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Testudo Times Roundtable: The champs await

Testudo Times staff writers and contributors gather to discuss Maryland's embarrassing 28-0 loss to Michigan and their upcoming game against the top-ranked and defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Testudo Times Roundtable

Week of 10/5

Q: What were your initial thoughts during and after the Michigan game?

Todd: I go into every game wanting to see Maryland win but at this point I'm so firmly entrenched in my spot on the coaching change bandwagon that once it became clear the Terps were going to lose I wanted it to be at least as one sided as it was.

Brian: I must admit I was a little reluctant to turn this game on with a slate of games occurring at the same time that had much potential to be more entertaining...but, alas my affinities got the best of me. During the game I was a little surprised at the defensive effort, but I do not think I have ever felt a six point halftime deficit to be so insurmountable. After the game, I felt okay, because in my cavernous, dark,  pessimistic sports soul, I know things could have been a lot worse (In terms of the final score). Also, we are one week closer to the basketball season.

Jake S: During the game I thought that things might not be as bad as they could've been. That was during halftime when the game was still close. I realized, though, that the team being competitive was likely because of a lot of energy and hype for the black-out and all the other things this game entailed. When it was over I also realized that things could have been a lot worse than they were.

Justin: I came into the game thinking we were going to get crushed and was pleasantly surprised that it was only 6-0 at the half. But once Maryland's defense finally broke and allowed Michigan to pull away, I realized the game turned out exactly like my prediction. I can only imagine what will happen in Columbus.

Carson: I was proud of our defense. Very proud. Obviously they ended up giving up a healthy amount of points in the end, but they played well in the first half and looked like they wanted to win, which is something I can't say I've seen all year to date. It's unfortunate they gave up so many points, but you can only get so much water out of a sinking ship with a spoon before the boat sinks.

Andrew K.: Initially disbelief. Michigan was handing us gifts in the first half and we capitalized on nada. As the game wore on it was obvious that we were outmanned and out coached. My twin brother, a Michigan alum, was at the game and he said that by the fourth quarter the Maryland fan base was dwindling. That's a good metaphor for my feelings about the team's chances going forward.

Sammi S: I wasn't optimistic going into this one.  This football season is like a broken record.  Every game the Terps run excitedly onto the field with so much energy and potential, and then, they don't capitalize on any opportunities that come their way.  They looked sluggish after Michigan got that second field goal before going into the second half, and then the expected happened that we were hoping to avoid: the Maryland Terrapins collapsed.  However, the defense had a pretty strong performance, and the score could have been a lot worse.  It was an odd, bittersweet feeling at the end of the game.

Noah: I was surprised at the low-scoring first half. It was a defensive battle and Maryland's defense came to play. They got worn down in the second half. Offensively, I didn't expect much and I was correct in doing so. My thoughts after the game were that Maryland has an identity crisis on offense. They need to make a plan and stick to it. There is a leadership and communications breakdown between the team and the coaching staff. If it isn't bridged soon, this season will actually get worse.

Q: Who does last week's game tell you more about, Michigan's defense or Maryland's offense?

Todd: I'd have to say the latter. The offense against WVU was essentially punts and interceptions and against Michigan just more of the same with a different mix. Many people touted the strength of West Virginia's defense prior to playing Maryland but their game against Oklahoma certainly exposed some weaknesses to exploit with talent, game plan and execution.

Brian: I would also say it says more about the Maryland offense. While Michigan's defense is certainly good, the Terps struggling to hit the century mark in total offensive yards is almost INCONCEIVABLE! If they continue to struggle against top-notch defenses the rest of the year they are in danger of averaging less total yards per game than they did during the Joel Statham era. In 2004 the Terps managed 298 yds per game. In their first two games against Power 5 competition this year, they are averaging 215.5.

Jake S: Michigan's defense is solid, but Maryland's offense is just hard to watch at this point. You would like to think that at some point one of these three quarterbacks are going to figure it out, but there haven't been any signs leading to that assumption.

Justin: Definitely the Maryland offense. Michigan came into the game with one of the top ranked defenses, and it was no surprise to see their front seven dominate Maryland at the line of scrimmage. Maryland's offense was just pathetic and showed no signs of improvement from the West Virginia game. I would say it's time to look at a different quarterback, but all three have been subpar.

Carson: Maryland's offense. I don't think I'm alone when I say I get excited at Terrapin first downs. That shouldn't be the case for a Big 10 college football team.

