Maryland lost its sixth game in a row Saturday, dropping a 31-24 result to Wisconsin in a performance that added to an generally disappointing day for the program.
After four-star athlete Trevon Diggs surprisingly announced his committment to Alabama over the Terrapins not long before kickoff, the team looked as good as it had all season – for a while.
After tying up the game at 17 heading into halftime, Maryland couldn't get anything going in the second half, and the team's defense was on the field too often to remain effective. Maryland's offense stalled in the second half. The Terps mounted a late challenge, but a potential game-tying onside kick touchdown return – if it had been allowed – was nullified by a crushing offsides call.
With starting running back Corey Clement out nursing an injury, Wisconsin couldn't get its run game going against a stout Maryland defense. Dare Ogunbowale, Clement's replacement, was held to 47 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Maryland's offense had been thriving on Perry Hills's running ability lately, but the Badgers contained him the entire game. After out-gaining Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley and Akrum Wadley in the team's previous three games, Hills couldn't get by many Wisconsin defenders on Saturday, finishing with negative 14 yards on the ground. Maryland's passing attack wasn't good either. After going 6-for-16 with 107 yards through the air, Mike Locksley pulled him for Caleb Rowe, who couldn't do any better. He was 7-for-18 with 97 yards passing.
Maryland's most exciting play of the day belonged to D.J. Moore, who hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Hills in the second quarter. Moore was blanketed perfectly by Wisconsin corner Derrick Tindal on the play, but Hills placed the ball exactly where it needed to be, and Moore was able to reel in the pass, take three steps and reach the ball into the end zone to tie the game up at 17 with under a minute to go in the first half.
If it weren't for two special teams plays in the first half, this game could have turned out a lot differently. After a 6-yard run by Wes Brown put the Terps up 7-0, Wisconsin evened the game right back up on a 98-yard kick-return touchdown by Natrell Jamerson.
The loss drops Maryland to 2-and-7 on the season, and leaves the Terps with only three more chances to grab their first conference victory of the season. They travel to East Lansing to play No. 7 Michigan State next week in a game S&P+ gives the Terps a 15 percent chance of winning. After that, the team's two other chances to snag another victory this season will come against Indiana on Nov. 21 and Rutgers on Nov. 28.
Maryland absolutely shut down the Badgers offense in the first half. Wisconsin's first score came on a 98-yard kickoff return by Natrell Jamerson and the other came one play after a 61-yard gain on a fake punt. Excluding the fake punt yardage, the Badgers had only 33 total yards in the half. Stave didn't complete a pass until there were 12 minutes left into the second quarter. Maryland's offense wasn't great, but it still outgained Wisconsin's 178-94. Will Likely provided a spark in the first quarter when he took an end-around 43 yards to set up an Adam Greene field goal.
After its horrendous performance in the first half, Wisconsin's offense woke up a bit in the second. Stave rebounded from a 1-for-4 start to finish 15-for-24 with 188 yards through the air, and the Badgers rode two second-half touchdowns to victory, despite a bit of late life from Maryland.
Rowe threw a late touchdown pass to Levern Jacobs, but it wasn't enough to get Maryland back level.
Three things to know:
1. Maryland's defense was dominant, at least in the first half. The Terps only allowed three offensive touchdowns, and recorded 12 tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception. One of Maryland's highlights was back-to-back-to-back sacks by Roman Braglio, Denzel Conyers and Jesse Aniebonam in the second quarter.
2. Maryland's special teams might be in trouble. Two special teams plays ended up contributing as many as 14 points to Wisconsin's final tally: Jamerson's kick-return touchdown and the 61-yard fake punt. To make matters worse, kicker Brad Craddock appeared to suffer an injury on Jamerson's touchdown and did not return to the game. That's not good.
3. Maryland's fans showed up for homecoming. Byrd Stadium was fairly for the majority of the game, and fans stayed because they actually had something to cheer about. When the Terps exited the field for halftime, they were greeted to roars of applause by the Maryland faithful, which isn't a sentence anyone's been able to write very often this season. Fans left as the Badgers secured their lead in the second half, but that's to be expected. The announced attendance was 44,678, which is a few thousand fans short of capacity.