Maryland football was hoping to regain momentum after a tough outing at Purdue, but fell short against Indiana on Saturday.
The Terrapins were handed a 34-28 loss, in a matchup that came down to the final minute. The Hoosiers racked up 520 yards despite having to switch to backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the second quarter.
That switch was one of the key reasons Indiana was able to keep pace ahead of Maryland, but here is a closer look at the good and bad from Saturday’s matchup.
Peyton Ramsey made a difference with his feet
Indiana came into Saturday’s matchup sporting redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr, who had completed 75 percent of his passes for 568 yards and seven touchdowns over the last two games.
When he left the game at the beginning of the second quarter, Maryland immediately had deja vu with Peyton Ramsey heading in to lead the offense. Ramsey is the same quarterback who threw for 243 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and added 25 yards on six carries in a 34-32 win over the Terps last season.
On top of throwing for 193 yards and a touchdown, Ramsey was able to keep the Maryland defense off balance with his legs, rushing for 47 yards on eight carries.
Ramsey is a quarterback with some sneaky athleticism, and Indiana head coach Tom Allen made sure to use every bit of his abilities to help pull out the win.
In the third quarter, the Hoosiers enlisted Ramsey to use running back Stevie Scott III – who ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns against the Terps – as a decoy in the read option game. To start the half, this set was used to get some breathing room for the offense, while at towards the end of the quarter it help set up a redzone chance that ended with a touchdown.
Peyton Ramsey making things happen with his legs.— Sean Montiel (@SeanMMontiel) October 19, 2019
Huge third-down pickup for the Hoosiers. pic.twitter.com/cRztnuS5cj
In the fourth quarter with the Terrapins staying on the Hoosiers’ heels, Ramsey was able to escape pressure from an Ayinde Eley blitz by flushing out to his right and then weaving his way through open space for the first down.
The Terrapins’ inability to contain Ramsey to his pocket or look to fill gaps opened the door for Ramsey to play hero throughout the game and keep the Hoosiers one step ahead in the race. His ability to use his legs helped keep the Maryland defense off balance and unable to key in on the run or pass in certain instances to make plays.
Maryland’s redzone defense held its own
Despite giving up 520 yards of offense, the Terrapin defense did its best in keeping the game close enough for the offense to have a chance to win the game by making things difficult in the redzone.
In the first half, Maryland showed off a smooth defensive transition that led to an interception.
Indiana had shown an affinity of throwing to tight ends and checking down to running backs, but the Terps were able to drop back in coverage despite having five men across the line of scrimmage.
This coverage forced Michael Penix Jr. to make a decision, where his throw to tight end Peyton Hendershot was deflected back to Antoine Brooks Jr who hauls it in. That interception then resulted into a drive capped off by Javon Leake’s 60-yard touchdown run to level the score.
Late in the fourth quarter, Indiana was able to strip the ball from Leake deep inside Maryland territory and retain possession at the 15 yard line.
A touchdown would have been a dagger for the Terps with Indiana already up three, but a run stuff on first down, and incomplete pass on second down and a key sack on third down only allowed the Hoosiers to extend the lead to six points.
By holding Indiana to just three points on those two drives, the Maryland defense created an 11 point advantage – keeping it a one-score game – that the offense was simply unable to capitalize off of.
On the offensive side, Javon Leake proved himself
With Anthony McFarland Jr. ruled out of Saturday’s game, that left Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis to carry the load for what has been the strongest part of the Maryland offense.
Maryland used a zone blocking technique to create a lane right up the middle for Leake to hit, resulting in a 60-yard touchdown. The Hoosier defense actually committed and bit on the outside run with Bryant Fitzgerald (No. 31) sealing off the edge, but leaving just enough room to squeeze through the middle.
Late in the third quarter, Maryland lined up in a weak I-formation, trying to make it a one score ball game. The coaching staff made a gutsy call for a strong-side option that resulted in Leake’s second touchdown of the game.
Not only was his speed a factor, but Leake was able to power his way through contact at the two yard line and stretch for the pylon.
Even with the injuries suffered at the running back position by McFarland, Jake Funk and Lorenzo Harrison, Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis have shown they can keep up the rushing pace.
Look for the Terps to not feel the need to rush McFarland back from injury due to the talent still possessed by the running back room.
Tyrrell Pigrome played well, but the final interception was a dagger
Starting his second game in place of Josh Jackson, Pigrome finished the game completing 62.9 percent of his passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The offense seemed to lack consistency, as it would randomly outburst for scores and then stall continuously, but ultimately the Terps were in this game until the final minute.
After moving the ball down the field a bit at the end, Maryland decided to take a vertical shot down the field that resulted in a game-clinching interception by Indiana.
Pigrome spoke after the game and broke down this play by mentioned the cloud coverage that the Hoosiers had played at time during the game. It seemed like three-deep coverage by the safeties, giving Pigrome the impression he could fit the ball over the linebacker for a completion, but the ball sailed high and deep into the arms of the backside safety.
The bottom line
Maryland is a team that has been hampered by injuries for the better part of this season so far, but the game against Indiana did show some promise.
With the defense stepping up to keep points off of the board and the rushing attack still accounting for 194 yards and two touchdowns without McFarland, things are not as bad as the record may show for the Terps.
Josh Jackson has taken snaps in practice and even dressed for the matchup against Indiana on Saturday. His return could potentially bring more consistent play to the offensive side of the ball and his decision-making could be the difference in any similar one-score games moving forward.
The Terrapins face an uphill battle heading into their last five games, but the fight the team showed against Indiana had some promise.