Andrew K.: Maryland's offense. As I mentioned above we had multiple opportunities in the first half and threw them away (pun intended). Michigan's defense is good, but a bad DII team can manage 100 yards in offense against it. Last year we hung 23 points on the Wolverines, and I don't believe that Michigan's defense improved that much in a year.

Sammi S: Definitely Maryland's offense.  Like I said before, each game is becoming a broken record.  We all know that Michigan is an outstanding team with a superb defensive system.  However, the offense in this game was just humiliating to watch.  We had to turn to Daxx Garman, yet another QB on Maryland's merri-go-round, because of Rowe's apathetic performance, and it definitely tells us that there is a lot to take care of when it comes to the offense, as this is not what we expected from the Terps this season at all.

Noah: I'm going to say it is actually a reflection of just how good Michigan's defense is. You might ask how I could possibly think that when Maryland only managed 105 yards of total offense. Before ranked BYU came to Ann Arbor, they had just put up 381 yards of offense at home against ranked Boise State and then 405 yards of offense on the road against top 10 UCLA. Do you how many yards of offense they racked up against Michigan's defense? 105. It has been 15 years since Michigan recorded back-to-back shutouts. This defense is special.

Q: Caleb Rowe threw another three picks, adding to his nation-leading total, on 8-27 passing and was benched in favor of Daxx Garman for the second straight game. Will we see Rowe start again this season?

Todd: Maryland has a quarterback ferris wheel. If Rowe's car stops at the exit point at the beginning of a game, he'll start. If it doesn't he won't.

Brian: It's possible, especially at the end of the season when game outcomes for the Terps will assumedly be trivial, the mind set could shift to preparing a ‘solid' backup for Haskins next year.

Jake S: There's a lot of football left to be played. I'm sure the team will go through this cycle again by the time this season ends. So my answer is yes.

Justin: Just wake me up when Dwayne Haskins is starting.

Carson: Yes because why not.

Andrew: Unless Daxx Garman becomes J.T. Barrett or our O-line suddenly gets much better, it's kind of a moot point.

Sammi S: After yesterday's performance, I don't see him starting against Ohio State, but he will definitely start again this season.  Why am I so sure?  The QB situation is going to be an ever-changing position, but sadly, we only have three to rotate between for now.

Noah: I wouldn't start him again unless I absolutely had to for a couple of reasons. I think his confidence is way down and he continues to hurt the team with his interceptions.

Q: Maryland had a comical 105 yards of total offense on Saturday. Who or what was the main culprit for such an anemic performance?

Todd: Trying to identify the "main culprit" is like Captain Spaulding telling Horatio Jamison that he left out the main Hungerdunger.

Brian: ....I suppose the state of the Terps offense is almost as hilarious as the Marx brothers. However, I would say the blame lies on all of the following people, in no specific order. Mike Locksley, Randy Edsall, Kevin Anderson, Caleb Rowe, Daxx Garman, Perry Hills, Robert Griffin III, the Jacobs brothers, Nik Caner-Medley and Curley Byrd.

Jake S: Every good high school quarterback who didn't come to UMD.

Justin: There was no main culprit. Line couldn't block, receivers couldn't get open, and Rowe still wanted to play catch with his opponent.

Carson: Coach Ratface

Andrew K.: Offensive line, dropped passes, Locksley and Edsall, in any order you want to put them.

Sammi S: The blame spreads across the team.  Rowe was not impressive at all, and it looked like he didn't know what to do at times, so he just threw the ball wherever it could go.  Daxx Garman also wasn't prepared and kept looking toward Edsall, unsure of the next move to make.  It is also Edsall's fault because he was not helping out the team when it came to offense, and let's throw Jim Harbaugh's name in there.  Because he's the reason these Michigan guys are so good... anyway, the list goes on.  QBs, offensive line, the receivers, etc.

Noah: Todd for the win with the ‘Animal Crackers' reference! Bad quarterback play is the easy excuse but the play-calling and apparent lack of a general game plan seemed to hurt the offense just as much.

Q: Mid-way through the fourth quarter, Maryland punted on a fourth and one from their own 34 when they were down 28-0. That looks a lot like giving up. Should Randy Edsall be taken to task for that decision?

Todd: Absolutely not. Edsall is so rigid and locked in that the situations in which he wouldn't punt from his own 34 yard line are few and limited. It's difficult to take someone to task for not doing something that is probably beyond their ability.

