This week, we’ve taken a look at Maryland’s quarterback situation from all angles. But if the Terps are going to succeed this fall, they’ll also need to stop those lining up under center for the other team. With a loaded 2017 schedule, that won’t be so easy.
Ten of Maryland’s 12 regular-season opponents return their primary quarterback from last season, something the Terps can’t say for themselves. Here’s a look at some of the most formidable names on the calendar.
JT Barrett, Ohio State (Oct. 7)
Barrett is entering what feels like his 13th season with the Buckeyes; it’s only his fifth. He started for nearly his entire redshirt freshman season after Braxton Miller went down with an injury; Barrett then suffered an injury of his own and watched Cardale Jones lead Ohio State to the College Football Playoff title. Those two split time in 2015, but Barrett was the only one left last season, when he threw 29 touchdowns and rushed for nine more. He’s one of the Heisman front-runners entering the season.
Trace McSorley, Penn State (Nov. 25)
McSorley torched Maryland last fall, adding 81 yards and a score on the ground to a pair of touchdowns through the air. He’s entering his second season as the Nittany Lions’ starter, and after taking some time to settle in last year, he’ll lead a fearsome Penn State offense that also returns running back Saquon Barkley. This will be the last game of Maryland’s regular season, so the Terps’ bowl eligibility hopes might rest on how well they contain McSorley.
Wilton Speight, Michigan (Nov. 11)
Speight made the most of his first year as the Wolverines’ starter, throwing for over 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s not as much of a threat on the ground as either Barrett or McSorley, but Michigan’s depth in the running game has kept that from being a problem.
Shane Beuchele, Texas (Sept. 2)
The former four-star recruit raised eyebrows in his college debut, when he threw for 280 yards and combined for three total touchdowns in a nationally televised, double-overtime win over Notre Dame. The rest of his freshman season was inconsistent, but he finished with nearly 3,000 yards passing and threw almost twice as many touchdowns (21) as interceptions (11). It’s unclear what kind of leap he’ll have made by the season opener, but his potential can’t be ignored.
Other returning starters
Ellis Knudson, Towson
McKenzie Milton, UCF
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin
Richard Lagow, Indiana
Giovanni Rescigno, Rutgers
New to the job
Conor Rhoda, Minnesota
Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
And even both of these two made their first career starts in College Park last season. Rhoda got the better of Tyrrell Pigrome in his first start, while Lewerke struggled against Maryland one week later.
In all, Maryland saw eight of these 12 last season, but that familiarity comes on the other side as well. While the Terps already have a good sense of who they’ll be dealing with, stopping them won’t be easy.