Written By Alex Compton and Sammy Jacobs
Week Nine: Maryland Terrapins
Date & Time: Saturday, October 28th, 3:30 or 4:00 pm
Venue: Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium (54,000)
Terrapins at a Glance
Head Coach: D.J. Durkin
Entering his 2nd full year as head coach and 2nd year at Maryland
Overall Record: 7-7
At Maryland: 6-7
Terrapins Last Season: 6-7 lost 36-30 to Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl
Terrapin Returning Leaders
Passing: Tyrell Pigrome (52.1 pct. 322 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)
Rushing: Ty Johnson (110 att. 1,004 yards 9.1 YPC 6 TDs)
Receiving: DJ Moore (41 rec. 637 yards, 15.5 YPR, 6 TD)
Tackles: LB Shane Cockerille (108 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 PBUs 1 QBHs 1 FF)
Athlon’s: 6th in the Big Ten East
Lindy’s: 5th in the Big Ten East
Street & Smith’s: 5th in The Big Ten East
Phil Steele: 6th in the Big Ten East
Impact Newcomers For The Terrapins
1. Caleb Henderson, QB- Even though Henderson was a part of the Terrapin program last season, he sat out due to NCAA rules after transferring from North Carolina so he is technically a newcomer.
Maryland has had subpar quarterback play since joining the Big Ten and the position is a huge question mark again this season. Henderson, a redshirt junior who was a highly regarded recruit out of high school, will be in a battle with Tyrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager for the starting spot. The Virginia native should have the upper hand as he possess the best arm and is adequate enough running the ball for the Maryland offense to work. If Henderson can bring Maryland’s quarterback play up to par, the Terps have a ton of weapons around him to have one of the better offenses in the conference.
2. Deon Jones, CB- If DJ Durkin can recruit the state of Maryland well, he will have the Terrapins making noise in the Big Ten year after year. There is an insane amount of talent that comes out of the area annually, and one of those guys is Deon Jones. The four-star was rated as the third-best prospect in the state and just outside the top 100 nationally according to 247 Sports. His technique is spotty (as with most incoming freshmen), as sometimes he will float around the field and take himself completely out of the play. His closing instincts are excellent, and while he doesn’t have crazy speed, his 6’1” frame and nose for the ball should more than make up for it. JC Jackson will be a starter at one of the corner spots, and the other one figures to be up for grabs. Watch for Jones.
3. Markquese Bell, DB- Another four-star recruit makes his way to College Park, and Bell is going to be a good one. The New Jersey native was a Top 100 player out of high school, and projects as a key contributor in the secondary as a true freshman. His blend of athleticism and instinct makes him play a lot like our own Jonathan Crawford, and he will likely be creating turnovers for Maryland his entire career. He also played a ton of offense in high school, which could allow him to get the ball in his hands on special teams or even offense. Jones and Bell were both great gets for Durkin, and they should pay dividends immediately.
Why The Terps Will Come out Victorious
This Maryland Terrapin team has some talent, and D.J. Durkin has brought in a very good recruiting class to join the group in 2017. Maryland has two outstanding running backs in Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison, who combined for 1637 yards and 11 touchdowns. Add four-star recruit Anthony McFarland Jr. to that mix and couple them with a solid offensive line, and Maryland should have one of the better running games in the conference.
Maryland’s Weak Links
Besides D.J. Moore, who is going to catch passes for the Terps? The stellar junior is back, and he is one of the Big Ten’s most electrifying playmakers. He’ll take jet sweeps, catch screens and head deep, but who is going to make sure he can’t get doubled all season? Maryland returns 3 catches and 21 yards from last year’s receiving group. Seriously. 3 catches. There are some talented freshmen coming in, but Indiana’s experienced and very talented secondary should be able to keep Moore in check and make these other new guys beat them. I think they will struggle heavily at moving the ball through the air to anyone not named D.J. Moore.
So the guys catching the passes are inexperienced, but at least they have a great quarterback that will make them better right? Well, not quite. Maryland has struggled over the last few seasons at getting quality quarterback play, and this year could be much of the same. I touched on it above, but the quarterback position is a huge question mark and potential red flag for Maryland this year. You could see the battle carry over into the season and watch them all start games throughout the season. You could realistically get radically different quarterback play from week to week, and this is certainly a weak link. The combination of spotty quarterback play and unproven receivers is certainly going to be tough for Maryland to overcome.
Why The Hoosiers Will Win Their Third in a Row vs. Maryland
Indiana will be a much more balanced team than Maryland, and that makes a big difference over the course of a game. Maryland’s possible inability to have a consistent passing attack will let IU’s secondary play man coverage and drop down in the box to stop their stable of talented backs. On the other side of the ball, a young secondary for Maryland should be able to be taken advantage of by Richard Lagow and IU’s loaded group of receivers. IU’s balance and best skill groups matching up against Maryland’s weak spots will ultimately prove to be too much to handle.
Bottom line: the Terps were a bowl team last year, and Indiana is a matchup opponent who Maryland has to beat at home if they are going to be successful in the Big Ten. Both teams are talented, but Maryland is still a year away from having enough talented depth.