Maryland's football team showed signs of life early, but was blown out for the second straight week in its Big Ten home opener against Michigan Saturday.
Although the final score was 28-0, the Terps were even with the Wolverines until there were four minutes left in the first half, and were only down 6-0 at halftime. But once the second half began, Michigan quickly started to pull away. The Wolverines grew their lead with touchdowns of 31 and 66 yards, and a 21-0 lead could not have seemed more insurmountable. A touchdown in garbage time time polished off a four-score waxing.
Maryland's offense was silent all game, never able to string many positive plays together. The Terrapins' longest drive of the game was their first, which went for 42 yards. After advancing the ball 28 yards on their next drive, the Terps never had a drive longer than 14 yards for the rest of the day, and never even made it to the red zone.
Caleb Rowe brought an FBS-leading nine interceptions into the game, and he was pulled for Daxx Garman once again in the third quarter after his third pick of the afternoon. He looked good on the first drive of the game, but retreated into his shell later after his second interception and went almost the entire second quarter without completing a pass.
Garman came in with eight minutes left in the third quarter, and didn't fare much better. The transfer from Oklahoma State was 2 of 9 on the day, spent most of his time under center trying to evade the Wolverines' front seven. Garman was sacked three times, including one vicious play where Michigan's Willie Henry basically picked him up and threw him.
Willie Henry just ate Daxx Garman.— Daniel Gallen (@danieljtgallen) October 3, 2015
Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Damian Prince went down with an injury in the third quarter and did not return.
The loss moved Maryland to 2-3 on the season, and thing are about to get a whole lot more difficult for this Terrapins squad. Next week they'll travel to Columbus to take on No. 1 Ohio State.
Maryland immediately got off to a better start than it did against West Virginia, but that's pretty much by default, because short of burning the stadium to the ground, it's hard to have a worse start than this team did last week.
Maryland's defense showed up in the first half, holding Michigan to just two field goals. They stood strong despite never getting a long breather because the offense couldn't stay on the field. Maryland forced fumbles on consecutive series, but the Terps were unable to convert either turnover into points. Maryland's offensive stats in the half speak for themselves. Sixty-eight total yards, 1.9 yards per play, and Rowe was 8-for-24 for 47 yards in the air, and threw two more interceptions (although one wasn't entirely his fault) to up his FBS-leading total to 11. In short, basically nothing happened.
Maryland started the second half on a bit of a high note as well, when a tipped Jake Rudock pass ended up in the hands of Quinton Jefferson. However, that was the last positive thing to happen for the Terps all game. With eight minutes left in the third quarter, Michigan's Drake Johnson 31-yard touchdown on a perfectly-executed screen pass. Maryland's front seven looked like it had Rudock dead to rights on the play, but he easily slipped a short pass out to Johnson, who had lots of room to run and scampered down the sideline for the score. Michigan went for two and got it. From there, the game deteriorated quickly. Garman came in at quarterback and was consumed by a rabid Michigan offensive line, and Jehu Chesson scored on a 66-yard end-around to make it 21-0. Johnson scored again in the fourth to make it 28-0. There wasn't much coming back from that.
Three things to know
1. Maryland's defense was legit, at least in the first half. The Terps' secondary especially stood out, and the entire defense locked down the Wolverines for the entire first half. When a defense has to stay on the field with limited breaks provided by the offense, though, it gets hard to keep up.
2. Caleb Rowe is still throwing interceptions The redshirt junior came into the game leading the nation in interceptions despite only playing in two full games, and he added three more. His total on the season is now 12. The single-season record for interceptions thrown in a season is 34. Rowe isn't going to get there, but it's not a good sign that we decided to look that up.
3. Maryland's fans still kinda showed up for this game We all knew there would be a significant contingent of Michigan fans at this game- they travel well, and the combination of expected hurricane conditions (even though the weather wasn't too bad, ultimately) and Maryland's poor performance so far this season had many people predicting a low turnout Saturday. However, Byrd Stadium's student section was pretty full by the second quarter. Fans stayed until the game started to get out of hand late.
A look at fan turnout throughout the game (In the first quarter, after halftime, and in the 4th quarter) pic.twitter.com/1kpoQUL9Lf— Ryan Connors (@ryanconnors11) October 3, 2015