The 2014 version of the Maryland Terrapins football team has become quite an enigma for anyone who has followed them closely this season. Every time we think we have the time figured out , something happens in a game and we find ourselves back at square one. So what can we take away from Maryland's loss to Wisconsin yesterday?
C.J. Brown and the offense really struggled
Brown finished the day completing just 44.8% of his passes for 129 yards and a TD. He rushed 13 times for only 14 yards. Brown missed several open receivers and was unable to effectively run the ball. That was a recipe for, well, nothing going right on offense.
(Chart credit: ESPN)
Maryland's best drives were their first and last. Otherwise, they went 12 straight drives where they ran just four or less plays. Of course, Spencer Hall sums it up a lot better.
Wisconsin isn't great, but Maryland probably isn't as bad as they played on Saturday
Wisconsin embarrassed Maryland on Saturday in Madison. Whenever you're held to 175 total yards of offense, you're not going to win many football games, especially when you allow your opponent to rack up 527 yards of offense. Wisconsin is clearly one of the better teams in the B1G (although not at the level of Michigan State and Ohio State) and is probably second to just Nebraska in the Big Ten West. They showed that with a strong offensive and defensive line, you can limit Maryland's effectiveness on both sides of the ball, much like Ohio State did a few weeks ago. But you still wonder how a Wisconsin team, one that completely dominated Maryland in all phases of the game yesterday, lost to Northwestern a few weeks ago. Which brings me to my next takeaway from yesterday...
The B1G has two (or three) top tier teams and then a mess in the middle.
When talking about the B1G this season, assigning the conference's teams into tiers has been a good way to try to get a handle on where teams stand among their peers. For Maryland, following their blowout loss at home to Ohio State, we knew the Terps weren't in that first tier of teams, which includes Ohio State, Michigan State and possibly Nebraska. Many, myself included, thought Maryland should be among the 2nd tier of B1G teams, especially after they handled Iowa at home last week. But following Saturday's horrible performance, perhaps Maryland drops back into a third tier. The Terps are clearly better than Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers and Illinois. The real question then becomes is Maryland better than Penn State and Michigan in the East. The answer to that question will go a long way in answering where Maryland will finish in their first B1G season.