The Maryland football team had a pretty disappointing day on Saturday, dropping a 31-10 result to what seemed to be a beatable Minnesota team.
Here’s a non-exhaustive accounting of what was good and what wasn’t in the Terps’ loss.
Maryland’s pass defense. Maryland was going up against a quarterback who had only thrown two passes in his college career, and didn’t have its two best corners for most of the game. Even without Will Likely, who exited in the second quarter with an injury, and JC Jackson, who didn’t play much for unexplained reasons, the Terps only allowed 82 passing yards. Freshman Tino Ellis did a solid job filling in, as did Elisha Daniels and Qwuantrezz Knight.
Maryland’s run defense. This had almost nowhere to go but up, as S&P+ ranked Maryland’s rushing defense 116th in the country going into this game. But holding Minnesota’s paltry rushing attack, which isn’t great, to only three yards per carry excluding the 70-yard run when the game was already out of reach, is pretty good.
Levern Jacobs, wide receiver. Jacobs has been slowly working his way back into Maryland’s offense after hauling in more catches than anyone else on the team last season. Against Minnesota, he led the Terps in catches (10) and yards (82).
Nothing, really. Things were either pretty good or pretty bad on Saturday.
Maryland’s rushing attack. The Terps had their worst performance of the season in this phase, though it’s important to note that Minnesota’s rushing defense is very solid. Still, Maryland’s running backs couldn’t get traction. The team had 130 yards, but the running backs only combined for 59 of those. Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison usually have a few runs longer than 59 yards by themselves, but the Gophers bottled them up. A couple key holding calls didn’t help, either.
Maryland’s passing offense. Stock is way down here, though the air attack did show some redeeming qualities in the fourth quarter. It’s unfair to blame Tyrrell Pigrome for all of these problems, though he was clearly overmatched. He’s a freshman quarterback making his first start, and he had to throw the ball 37 times when he’s clearly a much better runner than he is a passer. As DJ Durkin said, “There’s blame to go around.” Maryland needed more from every part of the offense, and didn’t get it.
Just all of Maryland’s offense. When one part of your offense isn’t working, it’s going to affect the other part. When Maryland can’t run the ball, passing is going to be much harder. And Maryland isn’t doing a good job of passing the ball, so things can snowball. Maryland only had one drive that lasted longer than two minutes in the first three quarters, and that still ended in a punt. Offensive coordinator Walt Bell has some problems to fix, and he knows it.
Maryland’s bowl hopes. The Terps absolutely have to beat Michigan State or Indiana to get bowl-eligible. This assumes they can handle Rutgers in the season finale. Maryland’s 4-2, and it’s very unlikely either of those two necessary wins come against Nebraska, Ohio State or Michigan. Luckily for Maryland, Michigan State is in a down year right now. The Terps enter a game next week that they have a good chance of winning.