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4 takeaways from Maryland football’s loss at Michigan

The Terps got nothing going and took a drubbing in the Big House.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 Michigan walked all over Maryland football on Saturday, 42-21. The Terps held even early and tried to rally late, but in the end were thoroughly outclassed by a superior opponent.

The game started over an hour late, in a delay that didn’t seem to benefit either side. Once it kicked off, the Wolverines were as stout on defense as advertised, and Maryland’s defense tried to hold its own until the floodgates broke. After an early stalemate, the Wolverines took over and never looked back.

Maryland’s offense wasn’t able to get anything going.

Even without star defensive end Rashan Gary, Michigan’s defense gave the Terps no room to operate for much of the game. Kasim Hill was constantly under pressure and sacked twice in the first half. Even after defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour, who had an early sack, left the game with an injury, nothing opened up. Through the first half, the Terps ran 17 plays to Michigan’s 44 and were outgained 291 yards to 42.

The Terps only had two offensive touchdowns. The longest was a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a jet sweep by Javon Leake early in the fourth quarter. The kicker: it came a play after running back Ty Johnson was helped off the field with an apparent injury. Hill was pulled for the game after a fourth-quarter interception turned into a pick-six, before Tyrrell Pigrome added a garbage-time score, but it was too little, too late.

The defense held for a while, but then the floodgates opened.

The defense was an early bright spot, able to hold on the money downs early, keeping Maryland in the game despite the lack of offense. Through the first quarter, the Terps held Michigan to just 1-of-4 on third down and added an interception. They got some help from Wade Lees and special teams, but then Shea Patterson got going.

Following the interception, Patterson led touchdown drives of 95 and 64 yards to close out the half. Maryland was never really able to put the genie back in the bottle. The Wolverines went 6-for-6 on third down in the second quarter and went on to finish 9-for-13 in the game. Once Patterson found his groove, he exploited every weakness he could find to help orchestrate 465 yards of Michigan offense.

The penalties didn’t help at all.

There was a long period of time when the Terps had more penalties than yards. They finished with 220 total yards but were called for 12 penalties totaling 107 yards. To open the second half, Maryland was called for three offensive penalties to set up a second-and-30. That drive ended with a punt on fourth-and-36.

The penalties not only kneecapped Maryland during the game, but a couple have consequences for next week as well. Maryland will start the next game down two playmakers on defense, as Tre Watson and Rayshad Lewis will be suspended for the first half against Rutgers after both picked up targeting penalties in the third.

The running back room may have gotten even thinner.

The Terps entered the season with one of the deepest running back rooms in the country and came into the game with the nation’s No. 10 rushing offense. The room had already thinned a bit, with Jake Funk recovering from a broken hand and Lorenzo Harrison out for the year after suffering a knee injury in practice. Now potentially add Johnson, Maryland’s lead back, to the list.

Johnson did all he could to keep the Terps in the game early. After Maryland gave up the game’s first field goal, he responded with a 98-yard return to give Maryland its only lead of the day at 7-3. The Terps would end the game with 147 rushing yards, but that number is largely buoyed by 101 yards on the ground in the fourth.

If Johnson’s injury proves to be serious, that elevates redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland to lead back with just Tayon Fleet-Davis and Javon Leake as backups until Funk returns. McFarland is a weapon and there’s still a good amount of talent in that room, but losing Johnson would be significant.