Maryland 3-5 (1-4 in Big Ten)
Last Result: Minnesota 52 Maryland 10
Maryland continued its skid this past weekend against the Golden Gophers, losing in embarrassing fashion for their fifth loss in their last six games. The Terrapins' bid for an upset was doomed from the beginning, as Minnesota scored on their first three possessions and went up 28-0 before Maryland finally got on the board with a 31-yard field goal just before the half.
The Maryland offense gained just 210 yards on the day, which included a garbage-time 59-yard touchdown pass to running back Tayon Fleet-Davis. The offensive struggles have not been knew to Maryland, as they have scored an average of 19.5 points per game in their last six contests after starting the year with 79 and 63 points in wins over Howard and Syracuse.
The quarterback carousel keeps turning for the Terps -- they played three different quarterbacks in the first half alone. The Maryland passing attack is averaging 182.0 yards per game in a stretch in which UMD is 1-5.
The starter at the beginning of the season, a former Saline, Mich., signal-caller previously of Virginia Tech and the son of long-time U-M running backs coach Fred, Josh Jackson was active after sitting out the last three weeks with an ankle injury, but saw just one series of playing time , which resulted in a 3-and-out.
Jackson never returned after that series, and it isn't clear if he is healthy enough to play in the game this Saturday.
Junior Tyrell Pigrome, who started his third straight game, threw two interceptions, including a 72-yard pick six before he left the game with an injury. Both of Pigrome’s interceptions hit off the hands of Maryland leading receiver Dontay Demus Jr.
After Pigrome left the game, redshirt freshman Tyler DeSue entered for the first time this season and finished the game 4-for-12 for 88 yards and a touchdown.
According to The Washington Post, Jackson is "likely but not certain to start" against Michigan this weekend.
Though it struggled against Minnesota, with just 79 yards and 3.43 yards per carry, the running game has been a source of pride for the Terrapins, averaging 186.0 yards in its first three games of October and 6.1 yards per carry.
The Terps defense gave up more than 450 yards for the third straight week and ranks second worst in the Big Ten in both yards allowed per game (424.0) and points allowed per contest (29.0).
In its last five games Maryland has given up an average of 38.4 points per game and has also allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 330 yards in three of those contests. However, this weekend Maryland wasn’t dominated through the air, but was dominated up front, the Gophers running for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
The Terrapins' Record Since Joining the Big Ten
2019: 3-5 (1-4 in Big Ten)
2018: 5-7 (3-6 in Big Ten)
2017: 4-8 (2-7 in Big Ten)
2016: 6-7 (3-6 in Big Ten)
2015: 3-9 (1-7 in Big Ten)
2014: 7-6 (4-4 in Big Ten)
How has Maryland Fared vs Ranked Opponents in Recent Years?
Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Maryland has never won a game against a ranked Big Ten opponent, going 0-19. In those 19 games, the Terrapins have given up an average of 45.0 points per game, while only scoring an average of 12.0 points themselves.
In fact, only once in a matchup with ranked Big Ten opponents since 2014 has it been a one-possession contest: last season against No. 9 Ohio State, the Terps lost 52-51 in overtime, failing on a two-point conversion on the last play of the game.
Although Maryland has struggled against ranked Big Ten teams, they have done well in recent ranked matchups outside of conference play; the Terrapins are 3-0 against Top 25 teams out of conference since 2014, beating No. 23 Texas to begin the 2017 and 2018 seasons (the Longhorns were ranked No. 23 both times), and defeating No. 21 Syracuse this season.
The last four seasons, Maryland has played a ranked Wolverine team every year and has been outscored 164-34 in those four losses, the closest outcome coming in 2018, when U-M won by 21 points.
Players to Watch Offense
The Maryland Running Back Duo
The Terps have been splitting carries between two of the best running backs in the Big Ten in sophmore Anthony McFarland Jr. and junior Javon Leake. Both McFarland Jr. and Leake have seven rushing touchdowns, and the duo has combined for 921 yards, with 6.4 yards per carry.
The running back tandem also gets involved in the passing game, combining for 21 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.
McFarland led the team in rushing yards last season with 1,034 yards, while Leake led the team in rushing touchdowns with seven. McFarland has started seven of eight games this year, sitting out against Indiana.
The Maryland pair, is coming off one of their worst games last weekend, accounting for just 102 yards total.
Dontay Demus Jr., Sophomore, Wide Receiver
The 6-3, 200-pound wideout from Washington D.C. had a rough game against the Gophers last weekend, letting two balls that could have been caught slip through his hands and ultimately result in interceptions.
Despite the struggles, Demus is still Maryland’s most trusted wide receiver. The sophomore leads the team in receptions with 31, receiving yards with 487 and receiving touchdowns with four.
Demus is not only Maryland’s best receiver but also its deep threat, averaging 15.7 yards per reception, and has already caught 62- and 80-yard touchdown passes. Demus' big-play ability is one of the reasons the Terps rank third in the Big Ten in plays over 20 yards (44) and first in plays of 30 yards or more (23).
Two Players to Watch Defense
Ayinde Eley, Sophomore, Linebacker
The sophomore out of Silver Spring, Md., ranks eighth in the Big Ten in tackles with 61. The 6-3, 226-pound linebacker has also come up with an interception, a sack and fumble recovery, as well as three passes defended, which is tied for the lead among Terrapin players.
The leading tackler for the Terps has had five games with at least seven tackles. Eley has seen a much bigger role at linebacker for Maryland this year - he only had 13 tackles a season ago.
Keandre Jones, Senior, Linebacker
The 6-3, 220-pound linebacker for the Terps has been the best pass rusher for Maryland, leading the team with six sacks, which is five more than anyone else on the team.
The senior from Olney, Md., played his first three collegiate seasons at Ohio State, where he barely saw the field before transferring to College Park for his final season of eligibility. Jones has forced a fumble and recovered one for the Terrapins this season.
The former five-star has been on the winning side of the battle against the Wolverines previously in his college career, however, this Saturday he will be looking to shock the college football world as an underdog.