Keys to Victory – Maryland Terrapins Vs. #15 Michigan Wolverines

Ann Arbor- After a much-needed bye week, the Maryland football team charges into the teeth of the BIG10 elite. The Terps are walking in to the “Big House” for Michigan’s homecoming game. Both teams bolster hard-nosed, run stopping defenses, and elite running back groups. But the Michigan Wolverines are easily the toughest opponent the Terps have faced this season, and things could quickly get out of hand.

The Maryland Terps (3-1, 1-0 BIG10) are 1-6 all time against the Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 BIG10) . Including a 35-10 drubbing in College Park last season. Maryland won their first BIG10 game against the Wolverines, in Brady Hoke’s last game as head coach back in 2014. Since then the Wolverines have ripped off 3 straight.

Key To Victory

Establish the run – Although the Terps average more than 250 yards on the ground per game (258.5ypg), they are facing a top 10 rush defense. Anthony McFarland and Ty Johnson can strike from any spot on the field behind a stout offensive line. McFarland is averaging a huge 10.8 yards per carry on 27 carries. The Maryland offensive line needs to start fast and dominate at the point of attack. The offensive line led by Damian Prince and Derwin Gray should be back to full speed after the bye week, both having missed sometime due to nagging injuries. The Wolverines defense allows a little more than 86 yards a game on the ground (86.4ypg), so this will be no easy feat.

Play mistake free football – At times the Terps have certainly looked sloppy, averaging more than nine penalties, and 90.5 penalty yards per game, the second-most in the Big Ten. With a top 10 defense like Wolverines the Terps will not be able to afford these types of mistakes.

“We can’t have penalties,” Canada said. “You can’t beat yourselves, and certainly we’ve had that happen in a couple games where we’ve cost ourselves some opportunities.”

Kasim Hill has to show up – For as explosive as the Terps offense has been the weakest link is certainly the play of sophomore quarterback Kasim Hill. The Terps offense is a feast or famine type offense they have had 15 plays for 25 or more yards, but have struggled to sustain drives. Luckily, the Terps haven’t needed to call on Hill much, with the shear dominance the run game has been able to accomplish. Back in week three the Temple Owls came into College Park with a simple yet effective game plan, STOP THE RUN. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 7 for 17 for 56 yards, and backup Tyrrell Pigrome was 1 for 4 for 7 yards. Both threw an interception. The Wolverines are going to have the same exact game plan, stop the run, and make Hill beat us. The Terps are going to need more from Kasim Hill if they want to be victorious at the Big House.

Slow down Karan HigdonKaran Higdon has been an absolute mauler for the Wolverines this season, with 76 carries for 479 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Higdon is coming off a solid game, ripping off 31 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern. But, the Terps have a solid run defense, led upfront by transfers Tre Watson and Byron Cowart. The run defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten at 104 yards allowed per game and just 2.7 per rush. The Terrapins defense should come in with similar game plan to the Wolverines, stop the run, and make the quarterback beat you. Unfortunately i think the Wolverines have the advantage with transfer junior Shea Patterson. Much like Kasim Hill, Patterson has not been asked to do much as the offense is centered around the run game.

Prediction

Michigan 33 Maryland 17

The Details:

  • When: Saturday October 6th, 12:00pm
  • Where: Michigan Stadium, “THE BIG HOUSE”, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Radio: 105.7TheFan
  • TV: ABC

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun

 

 

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Owls roll in College Park: Terps lose 35-14

COLLEGE PARK — The Terps were embarrassed in their home opener on Saturday when they welcomed the winless Temple Owls. Maryland was routed 35-14, marking the first time the Terps have lost a home opener against an unranked opponent in over two decades.

For as good as the Terps looked week one against the Longhorns, and as well as they played in the second half of the Bowling Green game, they looked equally as bad against the Owls.  They came out flat and were simply out played and out coached. Kudos to the Temple coaching staff who put together a game plan that put their team in position to knock off the Terps.

The Terps were utterly dominated by the Owls. Temple held the Terps offense to less than 200 yards total offense. The same Terps offense who ran for 444 yards just a week ago. The Temple defense also held the Terps offense completely out of the end zone. Terps quarterback Kasim Hill spent much of the day running for his life as the Owls forced seven sacks on the day. Hill posted atrocious numbers behind center, completing just 7 passes on 17 attempts for 56 yards and an interception. The offensive line clearly missed its two starting tackles, Derwin Gray and Damian Prince. The offensive line had only given up one sack prior to Saturday’s performance.

