- Location: College Park, Maryland
- Enrollment: 41,200 (undergraduates and post graduates)
- Home Stadium: Maryland Stadium (Capacity 54,000)
- Head Coach: Matt Canada (interim), first season, 5-6 (.455)
- Conference: Big Ten (East Division)
- Overall Bowl Record: 11-13-2 (.462)
- Conference Titles: 1
- Claimed National Titles: 1
- Unclaimed National Titles: 1
- First Game: November 17, 1917 (Penn State won, 57-0)
- Last Game: November 25, 2017 (Penn State won, 66-3)
- Overall: Penn State leads, 38-2
- Current Streak: 3, Penn State
Last Season (4-8 overall, 2-7 in the Big Ten)
In 2017, the Terps were led by head coach D.J. Durkin, in his second season at Maryland, and to say it was a bad year was an understatement. Let’s start with the actual football. The Terrapins did defeat their first two opponents, No. 23 Texas and Towson but lost to UCF before picking up a win against Minnesota. Maryland went on to lose their next three to then No. 10 Ohio State, Northwestern and then No. 5 Wisconsin. Maryland beat Indiana but lost their next four games to Rutgers, No. 21 Michigan, No. 22 Michigan State and finally lost 66-3 to No. 12 Penn State.
Recruiting and Offseason
The Maryland Terrapins’ 2018 class is the nation’s 28th recruiting class (fifth in the Big Ten) as compared to Penn State’s 2018 class, at sixth in the nation and second in the Big Ten (per 247 Sports).
On May 29, a 19-year-old offensive lineman for Maryland, Jordan McNair, collapsed during a practice. He was hospitalized after showing signs of extreme exhaustion with a body temperature of 106 °F and later died on June 13. Findings published by ESPN in August show that he likely died of a heat stroke. After investigations, it was found that trainers failed to recognize the signs of heat illness, and did not take measures to cool him.
Multiple staffers were suspended, and the strength and conditioning coach named as the main abuser in the ESPN report, Rick Court, resigned. Head coach D.J. Durkin was also suspended and later fired, and Matt Canada was named interim coach.
Maryland had several other coaching changes in 2018. Andy Buh, the former special teams coordinator at Kentucky, joined Maryland as the new defensive coordinator and Dave Bucar became the Terrapins’ new tight end coach in 2018. Bryan Stinespring was hired to coach Maryland’s offensive line in January 2018 after spending 26 years on Frank Beamer’s staff at Virginia Tech.
Jafar Williams, a 2003 Maryland graduate, returned to his alma mater as running backs coach in 2018 after serving as a wide receivers coach at Rutgers.
The Terrapins (5-6, 3-5) almost did it last week; nearly beating No. 9 Ohio State in what was a nail biter down to the end of overtime. Maryland coach Matt Canada made a gutsy call to go for a 2-point conversion instead of tying the game to force it into double overtime, but the pass by quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome to Jeshaun Jones was a miss. Ohio State won 52-51, but their defense allowed 535 yards and seven touchdowns, and they were trailing by two touchdowns in the third quarter.
Pigrome made his first start of the year after quarterback Kasim Hill received a season-ending knee injury. Pigrome went 6 for 13 for 181 yards. Maryland freshman Anthony McFarland had touchdown runs of 81 and 75 yards in the first quarter and finished with 298 yards rushing. For Maryland’s defense, Tre Watson had 12 tackles.
Based on the numbers, it was surprising, to say the least, that Maryland hung in there with Ohio State. The Terrapins are 85th in total offense, 122nd in passing offense, and just 1-15 in third down conversions.
It’s not all bad: for rush offense Maryland is 17th nationally and in red zone offense third nationally (and first in the conference). That’s due in large part to many returners on their starting offensive line, a deep and talented running back corps and quarterbacks who can run the ball, too.
The Maryland offensive line returned senior starting tackles Derwin Gray and Damian Prince along with senior guards Brendan Moore and guard Sean Christie. Sophomore Johnny Jordan has moved to center.
