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Maryland closes out Michigan: 5 things you need to know


Maryland closes out Michigan: 5 things you need to know

COLLEGE PARK -- After losing Thursday to a Minnesota team that was previously winless in Big Ten play, Sunday against Michigan was about as close to a must-win game as Maryland has had this season.

They got it.

After a second-half battle that saw momentum swing back and forth, Maryland was able to close out the Wolverines down the stretch in a crucial 86-82 victory on Sunday in College Park.

Four Terrapins were in double figures, led by 17 points from Robert Carter, Jr. on 8-of-13 shooting. Jake Layman had 16. Melo Trimble found his offensive groove again with 14.

Junior Mark Donnal was the unlikely offensive centerpiece for the Wolverines, stretching the floor to score 25 points.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Absorbing early punches

On Thursday, Minnesota was hot from the perimeter and Maryland could not respond. On Sunday, Michigan hit two threes in the first four minutes but the Terrapins did not lay down. Credit Jake Layman in part for that.

He hit a three off great ball movement to the corner, then blocked a shot, ran back the other direction and laid the ball in plus the foul. That set the tone.

Ball movement was on another level. Damonte Dodd put a lid on the rim in the first eight minutes. The defense turned into offense in transition. After the game was tied, 12-12, Maryland ripped off a 14-0 run to take command. Michigan went more than seven minutes without a made field goal during that stretch.

2) Hello from the bench

Over the last two games, Maryland bench as a whole had produced six points. On Sunday against Michigan, they were integral to the hot start. With Diamond Stone back in the lineup, Dodd could go back to what he excels at -- playing defense and rebounding.

It should be considered a win if Jaylen Brantley can simply hold the fort while Melo Trimble gets a breather. Sunday, he was an asset. While Trimble went to the bench in the first half, Brantley stepped in and played with confidence. He had five straight points in a key early stretch.

In the first half, Jared Nickens equaled his point total from the previous four games combined (6).

3) Persistent problems let Michigan back into it

If there were two issues that continually allow teams to stay in game against Maryland, those problems would be turnovers and the opponent’s ability to shoot from the outside. After that 14-0 run that swung momentum in Maryland’s favor, the Wolverines started hitting shots.

Michigan hit five threes in the final six minutes of the first half and closed the halftime gap to five after trailing by as many as 16. The Wolverines finished 13-of-27 from deep.

Diamond Stone’s return was clearly important to the overall offensive flow, though, and his 10 points in the first helped to stem the tide.

4) Shootout out of halftime, so enter Jake Layman.

The way the early part of the second half was playing out, it seemed like neither team would ever get a stop. Defense was such a catalyst in the first half for Maryland that the lack of it affected its offense in the second half.

Then Maryland, with help from Jake Layman, pushed back. The Terrapins led by as many as eight with 8:59 to go before that outside shooting and turnover conversion got the Wolverines back into it.

5) The final stretch

Maryland led by one point at the under-four timeout of this game. Over the past two years, this is where the poise and control of guard Melo Trimble has helped the Terrapins close games. Of late, though, this turnover bug and uncharacteristic bout of shot selection have plagued him.

Robert Carter, Jr. was the difference maker in the final minutes. He had six points in the final 4:46, including an effort to crash the board. Rasheed Sulaimon hit two big free throws to extend the lead to five with less than 20 seconds to play before Duncan Robinson’s three cut it two with 6.9 left.

Who else but Melo Trimble hit two free throws to make it a four-point game and seal the deal.

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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.