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Know Your Foe, Week 13: Maryland Terrapins

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Penn State faces another red team in the Terrapins for their last regular season game

NCAA Football: Maryland at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

University of Maryland

Location: College Park, Maryland
Enrollment: 39,083 (Undergraduates and postgraduates)
Home Stadium: Maryland Stadium
Head Coach: D.J. Durkin, second season, 10-8 (.556)
Conference: Big Ten (East Division)

Series History

First Game: November 17, 1917 (Penn State won, 57-0)
Last Game: October 8, 2016 (Penn State won, 38-14)
Overall: Penn State, leads 37-1-2
Current Win Streak: Two, Penn State

Last Season (6-7 overall, 3-6 Big Ten Conference)

Last year, Maryland finished the season 6-7 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten, sixth in the East Division.

The Terrapins started their season strong, winning their first four games against Howard, Florida International University, University of Central Florida and Purdue. Maryland then lost two in a row to Penn State and Minnesota, came back to beat Michigan State, then lost four in a row to Indiana, No. 2 Michigan, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 19 Nebraska.

In their last regular season game, Maryland beat Rutgers, which gave them enough of a boost to become bowl eligible. Maryland played in the December Quick Lane Bowl but lost to Boston College 36-30.

Last Week

In a rainy start, with snow by the half, Maryland lost to No. 17 Michigan State 17-7 in East Lansing, dashing their bowl hopes and putting them at 4-7 so far this season.

The Spartans took the lead in the first quarter 7-0, and scored again in the second quarter for a 14-0 halftime lead. Michigan State kicker Matt Coglin missed a field goal in the third, but a penalty for running into the kicker gave him a second chance, and he converted it for a Spartan 17-0 lead. Maryland’s Lorenzo Harrison III scored on a run, bringing the score to 17-7 Spartans. The Terrapins drove into the red zone in the final minutes of the game, but Terps’ kicker Henry Darmstadter missed a field goal and the game was over.

Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager threw 13 of 25 for 121 yards and no score, and came out in the third, replaced by backup Ryan Brand. Bortenschlager returned in the fourth and did a little better. Terrapin running back Ty Johnson was banged up in the game, so Maryland relied on Lorenzo Harrison, who managed just 13 carries for 50 yards and one touchdown. Maryland’s D.J. Moore had eight receptions for 76 yards.

Offseason and Recruiting

The Maryland 2017 recruiting class includes some talented four and three star recruits, and is ranked as the nation’s 18th recruiting class (fourth in the Big Ten) as compared to Penn State’s 2017 class ranked at 15th in the nation and third in the Big Ten.

The team struggled with high profile suspensions in the off season. Linebacker Shane Cockerille was suspended not once but twice. He was suspended earlier this year and was held out of spring practice, to return to play in September, then Cockerille was suspended again the same month. In August, early enrollees and freshmen Markquese Bell (safety) and Alex Woods (defensive back) were suspended for violation of team rules. Bell, a highly touted player, left the team a few weeks ago, and Woods announced he would leave Maryland at the end of the semester.

Offense

Maryland has had a rough two years on offense. They’ve gone from 95th in total offense last year to 118th this season. They are 65th in rush offense in FBS, but are near the bottom in the conference and FBS in pass offense and last in the conference in third down conversions.

The Terrapins’ offense has also been plagued by quarterback injuries that no one ever wants to see. Maryland has used five quarterbacks this season. Their starter Tyrell Pigrome lost the season with a torn ACL, then Kasim Hill had the same injury soon after. Maryland then relied on Bortenschlager, currently listed as the starter, with redshirt Caleb Henderson filling in as the fourth of five quarterbacks when Bortenschlager had an injury in the Ohio State game. Last week, Maryland used Ryan Brand for a quarter, their fifth quarterback of the season.

Bortenschlager has completed 101 of 197 attempts for 1,128 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. Brand is 24 of 47 with 204 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions

Maryland does boast two of the better pass blocking tackles in the conference in juniors Derwin Gray and Damian Prince, who anchor the line, made up of mostly juniors. But the Terrapins have allowed 29 sacks (to Penn State’s 27), which doesn’t help the quarterback situation.

The Terrapins are heavy on running back talent with the return of top 2016 rushers Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson. Harrison leads Maryland with 130 attempts for 562 yards and three touchdowns, and Johnson boasts 129 attempts for 805 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson is fourth in the conference in all purpose yards with 1,441. Jake Funk is also a back who you'll see on the field.

In the receiver corps, Maryland returned D.J. Moore along with Taivon Jacobs. Moore boasts 72 receptions for 933 yards and eight touchdowns this year, and leads the conference in receptions per game. Jacobs boasts 43 receptions for 520 yards and five touchdowns. Jacquille Veii and DJ Turner also fill in along with Jahrvis Davenport.

Defense
Maryland is 76th in total defense this year, nearly the same as last - not terrible but not where they want to be. The Terrapins have struggled to stop strong offenses, giving up 50 opponent touchdowns.

That said, most of Maryland’s starting linemen and ends are seniors, and senior linebackers Jermaine Carter Jr. and Shane Cockerille returned, although Cockerille is still suspended from the team and uncertain to start.

Carter leads the Terrapins for the defense with 67 total tackles (40 solo), 3.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and three passes defended and four forced fumbles. Carter is second in the Big Ten in fumbles forced. Seniors Jalen Brooks and Isaiah Davis round out the linebacker unit along with sophomore Antoine Brooks Jr. , who is second on the defense with 64 tackles (45 solo), two interceptions and is the Maryland TFL leader with 8.5.

Maryland lost a few starters in the secondary but there is some talent there, especially in junior cornerback J.C. Jackson (35 tackles, three interceptions). Senior safety Josh Woods is also one to watch with 62 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and two interceptions, along with junior safety Darnell Savage, Jr. who lives up to his name with 51 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defended.

Special Teams

Maryland’s special teams have been a focus of improvement this year, especially in the category of blocked kicks. Maryland is tenth in FBS in this stat with four blocked.

Returning punter Wade Lees has been somewhat consistent and averaged 39.8 yards/punt last year and who is averaging 39.1 yards/punt in 2017

Senior kicker Adam Greene returned, but Henry Darmstadter has started most of this season. Darmstadter has only hit six out of 10 field goals, but did hit an impressive kick from 51 yards out against Minnesota.

In kick returns, Ty Johnson has 23 for 576 yards and one touchdown, including an impressive 100-yard kickoff return against Ohio State for a score. Javon Leake, Taivon Jacobs and Jake Funk each have eight kick returns for the Terrapins. DJ Moore handles punt return duties with 13 for 143 yards so far this season.

Blog

Check out more on Maryland football at their SB Nation blog Testudo Times.