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Maryland-Michigan Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Michigan Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland welcomes Michigan to College Park on Sunday at a critical juncture in the 2015-16 season. After losing two straight, including a bad loss to Minnesota, the Terrapins need a victory before they enter the stretch run of the regular season.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) The worst stretch of the season

Losing at home in Big Ten play for the first time since joining the conference was tough, but Thursday’s loss to a Minnesota team that had previously not won a Big Ten game was inexplicable for the nation’s once-No. 2 team.

Damonte Dodd said the plane ride home was hard. Rasheed Sulaimon is confident that the team is trying to get back to normal. Mark Turgeon said he just wants his team back to playing basketball because they love the game.

There is a mental hurdle to get over when trying to return to full normalcy. It’s tough that the first real, extended adversity of the season comes in February. The good news? It’s not single-elimination time yet.

2) Getting Melo back on track

Point guard Melo Trimble steers the ship for Maryland. But in the past two games, Trimble has gone 4-of-25 from the floor and in the past four games he has nearly twice as many turnovers (13) as made field goals (7).

There may be lingering effects of an injury still, but some of the mistakes he has made down the stretch of the past two games have been simply uncharacteristic decision-making errors, like trying to force a pass into a closed window, losing control of his dribble, or taking inefficient jump shots.

Turgeon and senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon both said they have spoken with the sophomore in hopes of helping him to turn it around. Maryland’s offensive success is tied directly to Trimble because so many possessions start with the ball in his hands.

MORE TERPS: HOW TURGEON AND SULAIMON ARE TRYING TO HELP TRIMBLE

3) What Diamond’s return means

Diamond Stone’s suspension was not the reason they lost to Minnesota, but there’s a chance that if Stone had played the Terrapins would not have lost to the Gophers.

Remember, Maryland’s offense had been struggling even with Stone, so once he was taken out of the rotation it cut the post options in half and forced Dodd into 32 minutes. The junior shot blocker filled in with a valiant effort, but he cannot be expected to provide everything Stone does offensively.

When Stone is on the floor, either in the starting lineup or off the bench, he can be trusted to get the ball in the post and go to work one-on-one or be used in the pick-and-roll with Trimble. That can change the dynamic of the offense as a whole.

4) Anything from the bench?

Maryland’s bench has combined to score six total points in the last two games. If this team wants to make a deep run in March, they will either need production from those currently on the bench, or find a way to rearrange the units so that scoring is more spread out.

Lineups with Carter and Stone on the floor at the same time mean a lot of offensive weapons with only one ball to go around. Lineups with Dodd and Cekovsky don’t give Trimble a consistent pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop option. What would be the solution?

Maryland needs more from the bench on the perimeter, too. Jaylen Brantley is capable of scoring the ball, as is Jared Nickens. Brantley is sometimes tentative, though, and Nickens has never fully broken out of the slump he slipped into earlier this season.

Somehow, the Terrapins will need an answer.

5) Second time around

Maryland has already lost to Michigan once, a game on the road that marked the Terrapins’ first Big Ten loss of the season. The Wolverines exploited what has been one of Maryland’s biggest weaknesses at different points this season -- perimeter defense.

Michigan rained 12 threes on Maryland, led by 5-of-9 shooting from Duncan Robinson. The first 10 minutes of Sunday’s game will be telling. If the Wolverines are hot from the perimeter like Minnesota was, it will be a long afternoon for Maryland because this Wolverine team is far more skilled than the young Gophers.

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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. 

MORE NFL TERPS NEWS: 

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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. 

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