Brian: I kind of chuckled when this happened. That being said, for an offense that barely gained 100 yards, three feet must have looked like three miles, I do not know if I would consider it ‘giving up' as there was nothing to be gained from going for it, although, on the other hand there was also absolutely nothing to be gained from punting it. I just pictured the cogs turning in Edsall's brain, thinking to himself, "Eh. 28-o ain't too 35-0, that would be bad!"

Jake S: I didn't look into it much when it happened, and I still don't think much of it. Had they not converted, Michigan would've had a chance to have another easy score, which I guess Edsall didn't want? I'm not entirely sure what the thinking was, but I don't think much of it.

Justin: I don't think it's that big of a deal. Edsall would've made a terrible call, resulting in Garman getting leveled by a Michigan defender.

Carson: Edsall should be taken out to a woodshed behind the Barn on Route 1 and... nevermind. I guess at this point in time it's not that big of a deal but isn't it pathetic that it's come down to that?

Andrew K.: There was nothing to gain by punting and another Michigan score wouldn't have changed the game's aftertaste. Edsall should definitely own up to the decision to punt.

Sammi S: No big deal.  The Terps weren't going to gain anything or lose anything from making that decision.  At that moment the team realized they were down and out and just let go mid-way through the fourth.  Not the way a football game should be played, but at that point, I think the Terps were trying to be more safe than sorry.

Noah: Looking at Twitter, there was laughter in the press box when Edsall decided to punt in that situation. Do you know how hard it is to inspire uniform laughter in a press box? Edsall essentially said we're done trying to be competitive in this game. Edsall absolutely should be taken to task for that decision.

Q: The Terps held Jake Rudock to 180 yards on 16-32 passing with one TD and one pick. How would you grade Maryland's defense last week?

Todd: I'll give them a B. The defense created three turnovers, had no help from the offense not merely in terms of the inability to capitalize but simply in putting together a sustained drive or two. With the exception of one wide receiver jet sweep, the defense also did a perfectly acceptable job in containing the Wolverines' running game albeit absent their leading rusher.

Brian: I have to give them an A. The defense was the sole reason that this game was at all respectable for any significant amount of game time. I am fully aware that Michigan's offense will not be the best the Terps face this year, but the defense appeared to be the only entity of the Maryland football team giving it their whole hearted effort.

Jake S: A-. They kept a good offense within reach for most of the game. Michigan was the better team and they eventually broke the game open. Had it not been for the defense playing a ridiculous first half, this game could've been much worse. Imagine THAT.

Justin: B. Rudock looked uncomfortable for most of the game and missed a few open receivers.  The Terps held up well until they end, when they couldn't stay off the field due to the offense's failure to move the ball.

Carson: B+. They performed admirably for most of the game, and were it not for the ridiculous amount of time they stayed on the field, the score would have probably been closer. Like I said, I was proud that they came to play. It's not an "A" because they still gave up 28 points, however like i also said, spoon, water, boat...

Andrew K.: Again deferring to my favorite Michigan fan (my twin brother), Rudock and Michigan's offense are mediocre. Plus, they were missing their leading running back on Saturday. That said, Maryland's defense was on the field a lot, and only had two plays where they looked poor.  My grade is a "B+".

Sammi S: A-. The defense did an amazing job.  They know that this is a rough team to play against, and they kept the score within reach throughout the first half and through the third quarter.  They made their presence known and did not make too many mistakes.  They gave the offense plenty of opportunity to come within reach of the Wolverines, which they never capitalized on.  All in all, defense was great and was NOT the problem in this game.

Noah: I'd give the defense a "B+". They played great defense in the first half, limiting Michigan to six points. However, they got worn down in the second half and got gashed for some big plays. Had they played against a more competent quarterback, this game would have been much uglier.

Q: Randy Edsall listed Garman, Rowe and Hills as co-starters for this week's game at Ohio State. Do you think that is the right move?

Todd: No.

Brian: No, because a ‘right move' simply does not exist. It's like choosing between cold grits or flavorless oatmeal for breakfast. Neither option is at all gratifying, but you kind of have to go with one to avoid the dreaded afternoon hunger pangs. I guess in this case, Edsall couldn't chose just one and prefers to eat all his sh*tty breakfast options in one big heaping bowl.

