University of Maryland
Location: College Park, MD
Home Stadium: Maryland Stadium
Head Coach:D.J. Durkin (1st year, 4-0, 1.000)
Conference: Big Ten (East Division)
First Game: November 17, 1917 (Penn State won 57-0)
Last Game: October 24, 2015 (Penn State won 31-30)
Overall: Penn State leads 36-2-1
Current Win Streak: 1, Penn State
Last Season (3-9 overall, 1-7 Big Ten)
The Terps had a rough season in 2015. They won their first game against University of Richmond, losing next to Bowling Green. They defeated South Florida, then lost their next 8 games, winning the last game of the season against Rutgers. Maryland finished the season 3-9 overall, 1-7 in the Big Ten and last place in the Big Ten East Division.
Maryland was led by five-year head coach Randy Edsall, who was fired in October after starting the season 2-4. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over as the interim head coach for the rest of 2015, with D.J. Durkin, former Michigan defensive coordinator, coming in as the new head coach in December. Durkin also brought in former Virginia head coach Mike London to handle the defensive line, and former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as the defensive coordinator.
Running back Wes Brown was suspended for violating the university’s student-athlete conduct code in 2015, missing Maryland’s final two games, and missing the first three games in 2016. He returned to the roster last week but did not play against Purdue.
The Terps graduated a few players in key positions, including kicker Brad Craddock, who won the Lou Groza award for the nation’s best kicker in 2014, and leading rusher Brandon Ross, who ran for 958 yards and 10 touchdowns and led the Big Ten with 6.4 yards per carry in 2015. Two junior defensive linemen, Quinton Jefferson and Yannick Ngakoe, declared early for the NFL draft, depleting the defensive line.
Maryland’s 2016 recruiting class was ranked 42nd in the nation (7th in the Big Ten), according to 247 Sports (as compared to PSU’s class ranked at 20th in the nation, 4th in the Big10). Durkin’s recruiting has brought in a top 20 recruiting class for 2017, ranked 17th nationwide and 3rd in the Big 10.
The Terrapins are 4-0 overall for 2016. Last week, they beat Purdue 50-7 in their Big Ten opener, leading 29-0 at the half, and finishing the game with 4 touchdowns and 400 yards rushing. Sophomore Ty Johnson had a career-high 204 yards on 7 carries (29.1 yards/c) and two touchdowns, with one score off a 76 yard run. Lorenzo Harrison had a long 62-yard touchdown run. QB Perry Hills threw two touchdown passes to Teldrick Morgan, with Hills also running in for an 11 yard touchdown.
QB Hills went 9-17 with 5.6 yards per pass, and 1 interception.
On defense last week, the Terps held Purdue to just 10 total rushing yards and sacked Purdue’s quarterback six times. Senior Roman Braglio stood out with 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Maryland returns 93% of their offense. Quarterback Perry Hills is 45-73 with a 61.6% completion rate, with 5 touchdowns and just 1 interception. Last year, Maryland had the most interceptions in college football at 29, so the Terps have seen good improvement there.
Maryland’s no-huddle offense has accounted for a school-record 173 points over its first four games. The Terps are 18th in FBS and 2nd in the Big Ten in team rushing offense with 300 rushing yards per game. Running back Lorenzo Harrison leads in rushing with 38 rushes for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns at 7.5 yards per carry. Ty Johnson is right behind with 28 rushes for 333 yards, 3 touchdowns and an average of 11.9 yards per carry.
Wes Brown, the running back suspended for the first three games this year, may return against the Nittany Lions. Before his suspension in 2015, he rushed for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. If Brown can stay out of trouble, he’ll cause problems for Penn State’s defense.
Receivers DJ Moore and Teldrick Morgan are two to watch, with Moore at 13 catches for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Morgan with 13 catches 175 yards and 2 touchdowns.
One of their best offensive players is veteran offensive tackle Michael Dunn, a former walk on who was an All-Big Ten Tackle, anchoring the offensive line.
Maryland returns only 46% of their defense this year, and with a 2015 defense that was next to last in pass efficiency defense in the Big Ten, Maryland’s got some work to do. The addition of head coach Durkin, with his strong defensive background should help alleviate some of those deficiencies as the season goes on.
Maryland does have senior cornerback William Likely, though, one of the best defensive backs in the country, who made first team all-Big Ten last season. So far in 2015, Likely has 28 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1 sack. He’s bound to make an impact on the field this week.
The Terps also return talented middle linebacker Jermain Carter, who led the team in 2015 with 103 tackles and 14 TFL, and return defensive end Roman Braglio, who had 35 tackles last year with 3 sacks.
One of the most interesting stories from Maryland is about punter Wade Lees, a 28-year-old freshman (yes, you read that right!) from Australia. In 2012, Lees was banned for 18 months from the Australian Football League for buying (but not taking) a fat burning product that contained small amounts of a banned steroid. He’s looking to resurrect his career in the US. So far for 2016, he’s had 21 punts, averaging 39 yards with his longest at 46 yards.
The versatile Likely is also the team’s punt returner, but so far this year his stats aren’t as good as in years past, averaging 5.3 yards per return (last year, he averaged 17.7 ypr).
Check out more on Maryland Terrapins football team at Testudo Times, the SB Nation blog for Maryland.