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Three takeaways from Maryland's loss to Michigan State

Despite some tough losses, fans are showing up frequently to support Maryland football in their first season in the B1G.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Fans are showing up to support the team in their first B1G season

One of the many benefits the University of Maryland hoped they would gain by leaving the ACC, a conference they helped found, to join the Big Ten, was an uptick in what had been sagging football attendance. Through the first five home games of the season for Maryland, it appears the move is paying dividends.

So far this season, Maryland has recorded two official sellouts and is averaging 49,042 fans per game. Here's the game by game breakdown thus far:

45,080 - JMU
48,154 - West Virginia
51,802 (sell out) - Ohio State
48,373 - Iowa (homecoming) 
51,802 (sell out) - Michigan State

Last season, Maryland averaged 38,878 fans (41,278 if you include the 55,000+ who went to the Maryland-West Virginia game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore). fans per game. And when you look back to the 2012 season, Maryland averaged a dismal 36,023. Since 2012, Maryland's attendance has increased by over 36%.The school averaged 42,355 in 2011, head coach Randy Edsall's first season at Maryland.

Assuming Maryland maintains their 49,000+ average, it would be the highest average attendance for the school since 2007, when the average attendance was 51,263 fans per game. It would also be the 7th-highest average attendance in school history.

Maryland's defense played one of their best games of the season and gave the team an opportunity to win

Coming into Saturday's game against the Spartans, the reigning B1G champs, it wasn't unrealistic to think the game would end up very similar to when the Terps faced some of the other conference's elite teams. Maryland lost to Ohio State and Wisconsin by a combined score of 104-31 but against the Spartans, Maryland's defense kept the Terps in the game. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to uphold their end of the bargain, unable to move the ball and consistently going three out and and putting the defense back on the field.

Will Likely continues his dominance

How good was Likely against Michigan State in the return game? Despite a few miscues, Likely finished the game with 228 kickoff return yards against the Spartans, averaging 32.6 yards per return. Stefon Diggs, who Likely filled in for following Diggs' suspension/injury, was averaging 23.9 yards per return. If Likely were to maintain that average through the rest of the season, it would lead the B1G.

Likely also ranks 4th in punt return yardage in the conference and is tired for 1st with five interceptions this season. He continues to be an all-purpose star for Maryland in his sophomore season.