Jake S: I think Edsall is as confused as we are at this point. Can anyone make a legitimate case for any of these guys to start? Come Saturday it won't even matter because at least two of them are going to play. Possibly all three.

Justin: At this point there is no right move. Whoever starts won't play well and will be sitting on the bench by the third quarter.

Carson: No. Bring back Shawn Petty. Try anything. Something. Please. Run a wildcat. Put Cockerille or Ulmer under center and literally say "there is no playbook, treat this as a pickup game and you make the plays in the huddle." This is Ohio State. There is nothing to lose.

Andrew K.: No. Choose a starter, let him get all of the first team reps in practice, and go with it.

Sammi: No.  Please no.  CHOOSE SOMEONE.  I mean, I'm a 5'4" 18-year-old girl and I think I could do a better job than these three guys (#SammiForTerpsQB).  Edsall needs to get his act together and realize that this is Ohio State, and that this season is going to only get harder down the road.  Pick the best starter or find someone else.

Noah: You need one person to get the reps. Having three co-starters is not a solution. It is stalling. There can only be one.

Q: Edsall also said the starter may be a game-time decision. Who do you think Maryland should start at quarterback this week against the top-ranked Buckeyes?

Todd: It's irrelevant.

Brian: Daxx Garman I suppose, simply because he is the only one not to get the opportunity to start yet, but I agree with Todd, the impact the starting QB will have on the outcome of this game is quite irrelevant.

Jake S: I agree with Brian. Daxx hasn't started so he might as well get his chance. Then start the cycle all over again when Hills comes in for the second half.

Justin: Doesn't matter, they won't be able to move the ball against the Buckeyes.

Carson: Todd's answer

Andrew K.: Let Garman have a chance to start and see how it goes.

Sammi S: We all know that Rowe and Hills are not going to put up a good performance anyway.  So let Daxx get his start.  If that doesn't work, put me in coach!

Noah: I think Daxx is the right choice because he is the middle ground between Hills and Rowe. He is not as conservative as Hills and he is not as risky a proposition as Rowe. He should get the start.

Q: Urban Meyer didn't make any mention of Maryland in his weekly presser. Is that something or nothing?

Todd: Nothing.

Brian: It means this is a classic TRAP game for the Buckeyes. We'll teach them to overlook the Terps!

Jake S: I can't imagine what Meyer has told his team about UMD this week. Probably the same amount he said in his presser. Nothing. It all unfortunately means nothing.

Justin: Nothing. Meyer knows Maryland is terrible and so does his team.

Carson: Absolutely nothing. Why would he? If he tried to say anything along the BS that coaches usually say (great program, some good players, ever game is important, etc.) he would have probably started laughing like a hyena and had tears streaming down his face. This is a scrimmage for them. A lousy one at that.

Andrew K.: It was something, in that Meyer essentially blew off the Terrapins as any kind of threat. Maybe he's right, but show some respect for your opponent. Meyer is creeping up behind Saban as my biggest choad in coaching.

Sammi S: It was disrespectful, but I mean, he's right in the fact that Maryland is somewhat proving to be sort of irrelevant right now with terrible performances.  Maybe we can teach him a lesson- don't ignore us.

Noah: I think Meyer is the only coach in the Big Ten that would fail to mention an opponent in his presser. I thought Will Likely could have earned a mention. That being said, the only something about this was the lack of decorum.

Q: Ezekiel Elliott ran for 274 yards on 23 carries and had three touchdowns for Ohio State in their win against Indiana last week. Will he top 200 yards and run for three scores against Maryland?

Todd (shrugs): One possibly but both probably not. It could depend on Urban Meyer's mood and how quickly the game gets out of hand.

Brian: I doubt he will get 23 carries, simply because the Buckeyes will not need to lean on him as much as they did last week against Indiana.

Jake S: He won't play the entire game because of the score so I say no and no.

Justin: This game will be over by halftime, so unless Urban Meyer want to run up the score the answer is no.

Carson: I think he gets three scores but not the same yardage he did last week.

Andrew K.: Last week OSU had a tight game. If this Saturday's game gets ugly fast, then expect to see much of the Buckeyes' back-ups in the second half.  That might be how we prevent Elliott from getting 200 yards or scoring three times.

Sammi S: I expect the the Buckeyes to be done with this game before the second half ends.  They'll play backups in place of their good players against this team, so no.

