14 Teams in 14 Days: Maryland Terrapins
Maryland joins Rutgers as the two new members of the B1G Ten in 2014, coming over from the ACC. They're a team that's shown a lot of promise the past few years under Randy Edsall, only for injuries to derail their season(s). Most troubling though is Maryland's track record against their now new conference members.
Since World War I, Maryland has won just nine games against current B1G Ten schools. Four if you take Rutgers out of the mix. Most troubling, they're 1-35-1 in games against a school they figure to compete with in recruiting, Penn State.
Those numbers however can be a bit misleading. Prior to former coach Ralph Friedgen taking over, Maryland had just one bowl appearance since 1990. The Independence Bowl. This is a school that's on its way up yet, but is still looking at a best case scenario of finishing in the middle of the pack in the B1G Ten.
By passing for over 2000 yards and rushing for over 500, quarterback CJ Brown accomplished something no player in Maryland history had done before in 2013. Brown's mobility helped him account for 25 total touchdowns in just 12 games. A head injury cost him some time last year and he showed the signs of rust upon his return, but regrouped in time to lead Maryland to wins in two of their final three games to reach bowl eligibility.
In the backfield, sophomore Wes Brown returns after missing all of 2013 due to a suspension. His absence allowed the Terps to get reps to Brandon Ross and Albert Reid. While Brown figures to be the primary ball carrier, head coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley have shown they prefer a running back by committee approach.
Though the depth in the backfield is there, more often than not, Brown's scrambles have proved to be Maryland's best running attack.
Maryland boasts one of the most talented groups of wideouts in all of college football, led by junior Stefon Diggs. Injuries derailed the season for Diggs, Deon Long and Marcus Leak but all return in 2014. Injuries allowed Nigel King, Amba Etta-Tawo and Levern Jacobs to all see playing time. Jacobs and King made the most of it, leading the team with four touchdowns each. The group may seem crowded but Locksley loves to employee the hurry-up and four-receiver sets, meaning threes playing time for everyone.
On the offensive line, Maryland does return four starters from 2013 but whether or not that's a good thing remains to be determined. The group as a whole is a work in progress, giving up 27 sacks in just 12 games last year. The lone bright spot was the fact that this squad was one of the nation's least penalized groups, ranking 17th in the nation with just 36.6 yards marked off per game.
The Terps had no problem rushing the passer in 2013, registering 37 sacks in 13 games (their most since 2002) thanks in large part to Andre Monroe (9.5 sacks). Joining Monroe on the line is senior tackle Darius Kilgo.
Injuries forced Maryland to start nine different linebackers in 2013. Seven of them return in 2014. The Terps are strong at middle linebacker, led by Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree. On the outside is a combination of converted safety Matt Robinson, the promising Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil and Yannick Ngakoue. Cudjoe-Virgil displayed the pass-rushing skills necessary on the edge in a 3-4 last year before a pectoral injury cost him the final seven games of the season. Abner Logan figures to factor into the mix as well once he returns from suspension.
Gone is 2013's team leader in interceptions, Dexter McDougle however they do get defensive leader Jeremiah Johnson back. Johnson missed all but two games in 2013 with a toe injury. Alongside Johnson on the edge is William Likely. Likely had to take over for McDougle last year when he went down to injury and did enough to garner consideration for ACC defensive rookie of the year.
|8/30||vs JAMES MADISON|
|9/13||vs WEST VIRGINIA|
|10/4||vs OHIO STATE|
|11/1||@ Penn State|
|11/15||vs MICHIGAN STATE|
Welcome to the B1G Ten, Maryland. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and Wisconsin are all on the schedule. If they can win half of those it has to be considered a success. Keep an eye on the September 27th matchup with Indiana. It marks Maryland's first B1G Ten conference game and pits two potentially big play offenses against one another.
They're going to throw the ball. A lot. The offense will be fun to watch and the defense has some potential playmakers. The key however for Maryland, as it has been the past three seasons, is staying healthy. If the Terps can avoid the injuries piling up they could win six games, but the conference schedule is a very unforgiving one.