Bright-spots were few and far between during yesterday’s lackluster performance. The only highlights were from defensive and special teams play. A stellar interception returned 36 yards by Darnell Savage in the second quarter and a blocked punt return by Jessie Aniebonam for 27 yards in the fourth quarter.

During the post game press conference, Coach Canada ran through a gauntlet of questioning. When asked about the Kasim Hill’s quarterback play Canada responded,

“It’s probably just bad coaching by me. He’s got to play better sooner, we’ve got to start faster, obviously we saw that last week [as well]. I don’t know why it’s occurring but it certainly occurred today.”

Canada fully accepted the responsibility of this loss. Throughout the press conference he placed the blame on his shoulders.

 “In the first half every second down it seemed like we did something silly — we missed an opportunity, we had a sack or we lost yardage, so all the sudden you’re in third-and-longs. Your base offense, which we think we’ve been OK at, we didn’t even get to see. We didn’t run our offense and that’s because we didn’t execute and that falls completely on me.”

Take Aways:

  1. Commit to the run game. The Terps ran for 444 yards against Bowling Green, this week they only had 132 yards on 31 carries. (Both stats are season lows)
  2. Where is the pass rush? The Terps pass rush was non-existent Saturday. The defense exploded last week in Bowling Green recording 5 total sacks, and it certainly vanished against the Owls.
  3. Commit to one of the quarterbacks. If Hill is the guy, let him take the reins and control this offense. The dual quarterback system has yet to be successful this season. Tyrell Prigrome has been less than effective when under center.
  4. Injuries really hurt the Terps Saturday as they missed vital pieces on the offensive line. This would end up being disastrous as the Owls had constant pressure on Hill for most of the game.

Next Up:

The Terps open up conference play against the undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers next Saturday 9/22 at 12:00 pm.

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun

Maryland Terps vs. Bowling Green Falcons: Three things to watch

BOWLING GREEN, OH  — Saturday at 6:00 pm the Terps roll into Bowling Green, Ohio to take on the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Numerous college football personalities think this game is shaping up to be a letdown game for the Terps, calling it a “trap” game.

The Terrapins are coming off an emotional victory against the #23 Texas Longhorns. A 34-29 victory that the coaches and players dedicated to the late Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old McDonogh graduate who died of heat stroke following a team workout in May. After the game the team placed the game ball in Jordan’s glass-encased locker at the Gossett Team House.

Bowling Green will be defending their home turf for the first time this season when they welcome the Terps Saturday evening. The Falcons are 0-1 after falling to the Oregon Ducks last week 58-24. Some of the senior Terrapin players should have a grudge to settle with Bowling Green, due to the 48-27 beat down the Falcons handed the Terps back in 2015.

With all of that being said, here are three things to watch for on Saturday night.

1. Dual quarterback system

Will Matt Canada continue with the dual quarterback system? Last week, Kasim Hill saw the bulk of the work and he completed 17-of-29 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. He added 10 yards on the ground. Tyrrell Pigrome also saw action under center, completing three of four passes for 22 yards, while rushing for 12 yards. Texas’s defense is much better than Bowling Greens, so could Canada split rhe game reps at quarterback more than he did last week?

2. Which running back breaks out of his shell?

The Terps came into the season with one of the deepest running back groups in the Big Ten. Senior Ty Johnson and Sophomore Tayon Fleet-Davis lead the Terps last week with a combined 18 carries for 61 yards and one touchdown. These are certainly not eye-popping numbers, and they really struggled to get anything going on the ground. Which running back shows up against an extremely feeble Bowling Green defense? A week ago, Oregon ran for 212 yards against the Falcons, averaging 5.0 yards-per-carry. Will Johnson finally get running room he’s be looking for? Can Lorenzo Harrison return to his 2017 form? Or does Jeshaun Jones steal the show once again?

Jones, a freshman wideout, had a receiving touchdown, rushing touchdown and passing touchdown in last week’s win. He’s the first freshman to accomplish that feat since Marcus Mariota did it in 2012.

3. Start fast and avoid the emotional letdown

Can the Terps avoid the emotional letdown ? Despite a summer filled with heartache and distractions, the Terps rose up and overcame the first test against the No. 23 Longhorns. Can they do the same in Bowling Green? The Falcons are 8-2 in their last 10 home openers, hopefully the Terps carry the week 1 enchantment into Bowling Green.

Prediction: Maryland 37, Bowling Green 20

The Details:

  • When: Saturday September 8, 6:00pm
  • Where: Doyt L. Perry Stadium Bowling Green, OH
  • Radio: 105.7TheFan
  • TV: ESPN+

 

Image Credit: NBC Sports