Labor Day Weekend (13:02), they tell you what to watch for during Sunday’s game (16:08).

Up next, we welcome in our special guest this week, John Carroll Jr. of Empire Writes Back, to help us break down Sunday’s game from the enemy’s perspective (28:13). Carroll Jr. is a college friend of Jake and the two spend several Sundays together in Bloomsburg watching their teams. Carroll fills us in on Nathan Peterman and goes over the 2018 outlook for Buffalo. You’ll also hear his predictions for the game.

Following the interview with Carroll Jr., the guys dive into the recent Orioles headlines (41:15) as Chance Sisco returns to the big league club hoping to end a disappointing 2018 season on a respectable note. The crew also talked about Josh Rogers and how he configures into the rebuild of the O’s.

After the Orioles segment, Jake, Nolan, and Ian recap the Terps’ 34-29 victory over Texas that opened up the 2018 season in a positive way after an absolutely terrible summer (48:16).

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Ravens & Orioles players to wear the number 15 (54:07).

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and now Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!