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Maryland Recap: After a close loss, where does Mike Locksley go from here?

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Join Larry for a look at the Terps' narrow loss, whether they can ever be sufficiently B1G, and how they can keep up with Michigan State.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Penn State at Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jahan Dotson had 11 receptions for 242 yards. Yet Maryland was tied 14-14 entering the 4th quarter.

#23 Penn State Nittany Lions 31, Maryland Terrapins 14

Even though PSU dominated the 4th quarter, the final score does not indicate how close the game was. Down 24-14 with under 3 minutes to play, it was 2nd and 3 on PSU's 13 yard line. Maryland looked destined to cut the lead to 24-17 or 24-21 until Taulia Tagovailoa threw a pick six, effectively ending the game.

Until that fatal blow, Taulia had gone 41/57 with 1 TD and 0 INTs. They still would've had to do an onside kick or hold PSU to a 3 and out, so I won't ding Taulia too hard. He was pressing to score quickly knowing time was running out.

Neither team did much on the ground. Maryland averaged 1.8 YPC for a whopping 43 yds. PSU averaged 2.8 YPC for 93. The totals are more out of whack because the Terps gave up more yards on sacks that count against the rushing total.

Next Up: at #8 Michigan State Spartans (3pm CT, FOX)

Which brings me to next week's opponent: MSU. Why was Maryland tied 14-14 going into the 4th quarter, becasue PSU weak rushing attack couldn't take advantage of Maryland's biggest weakness that has existed since they have been in the B1G: absolutely horrible front seven play against the run.

Maryland will be Kenneth Walker's biggest proponent for winning the Heisman after he rushes for over 300 yards against the Terps. As I mentioned last week in my Indiana-MD recap, I think there should be a legitimate betting line on whether Kenneth Walker rushes for more yards than Taulia Tagovailoa passes.

Also, who gets to 300 yards first? And with how much time to play? This is going to be a repeat of the Minnesota game. The game will never be in doubt because Kenneth Walker will just grind out yard after yard, controlling the game.

Which brings me to my next topic. Mike Locksley.

I am undecided. Locksley can recruit. The offense has been pretty good, There were some genuinely good play calls on Maryland's drive to tie the score late in the 3rd quarter, which required good execution.

And the players have not quit. They played hard against an opponent that has signicantly more talent. Just like laid blame on Locks for Maryland wilting under the bright Friday night lights (both against PSU in 2019 and against Iowa this year), he deserves credit for keeping his players engaged. Iowa-OSU-Minny-Indiana-PSU-MSU-UM is a brutal stretch that can really wear down the psyche of a team. But, the deficiencies at O-line and particularly this year, at D-Line have been an ongoing problem through all the coaching changes.

For some reason, MD has just not been able to either recruit or coach the D-Line to being something, anything resembling competent. Joining the B1G in 2014 has really exposed this deficincy.

But, I look at what happened to Rutgers this past week against Wisconsin. Even a good defensive coach like Schiano can't do shit if there is a huge talent disparity in the trenches. Rutgers is currently in the same predicament as Maryland: no talent in the trenches. MD's O-line looks decent this year. Is this marginal improvement? Can we expect similar progress next year on the D-line? Or does the O-line still suck, but those probelms are being masked by Taulia? I remain on the fence with Locks.

Poll

What to do with Locks?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    He's here for a while; Maryland's not doing any better.
    (58 votes)
  • 20%
    He lasts another season and the cupboard's stocked for a good coach.
    (19 votes)
  • 15%
    Bowl game or bust in 2021.
    (14 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

And I'm sticking with my 6-6 prediction. Maryland beats Rutgers only because Maryland has a signficantly better QB.

Poll

Maryland finishes...

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    5-7
    (17 votes)
  • 59%
    6-6 with that win over Rutgers
    (60 votes)
  • 11%
    6-6 in some other wacky Maryland way
    (12 votes)
  • 8%
    7-5, over Michigan State
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    7-5, over Michigan
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    8-4, somehow
    (1 vote)
101 votes total Vote Now