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Film room: Maryland football showed promise despite depleted roster in 27-11 loss to Indiana

The Terps kept it close against one of the top teams in the country but struggled to execute.

Maryland v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Maryland football stumbled its way to a 27-11 loss at No. 12 Indiana Saturday as 23 players sat out due to positive coronavirus tests.

The Terps made mistakes on both sides of the ball, but their depth also showed promise against a top team.

Here is a look at the film.

Maryland’s defense controlled the line on passing downs

The Terps held Indiana to five three-and-outs across 14 drives, as well as forcing a turnover on downs in the red zone.

Defensive coordinator Jon Hoke faced criticism after the team’s blowout loss against Northwestern, but has dialed up the pressure since and it has paid off.

Maryland disguised its defense on this third down with six players crowding the line, but only sent three pass rushers.

Linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II stayed back on a quarterback spy, giving delay pressure, and having seven players in coverage allowed the Terps to get a key stop. The opening drive for the Hoosiers lasted just 46 seconds.

Whether Maryland disguised its pressure or simply ran with its front, the Terps were able to bully the Indiana offensive line in passing situations.

Here, Maryland set up with four down linemen and made Michael Penix Jr. beat them with his arm. Having six deep in coverage and a spy by Campbell made it hard for Penix to put the ball anywhere in the field of play.

Goal line rush defense is still an issue

Maryland has struggled mightily this season in the red zone, with opponents scoring on 85 percent of trips inside the 20.

Within those struggles, the Terps have also allowed 10 touchdowns on 20 trips, including three goal line rushing scores against the Hoosiers.

Maryland struggled Saturday in containing Stevie Scott III, particularly when he ran direct-snap sets.

The opening score of the game came as Scott fielded the snap and was able to delay his rush before hitting the hole that opened up. The Terps did a good job of filling the gap, but a second-ditch effort let Scott slide through a secondary hole that opened up.

When Penix went out of the game, Indiana went right back to Scott for a back-breaking score that put Maryland deep in the hole.

Similar to the game against Minnesota, the Terps overloaded the middle of the line by crashing down and failed contain the edge. Jordan Mosley bit down and was blocked off by the tight end, leaving Hyppolite as the only free defender guarding between the hash mark and pylon.

Tagovailoa made a number of misreads

Taulia Tagovailoa struggled when Maryland faced Northwestern in the season opening game with three interceptions given to the Wildcats.

Against Indiana, the signal caller seemed to fall back into a similar slump after two weeks without a game and a shake up in the practice schedule.

Tagovailoa’s second interception of the day came despite having plenty of time to survey the field. He dropped back in the pocket and went through his progressions, but as a defender closed in, Tagovailoa opted to try and take the hit and force the ball to a receiver in double coverage at the first down marker.

The Terps got saved thanks to some defensive effort by the offense, butTagovailoa should have stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure, take another look at his options and then either scramble or throw it away if nothing was open.

Tagovailoa’s biggest misread of the afternoon came as Maryland called for a read option from inside its own five yard line.

In this situation it is paramount to get the ball out of the endzone and upfield, but Tagovailoa misreads the unblocked end and the play ends as a disaster.

The motioned blocker, tight end Malik Jackson, actually fakes cracking down on the the edge rusher, which may have messed with Tagovailoa’s read off the snap, but handing off to Peny Boone would have been the better read.