Noah: I think Carson is right. Last year I predicted that Melvin Gordon would rush for three scores and he did that by the first quarter. His rushing yards suffered as a result because he didn't play much after that. I think Elliott will get three touchdowns but he will not get to 200 yards.

Q: The spread for the game currently stands at Ohio State (-33.5). Is that too high, not high enough or just right?

Todd: If the wise guys have moved the money close to a 50-50 spread, then it's just right.

Brian: I am not a betting man, so admittedly I do not pay too much attention to spreads, but I doubt you will see a spread much higher than that in a contest between two Power 5 teams.

Jake S: I'd say just about right. Hopefully Maryland's starters can hold down OSU's back-ups in the majority of the second half.

Justin: About right. I see Ohio State dominating the first half and letting the backups just run out the clock in the second.

Carson: Vegas knows. Although that hasn't been the case in Maryland games the last few weeks. But I agree with everyone here, I think it's pretty close. OSU will go up 40 in the first half then play their mop guys and hopefully Maryland can score one or two and backdoor cover.

Andrew K.: It sounds about right.

Sammi S: Seems right to me.  Again, this game will be over by halftime.

Noah: I think the line is a shade too high. I can see a garbage time touchdown or field goal from Maryland costing some people money.

Q: Maryland has only had one game this season where one quarterback took every snap (Caleb Rowe against South Florida). How many quarterbacks will the Terps throw into action on Saturday? (Bonus points for the order in which they get used)

Todd: I said it last week and in a comment on another thread. Everybody plays.

Brian: Daxx starts, Perry comes in at some point in the third quarter, and Rowe is inserted into the game to start kneeling the ball, because negative two yards becomes the most effective offensive play the Terps have all day.

Jake S: Like I said before, Daxx starts and Perry comes in for the second half. Edsall gives Rowe a not very well deserved week off.

Justin: All three. Garman will get benched for looking like a lost puppy on the field, Hills will come in and then be replaced for not looking downfield, and Rowe will come in and throw another 3 interceptions.

Carson: I second what Jake said. Daxx starts, we see Perry, but no Rowe.

Andrew K.: Garman, Hills, Rowe, Garman, Hills, Cockerille, practice squad QB.

Sammi S: It will be three's company.  All three quarterbacks will come in and play because the team does not know how to football.

Noah: While I applaud Todd for his creative idea to platoon at the quarterback position, Garman will play the first three quarters. Hills will play the fourth.

Q: I want to take a moment to acknowledge Drew's bold prediction from last week. Drew predicted that he would have the same number of touchdown passes as both Harbaugh and Rowe. Well done! What are your bold predictions for Maryland's game in Columbus this week against top-ranked Ohio State?

Todd: Brad Craddock will attempt at least one field goal - even if it's from 73 yards.

Brian: Brad Craddock will attempt TWO field goals and I avoid changing the channel until TWO pm. Next year the Terps start referring to their ‘White Ops' jerseys as the "50 Shades of Gray" jerseys.

Jake S: Cardale Jones plays horribly, so does JT and Maryland shocks the world with a 10-7 upset. Edsall gets carried off the field on the shoulders of Daxx Garman and Perry Hills and the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2016 commits to Maryland! All hail Randy Edsall!

Justin: Dwayne Haskins reveals he's finished all his coursework at Bullis and has enrolled at Maryland a year early. Haskins runs the read option to perfection and leads Maryland to their biggest upset since Frank Reich pulled off the comeback against Miami.

Carson: Maryland scores a defensive or special teams touchdown (somehow).

Andrew K.: Maryland does not get shut out after going for at on fourth and inches at midfield with 25 seconds left.

Sammi: Craddock gets a field goal... that's all I have to say.

Noah: Maryland scores at least 10 points.

Q: What will the final score of the Maryland-Ohio State game be?

Todd: A lot for the scarlet and gray and a little for the red, white, black and gold.

Brian: A lot for the scarlet and gray and a little for the white, silver, white and gray.

Jake S: In my fantasy above, 10-7 Maryland. In real life, what Todd and Brian said.

Justin: Ohio State 48, Maryland 0. Rowe finally throws a touchdown pass (or two) to the other team.

Carson: 74-7 Ohio State and I'm not even trying to be ridiculous.

Andrew K.: 49-3.

Sammi S: 56-3 in favor of the Buckeyes.  Sorry Terps, but let's look at reality.

Noah: Todd, Brian continues to be a capable padawan. Ohio State wins this one, 42-10.