Maryland had a pretty bad road trip this week. It started on Friday night when the Terrapins lost 26-13 to a ranked Indiana team that they could have beaten. They were competitive in almost all of their matches, but lost all three of their bouts that went to overtime. When it was all said and done, the Hoosiers had taken seven of 10 matches from the Terps, some in painful fashion.
I think Purdue is objectively better than Indiana and they looked the part today in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers took eight of 10 matches from the Terrapins this afternoon, five of them by bonus points. It was 4-3 after the first two matches and then things went south in a hurry.
Here are three things that we learned from the Maryland-Purdue dual:
1) Maryland hasn't found a consistent lineup this season
Part of this is due to health and part of this is due to effort on the mat and in the practice room. For instance, Geoffrey Alexander and Tyler Goodwin have split time at 133 this season. Alexander is the starter but isn't wrestling every match because head coach Kerry McCoy is trying to keep him healthy so he can make a postseason run. Billy Rappo replaced Alfred Bannister in the lineup at 141 today because Bannister has been struggling in Big Ten competition. Dawson Peck and Youssif Hemida have both split time at heavyweight. Derrick Evanovich has split time with Josh Snook at 174.
Maryland hasn't put its best lineup on the mat consistently this season. Some of that is beyond McCoy's control. Alexander and Snook have struggled with health. Bannister needs some time to get his head right. These losses have shaken his confidence. If McCoy decides that a kid hasn't put forth the effort necessary to represent Maryland on the mat for an upcoming dual, that is his call. This might be the reason that we've seen Beck and Hemida instead of Simmons and Peck. Speaking of Beck and Simmons...
2) Maryland continues to give up bonus points at 125
Beck has lost by decision, a pin and a major in his last three matches. Simmons has given up two tech-falls in his last two matches. That means that Maryland has given up bonus points in four of their last five matches at 125. There is a disparity in talent, but the Terps simply can't give up bonus points with this kind of frequency.
3) Maryland was not aggressive and paid the price
Indiana pushed the pace against Maryland and won the close matches because they were more aggressive and more physical. Purdue took that to another level today. Purdue pushed the pace and they won big. The Boilermakers seemed to have no issue taking the Terps down and turning them.
The black and gold won five of their eight matches by bonus points. They got majors at 125, 149 and 165, a tech at 174 and a pin at 197. For the second straight match, the Terps were the more passive team. For the second straight match, they paid the price.
The Road Ahead
The Terps will head to Annapolis on Friday for their local rivalry with Navy before heading back to College Park where they will host Wisconsin on Sunday.