In the running back corps, it’s all been all about senior Ty Johnson, who last year had 137 attempts for 875 yards (6.4 average) and five scores … and who as a sophomore in 2016 had 110 attempts for 1,004 yards (9.1 average) and six touchdowns. This year, Johnson has been out after suffering his second career knee injury, leaving the bulk of the work for freshman standout Anthony McFarland. McFarland ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 1,022 rushing yards this season and second in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation with 8.18 yards per carry. He rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in the Ohio State game alone.
Tayon Fleet-Davis is second on the team in rushing with 73 attempts for 324 yards and five scores. Sophomore Javon Leake is sixth on the Terrapins in rushing with 23 attempts for 275 yards (12 yards per carry) and seven scores.
Maryland is fortunate in that they have two dual-threat quarterbacks but unfortunately they’ve battled ACL injuries the past two years. Starting quarterback Kasim Hill was 84 of 170 attempts (49.4%) for 1,083 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions before he injured his knee earlier this season. In at the start now at quarterback is sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome who is 23 of 44 attempts (52.3%) for 376 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on the season. He’s also fourth on the team in rushing with 49 attempts for 149 yards and one score.
In the air, the leading receiver for the Terrapins is grad student Taivon Jacobs, who has 23 receptions for 298 yards and two scores this season. Tayon Fleet-Davis and Chigoziem Okonkwo fill in the gaps along with senior Jahrvis Davenport (nine receptions for 156 yards and two scores).
Freshman Jeshaun Jones is second on the team with 20 receptions for 271 yards and five scores and junior DJ Turner is third for Maryland with 13 receptions for 159 yards and one score.
Maryland is 107th in red zone defense, 74th in rush defense and 72nd in scoring defense. On the bright side, the Terrapins are 52nd in total defense and 37th in pass defense. Maryland is also tied with Utah State with an FBS-leading 18 interceptions this season.
Currently, the team interception leader is standout linebacker Tre Watson, a graduate transfer from Illinois. This year alone he has five interceptions, 111 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, three pass breakups and one forced fumble. Currently, Watson leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for fourth in FBS with five interceptions and leads the conference with 10.1 tackles per game.
Maryland lost their three senior linebackers from last year, but some returners are back joining Watson, including Isaiah Davis (second on the team with 85 tackles; two sacks) and outside linebacker / defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam (39 tackles, two sacks, five TFLs). Most everyone else is young and somewhat inexperienced.
The Terrapins’ starting defensive backs return, including junior Antoine Brooks Jr., who leads the team in TFLs with 9.5. Junior safety Darnell Savage, Jr. has four interceptions to rank second in the Big Ten and he’s joined by junior safety Antwaine Richardson (35 tackles).
Junior cornerback Tino Ellis (who had five pass breakups alone against Minnesota) leads the team with 11 pass breakups. He’s joined by senior RaVon Davis (three interceptions and seven pass breakups) and junior Marcus Lewis.
Maryland’s defensive line includes junior end Byron Cowart (three sacks, 35 tackles, five TFLs, two interceptions), junior nose tackle Adam McLean (one sack, 33 tackles) and senior tackle Mbi Tanyi (one sack, 34 tackles).
Maryland’s freshman kicker Joseph Petrino is nearly perfect this season with 40 of 41 extra points and 11 of 12 field goals.
Wade Lees, the 30 year-old punter from Australia, is averaging 41.1 yards per punt so far this year. That’s pretty strong for a guy who is 10-13 years older than most college punters.
Maryland has solid playmakers for returns. Senior Ty Johnson (14 returns for 381 yards, one score) and sophomore Javon Leake (14 returns, 359 yards, one score) are handling most kickoff returns. Freshmen Taivon Jacobs (14 returns for 32 yards) and Jeshaun Jones handle punt returns but freshman Jesse Aniebonam nailed one return after blocking a punt and running it for 45 yards and a score.
Read more about Maryland football at the Terrapins’ SB Nation blog Testudo Times