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Undisciplined and (Mostly) Untested, September Maryland Enters Big Ten Play

Can the Terps overcome mountains of penalties and the inability to cover ace wide receivers once the calendar turns to March? Larry looks at the 3-0 Terps’ latest triumph.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

So, let’s start with an existentialist question:

If you were going to be tortured and were given the choice of watching any portion of Iowa’s offense against the mighty Jackrabbits of SDSU — here you go, someone somehow concocted 22 minutes of “highlights”...

...or the first 9 minutes of the 3rd quarter of MD’s game agaisnt SMU, which would you choose?

Maryland Terrapins 34, SMU Mustangs 27

Let me steer you toward the Iowa shitshow, unless, of course you have a perverse taste for really bad football.

Maryland started the 2nd half down 20-17. The Terps got the ball to open the 2nd half and promptly drove down to SMU’s 9 yard line in less than 1:30 for a 1st and goal. Jeshaun Jones caught a touchdown pass, which was negated by a holding call and a Jeshaun Jones taunting call after catching the ball in the end zone and trying to give the ball to the defender. It was his 2nd 15-yd unsportmanlike conduct penalty of the game. The first was for totally laying out a defender on a blind-side hit while blocking on a Taulia QB scramble. In the blink of an eye, it was 3rd and goal from the 31. Fortunately, Maryland landed Chad Ryland from Eastern Michigan and he nailed a 40+ yd field goal to tie the game at 20.

On SMU’s following possession, SMU did nothing but run plays so the Terps could get called for penalties. On this drive, Maryland was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the passer, and pass interference.

Yep. That’s 45 yards right there.

Frosh phenom LB Jaishawn Barham was flagged for pushing an SMU player in the back after said SMU player apparently purposely planted a cleat on Barham’s foot after the play. Dirty bullshit? Yes. But, you can’t react to it. It’s always the guy the reacts to the initial stuff that gets called.

SMU’s stellar QB, Tanner Mordecai, was not so stellar on the last play of this drive. He fumbled at the goal line and Maryland somehow withstood their own self-inflicted wounds. The Terps took over and went nowhere, punting from their own end zone. SMU had a short field and responded with a TD to go up 27-20. [Ed. note: It was at this point that Larry emailed his SMCD contribution on how Maryland had lost.]

Maryland got the ball on the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, they coughed up the ball on a fumble at mid-field. At this point, there was 6:23 left in the 3rd quarter. SMU had the ball at mid-field, up 27-20 with Maryland seemingly losing the game and all of their composure.

Which brings us to...

The Good:

Once again, DC Brian Williams made some stellar in-game adjustments and MD pitched a shut-out for the rest of the game against a very potent SMU offense. Let me remind you, MD was ranked 104/130 in 2021. Horrid.

Maryland’s defense is not good. We’re just striving for competent/average. So, the defense slotting in again this week as Good is obviously, a relative sliding scale based on where they have been. It wasn’t pretty. Actually, it was quite ugly, like your sister. But they got the stops when they needed to. So, yea, for Maryland football, the defense was Good.

Rushing game. Good. 36 rushes for 227 yards with a corresponding average of 6.3 yds per rush. Remember when folks were saying this was a talented, but unproven bunch and potentially a liability? So far, so good.

But, it is still September and beautiful Cinderella Maryland still exists. Let’s wait until the October chill arrives and that Terps offense turns into a pumpkin and gets squashed by 350 lb B1G D-linemen before we get too excited.

But, for Week 3, these numbers are promising. [Note: SMU decided Maryland was going to have to beat them running the ball, dropping tons of players into pass coverage, which really helped the rushing attack. Taulia was efficient, just not spectacular - 17/23 (74% completion rate), 214 yards passing with 2 TDs and a stellar 180 QBR.]

Great. Rashee Rice. SMU WR. 11 receptions for 193 yards with Maryland players draped all over him all night. Numerous PI calls were negated because he caught the ball anyway. Incredible receiver.

The Putrid:

Penalties and discipline. See above. The lovely penalty total: 15 penalties for 141 yards with numerous PI calls declined because Rashee Rice caught the damn ball anyway.

Up Next:

Michigan at the Big House. Yes, UM’s scehdule has been less than formidable. Don’t sleep on that Wolverine schedule—it’s so soft, it’ll fuck up your back. But, see above. Penalties are an ongoing issue from last year that has not been fixed.

It ain’t gonna fixed in a week. Michigan’s only weakness, if you can call it that, is the O-line. Maryland’s pass pro has been shit. So, no advantage there. Michigan’s D is waaaaayyyyyyyyyy better than Maryland’s. The Terps and their metric shit ton of penalties will get trucked this week at the Big House.