Maryland Terps

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Terps prepare to face George Mason

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Terps prepare to face George Mason

Maryland impressed in their last game, a 77-57 victory over Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terps simply outclassed the Wildcats in a dominant second half.

Even in a season opening loss to Kentucky, the Terps have looked sharp for most of their non-conference schedule, running to a 5-1 record through November. On Sunday, Maryland should face its last true non-conference test, with a neutral court game against George Mason.

Though Mason plays in the CAA and Maryland the ACC, DC locals and college basketball fans need no introduction to the Fairfax, Va., school. George Mason made its name known across the country in 2006 with a run to the Final Four that included wins over college basketball bluebloods like UConn., Michigan State and North Carolina.

Mason's success came under former coach Jim Larranaga -- who bolted to the University of Miami prior to last season -- but Mason coach Paul Hewitt has plenty of NCAA experience.

As coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hewitt led his 2004 Jackets team to the NCAA championship game. Last season Hewitt led the Patriots to a 24-9 season, though the team was left out of the NCAA Tournament.

This game will be key for Hewitt and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon as they work to guide their teams back into the NCAA Tournament. Non-conference wins play a key part in tournament selection, and a win for either squad would be a boost for their resume come March.

After playing arguably its best 20 minutes of basketball in the second half at Northwestern, the Maryland team has momentum.

Center Alex Len continues to garner serious NBA Draft buzz, while sophomore transfer Dez Wells really showed his capabilities with 23 points against the Wildcats. The Terps look to have depth and frontcourt size befit of a Top 20 team, and a win over an always-pesky Mason squad could show that to poll voters.

Led by junior guard Sherrod Wright, Mason will be a tough opponent for the Terps.

Wright averages almost 15 points on the season, not to mention the 6'4" guard hauls in about five rebounds a game. Mason already registered a win over an ACC opponent earlier this year, beating UVa. in the season opener.

Mason will not come into this game intimidated by the Terps, and it will be interesting to see how Maryland’s young team responds to the challenge.

Maryland should enjoy a noticeable size advantage over the Patriots, who are led down low by 6'8" big man Eric Copes.

With Len at 7'1" and three big forwards in James Padgett, Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, the Terps can play an aggressive style around the basket. A key to Maryland's early success has been winning the rebounding battle; something the team has done in impressive fashion every game this season.

Mason will have to make outside shots early to free up space in the middle, otherwise Maryland's big men could take over. With Wright at the helm Mason could have the advantage from the outside, though Maryland guard Pe'Shon Howard has been playing improved defense this season.

With a vocal crowd expected and fans of both schools on hand at the Verizon Center, the game could resemble an early-round NCAA Tournament matchup. A preview of a postseason experience both teams would like to achieve. 

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No. 10 Ohio State, J.T. Barrett rout Maryland

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USA Today Sports

No. 10 Ohio State, J.T. Barrett rout Maryland

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- J.T. Barrett threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the first half, and No. 10 Ohio State had its most dominant defensive effort in nearly 60 years, routing Maryland 62-14 on Saturday.

The stingy Buckeyes held Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) to 66 total yards -- their fewest yards allowed since yielding 60 against Indiana in 1960.

"I thought the line of scrimmage was dominated," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

Barrett, a fifth-year senior and holder of most of the school's passing records, was 20 for 31 for 261 yards before taking a seat near end of the third quarter. Barrett threw scoring passes to Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Terry McLaurin.

Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) overwhelmed quarterback Max Bortenschlager, holding the Terrapins to 16 passing yards and only six first downs. Bortenschlager, who was promoted to a starting role after injuries to the Terrapin's top two QBs, was only 3-of-12 passing.

He didn't complete a pass until the second quarter and was sacked four times before being shaken up and leaving the game in the third. Bortenschlager was hit in the head by cornerback Damon Arnette while sliding on a scramble, resulting in Arnette being kicked out for targeting. Caleb Henderson played the rest of the way, and Maryland managed a meaningless touchdown against Ohio State's backups with 4:11 left in the game.

"They outplayed us and outcoached us, and that's the result," Maryland coach D.J. Durkin said.

One of the few highlights for Maryland was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ty Johnson, the first time in nearly two years the Terps have returned a kickoff for a score.

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Johnson's big run lifts Maryland over Minnesota, 31-24

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Johnson's big run lifts Maryland over Minnesota, 31-24

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ty Johnson rushed for 130 yards and a 34-yard touchdown run with 1:10 to play to lift Maryland to a 31-24 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

Max Bortenschlager completed 18 of 28 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score for the Terrapins (3-1). Lorenzo Harrison III added 75 yards rushing and Maryland racked up 262 yards on the ground against a Minnesota defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country against the run.

Conor Rhoda was 13 for 26 for 229 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for previously unbeaten Minnesota (3-1). Tyler Johnson had three catches for 69 yards, but the Golden Gophers rushed for just 80 yards.

D.J. Moore caught eight passes for 90 yards and a touchdown for Maryland.

The Terrapins have already lost two starting quarterbacks -- Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill -- to season-ending knee injuries this year.

Bortenschlager looked overwhelmed at times last week when he was thrust into surprise duty following Hill's injury. Given a week to practice as the starter, he looked much more comfortable. He squeezed a throw in between two Gophers defenders on fourth-and-11 from the Gophers 31 in the first quarter. D.J. Turner made a leaping catch for a 22-yard gain, setting up Bortenschlager's 7-yard draw for a touchdown to get Maryland on the board.

He came up big again in the fourth quarter on third-and-goal from the 4, rolling to his right and hitting a wide-open Jake Funk in the flat for a 24-17 lead. It was the first time an opponent has scored against Minnesota's defense in the second half this season.

The Gophers tied the game midway through the fourth quarter when Shannon Brooks scored with four minutes to play, but Bortenschlager gave Maryland its ninth third-down conversion of the game at the Minnesota 39 and Ty Johnson burst through the line and went untouched for the touchdown to seal the victory.