Maryland Terps

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How Wisconsin's win over Iowa helps Maryland in one way, not another


How Wisconsin's win over Iowa helps Maryland in one way, not another

Wisconsin's 67-59 victory over Iowa on Wednesday continued the trend toward unpredictability in the Big Ten this season. In some ways the Badgers winning will help Maryland down the stretch. In others, it keeps a different part of the race tight. Allow for some explanation.

The most obvious way it helps is simply wins and losses on a resume. Iowa losing to Wisconsin does not greatly change how the nation views the Hawkeyes, but Wisconsin beating Iowa gives a real indication that the Badgers are coming together under interim head coach Greg Gard and are worthy of an NCAA tournament berth. 

Maryland's road win over Wisconsin now looks better and its home loss to Wisconsin does not look quite as bad. The value of the Terrapins' win over Iowa is largely unchanged. How else does it help?

Just about a week ago, it appeared Iowa had the most favorable path to a Big Ten regular-season title. Now after back-to-back losses to Penn State on the road and Wisconsin at home, the conference is still mainly a three-team race.

Iowa, following those losses, stands at 11-4 in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Michigan remaining on the road and Indiana at home. Indiana is 12-3 with Illinois and Iowa on the road and Maryland at home remaining. Maryland is 11-4 with Purdue and Indiana remaining on the road and Illinois at home. 

Maryland could win out and finish with a 14-4 record. If that were to happen then that could put Indiana -- at best -- at 14-4 as well because Maryland winning out would have to include a Hoosier loss. Iowa has the opportunity just like Indiana or Maryland to win out and finish 14-4 and that would require beating the Hoosiers.


But there is another way to look at this where Wisconsin's win over Iowa actually does Maryland no favors.

Of course the aim is to win a share of the conference title, but another pressing goal for Maryland is to finish among the conference's top four teams and secure a double bye in the conference tournament. Yes, winning out takes care of that. But if Maryland were to drop another game or especially two, Wisconsin being on the upswing makes this race tougher.

Why is it so key to get a Top 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament?

The Terrapins face Indiana to finish the regular season on March 6. A double bye would mean not having to play until March 11, as opposed to the previous round on March 10. But more than that, a double bye eliminates the need to play another game and beyond that eliminates the possibility of taking a bad loss to a pesky team like Northwestern or Penn State -- teams hovering around the 12-seed in the Big Ten that a, say, No. 5 seed could face.

It should be clear by now that almost anyone can beat anyone else in this conference on a given night. Maryland has already found that out the hard way.

In that pursuit of a double bye, now entering the conversation are the surging Badgers (10-5) and Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans (10-5) to add to the three above-mentioned teams who are already vying for a conference title. That's before mentioning six-loss Michigan, Ohio State, and Purdue.

Had the Badgers lost to Iowa, it would have opened up some breathing room in the Top 4 conversation for Maryland (11-4). The more teams in the mix, the more your own losses make you sweat. A Hawkeye win would have put the Badgers at six conference losses and another step back in the race.

Instead, Maryland gets the aforementioned benefits of a Wisconsin win but now has to know that winning its final three games is the surest path forward in the crowded race for a Top 4 seed.

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Not the homecoming former Terp D.J. Moore was hoping for against the Redskins

Not the homecoming former Terp D.J. Moore was hoping for against the Redskins

Former Maryland Terrapin D.J. Moore made his first trip to FedEx field as an NFL star. His Carolina Panthers traveled up to Landover, Md. for a Week 6 matchup with the Washington Redskins.

However, it was not the homecoming he and the Panthers were hoping for. 

The first-round draft pick had two fumbles in the first half against the Redskins. Both were punch-outs due to Moore not holding the ball tight enough.

The wide receiver's first came as he fielded the Redskins' first punt of the afternoon.

The second being a fumble coming off of his first reception, punched out by Josh Norman, who had his best game as a Redskin.

Both plays had enough effort, probably too much. Moore was clearly trying to make something out of nothing and both times it cost him and the Panthers two key possessions on the road. 

First two touches, two fumbles. Not a good look. 

But in other Maryland Terps news, Vernon Davis did haul down the first touchdown of the game and Torrey Smith scored a late touchdown and converted the two-point conversion. 


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As one of the most penalized teams in college football, Maryland's penalty woes showed vs. Michigan

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As one of the most penalized teams in college football, Maryland's penalty woes showed vs. Michigan

On the field, it has been a season of ups and downs for the Maryland Terrapins. On Saturday, it became evident that the team's penalty issues are at epic proportions based on their loss to Michigan.

This season, Maryland is one of the most penalized teams in all of Division I football. 

No matter if the penalties are coming in wins or in losses, yellow flags have forced Maryland to dig themselves out of holes this season. Quickly these holes become insurmountable with the inconsistent offense the Terps have this season. 

Below is where they stand on the NCAA FBS Division I leaderboard:

  • Penalties per game (4th worst) - 9.8 penalties
  • Penalty yards per game (3rd worst) - 93.8 yards
  • 7 penalties per 100 plays (t-worst) 

This past Saturday against Michigan, their penalties were a significant factor in a loss for the first time this season. Twelve times the Terps were flagged, costing them 107 yards. 

The first major penalty was just after the Terps got a big kickoff return for a touchdown by Ty Johnson to give them an early 7-3 lead. Two scrimmage plays later, Darnell Savage got his second interception of the season on Michigan's side of the field with the upset in full swing. A holding penalty on the return pushed the Terps back to midfield where they would go three-and-out. 

That mistake, although minuscule at the time, cannot happen on the road against a top-25 opponent. A momentum-swinging play was diminished by the penalty and kept them from adding to their lead.  

The offense though was responsible for most of the dirty laundry on the field. Of their 12 penalties, half of them were on the offense. Five of those six were detrimental to their success. 

A holding penalty in the second quarter prevented the Terps from having the chance to answer Michigan's first touchdown of the game.

On the first drive of the second half for the Terps, three penalties in the first four plays pushed them back to a 4th-and-36. 

Although they converted a fourth-and-6 in the red zone, they got pushed back to that mark because of a false start the play prior. This was their first drive of the fourth where they were behind by three scores and desperately trying to come back.

In their Week 1 shocking upset over the ranked Texas Longhorns the team had eight penalties for 70 yards. This was the only game that their opponent committed more penalties.

The next week at Bowling Green (14 for 139 yards) was worse, at home vs. Temple (five penalties, 35 yards) and at Minnesota (10 penalties, 118 yards).

Currently, the team is sitting at 3-2 with a win over the No. 9 team in the country, Texas. Considering everything that has happened, and they are under interim head coach Matt Canada, they are rising above expectations. 

But by no means are there many confident in how the Terps have played this season. Mostly that is due to these penalties.