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'Different guy' trying to fix Maryland's 106th-ranked rush attack

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'Different guy' trying to fix Maryland's 106th-ranked rush attack

COLLEGE PARK -- It hit Maryland running back Brandon Ross for the first time during spring ball earlier this year.

Five years ago when head coach Randy Edsall took over in College Park, Ross was one of the younger players on a roster that has seen significant turnover at the position since.

He looked around at camp and realized it. Now, he’s the old guy -- and not the same player than he has been in the past.

“There’s something different about him. I see a different Brandon Ross,” Edsall said at practice this week.

“Whatever he did, whether it’s physically, mentally. I like what he’s done. To me, he’s a different guy this preseason and maybe it’s because it’s his last go-around but I like that he’s working hard, he’s being productive, he’s seeing things, he’s running with great vision, and doing the things necessary in order to put himself in a position that he has.”

Ross acknowledges it -- the change Edsall sees -- as he begins the final chapter of his five-year college career.

“It’s a different feel when it’s your last year,” he told CSN. “You really just want to leave it all out on the field for your coaches, your teammates, really just playing for your family and stuff.”

MORE TERPS: TRACING STEPS FROM ONE-TIME STARTING QB TO POSSIBLE THIRD-STRINGER

What was once a crowded backfield has thinned in the offseason with the transfer of Albert Reid and Jacquille Veii. Ross now undeniably leads the pack, alongside Wes Brown and freshman Ty Johnson.

And there should be carries on the table after the graduation of quarterback C.J. Brown, who was a more pure option quarterback than the three players competing for the starting job this season -- Perry Hills, Daxx Garman, and Caleb Rowe.

Ross looks poised to take on those responsibilities.

“He’s more decisive and I think he has a really good understanding of what’s happening in front of him and I think the one thing is he’s playing with a lot of confidence, too,” Edsall said. “I see a much more confident running back this preseason than what I saw before.”

Maryland’s running game was among the nation’s least productive last season. The Terrapins ranked 106th in yards per carry at just 3.4 in 2014 behind an offensive line that even Edsall admitted needed to be beefed up to deal with a more physical fight in the Big Ten trenches.

Ross’ average was much higher than the team’s, at 4.8 yards per carry, but his total carries were nearly cut in half compared to the 2013 season.

With Brown’s departure from under center, perhaps those numbers return closer to where they were in 2013.

“In the past, I haven’t always had my focus level right,” Ross said. “I wasn’t always as strong as I could have been and that’s really one thing I wanted to change year-by-year in the program.

“I just want to be like an all-around back. If I can get more carries, that’s great.”

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Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  -- Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Allen changed tactics this week.

Instead of focusing on one game, he took the big-picture approach and his players responded.

Stevie Scott's late, long run set up Logan Justus for a 42-yard go-ahead field goal with 2:32 to play and Nile Sykes recovered a fumble in the final minute to preserve Indiana's 34-32 come-from-behind to keep Indiana in the postseason discussion.

"I didn't want to talk about going to bowl games, but I just said, `You know what, forget all that, I'm talking about bowl games' because they're big," Allen said. "I'm going to call these guys out on it and say that's what we're playing for."

After a slow start, the Hoosiers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) rebounded with three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes in the first half then closed with a flurry to snap a four-game skid. They need one more victory to become bowl-eligible.

At least they still have a chance and largely because they got contributions from each phase.

Scott carried 19 times for 103 yards and one touchdown. Peyton Ramsey went 16 of 28 with 243 yards, two TD passes and one interception and also made two shifty moves on a 35-yard scoring run in the first half.

The defense held Maryland (5-5, 3-4) to field goals on its first two trips into the red zone and forced four turnovers, including the sealing strip-sack of backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.

Justus made all four extra points and two field goals, something Maryland could not. A missed extra point and a failed 2-point conversion with 4:54 left took crucial points off the board for Maryland, spoiling Anthony McFarland's career-best day. He ran 29 times for 210 yards in relief of the injured Ty Johnson.

With the loss for Maryland, their bowl hopes have taken a significant hit.

All the team needs is one more win to extend their season by a game and make the postseason. Their remaining two games are against Top 25 opponents Ohio State and Penn State. 

Maryland's lone Top 25 win this season was in the opening week against Texas. 

"This isn't the last game of the season," interim coach Matt Canada said. "Oh my gosh we wanted to win, we certainly could have."

It sure wasn't easy for the Hoosiers , either, even after they took a 31-15 lead midway through the third quarter.

Maryland charged back after Javon Leake returned a kickoff 47 yards to the Indiana 27-yard line. Two plays later, Leake scooted right and sprinted 27 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Pigrome's 2-point conversion pass to McFarland made it 31-23.

The Terrapins closed to 31-26 on a field goal early in the fourth and retook the lead when Pigrome hooked up with Jeshaun Jones on a 15-yard TD pass.

But when Tayon Fleet-Davis' run was stopped short of the goal line, Indiana took advantage.

Following a 23-yard kickoff return to the Indiana 40, Scott broke free down the right side of the field and went out of bounds at the Maryland 33. Four plays later, Justus made the decisive field goal.

"It was amazing," Justus said. "I was kind of just spacing out, I was really excited."

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this story. 

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Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

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USA Today Sports

Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

Dino Tomlin, the son of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, announced on Twitter Tuesday he has committed to play for the Maryland football team. 

A three-star wide receiver, Tomlin becomes the first Terps commit since D.J. Durkin's firing. He is known for his speed, running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and is the defending Pennsylvania state champion in the 300m hurdles. 

"I felt it was the right place for me to develop," Tomlin told 24/7 Sports. "Get to see good competition. Close to family. Get to play schools that passed on me," Tomlin said.

There is a family connection with Tomlin and Maryland as well: his uncle, Ed, played for the Terps.

As for the scandal surrounding Maryland football, Tomlin doesn't have too many concerns.

"I feel like they handled it appropriately at this point," he said. "I kind of knew I was going to commit a week or so ago. I just let it pan out."