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Maryland's bad quarterback play didn't give its wide receivers a chance in 2015

The Terps' wideouts didn't perform well in 2015, but horrible quarterback play limited their opportunities.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our Maryland football season in review. On Tuesday, we looked at the Terps' historically bad quarterback play. Now, let's move on to the position most effected by that horribleness: wide receiver.

The Players

Levern Jacobs, junior, No. 8.

Tavion Jacobs, sophomore, No. 12.

D.J. Moore, freshman, No. 1.

Amba Etta-Tawo, junior, No. 84.

Jahvrvis Davenport, freshman, No. 85.

Malcolm Culmer, junior, No. 83.

DeAndre Lane, junior, No, 13.

William Likely, junior, No. 4.

What we thought was going to happen

We said before the season that Maryland's receiving corps had a very tough year ahead of it. With Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Jacquille Veii, Marcus Leak and Juwann Winfree all not returning, the Terps lost an astounding 73 percent of their targets from 2014. We said Maryland could make up some of the production, but we didn't anticipate such horrific production from the quarterback spot. I mean, who could have predicted that Maryland would have the second-worst quarterback rating out of the 128 FBS teams.

The numbers

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/
Catch Rate Target
Levern Jacobs WR 5'11, 188 JR 62 35 425 3 12.1 6.9 56.5% 17.7%
Taivon Jacobs WR 5'9, 165 SO 49 21 264 2 12.6 5.4 42.9% 14.0%
D.J. Moore WR 5'11, 205 FR 48 25 357 3 14.3 7.4 52.1% 13.7%
Amba Etta-Tawo WR 6'1, 200 JR 39 20 216 0 10.8 5.5 51.3% 11.1%
Jahrvis Davenport WR 5'9, 193 FR 27 11 154 1 14.0 5.7 40.7% 7.7%
Malcolm Culmer WR 5'11, 185 JR 25 15 221 2 14.7 8.8 60.0% 7.1%
DeAndre Lane WR 5'7, 175 JR 11 9 152 1 16.9 13.8 81.8% 3.1%
William Likely DB 5'7, 175 JR 7 5 17 0 3.4 2.4 71.4% 2.0%

Passing Downs

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Passing Downs S&P+ 100.9 63 110.3 33 100.0
Passing Downs Success Rate 24.5% 114 29.7% 55 30.7%
Passing Downs IsoPPP 2.09 7 1.94 112 1.77
PD Line Yards per Carry 3.48 40 2.95 44 3.21
PD Sack Rate 9.5% 97 11.8% 13 7.5%

The basics

Maryland's wide receivers performed poorly in 2015, but they weren't given much of an opportunity. Malcolm Culmer was the only receiver with more than five receptions who finished with a catch rate of 60 or higher. That's on the quarterbacks. If one guy is consistently not catching balls that are thrown to him, that's one thing. But if all of the receivers aren't catching balls that are thrown to them, that's a pattern the quarterbacks are responsible for. We saw it all season, with Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe commonly missing receivers even when they were open.

Levern Jacobs entered the season as the team's longest-tenured receiver. He ended it as the team's leader in catches (35), targets (62), yards (425) and target rate (17.7), but his production did not come close to replacing that of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. That's hardly his fault, as those two were excellent receivers who benefited from better quarterback play. Freshman D.J. Moore ended up surprising a lot of people by becoming the team's runner-up in receptions and yards, while also flashing some big-play ability on a couple of long touchdown catches.

The future

Maryland is fairly stacked at the receiver position going into 2016. This was accurate going into 2015 before Juwann Winfree and Marcus Leak left the program, but this time around it holds true even more. Assuming in-state recruits Tino Ellis and DJ Turner stay committed to the Terps, the team will have several options next season, so we shouldn't be seeing Will Likely starting at wide receiver. Add them to the stable that already includes Levern and Taivon Jacobs,  Moore, Amba Etta-Tawo, Malcolm Culmer, Jahrvis Davenport and DeAndre Lane, and new head coach DJ Durkin should not want for depth at the position.

As we noted yesterday, the team's quarterbacks probably won't be this bad next season. However, if it is indeed Rowe or Hills under center next season, the team's offense will still have the same limitations it did in 2014. If four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins ends up still coming to Maryland, all bets are off. Freshman quarterbacks are never a sure thing, but he'd certainly be a change from what we saw in 2015.