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Maryland-Purdue Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Purdue Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland travels on the road to West Lafayette on Saturday to face a Purdue team that they have already beaten once this season. But the enormous Boilermakers now get to play one in their own house as they fight for seeding in the Big Ten tournament.

Here are five things you need to know about the 4 p.m. tip.

1) Winning out means at least a share of the Big Ten title

It’s just the way this season is. You can lose back-to-back games late in the conference season -- including one to a sub-200 RPI team -- and still be in contention for a share of the league title. Mark Turgeon says that is the team’s singular focus right now.

Maryland controls its own destiny in its quest for a share of the title, meaning it needs no help from anyone else. Win the next three and at least a part is yours. There is another side to the coin, though.

2) But it could go in the other direction too

This much parity within a conference means there’s a fine line between having a chance to win the conference and slipping out of contention for a double bye all at the same time. That’s where Maryland finds itself.

Because Wisconsin beat Iowa, the Badgers enter what is likely a six-team race for four spots that earn double byes in the Big Ten tournament. With two ranked teams (including Purdue) still left to play, Maryland has one of the least-favorable schedules remaining and a win over the Boilermakers would be huge.

MORE TERPS: 5-STAR TARGET DOES NOT NAME MARYLAND IN LIST OF 3

3) Another step for Melo?

Melo Trimble’s seven turnovers against Michigan are still a red flag, but the win was a step in the right direction for him mentally. Now he faces a Purdue team that, with the help of Robert Carter, he diced up with the pick-and-roll the first time around.

The Boilermakers could adjust, but Trimble leaned on that two-game and helped to make it the offensive engine in the team’s win earlier this season.

Rest might help him as well, considering the minutes load he has been under. Having six days between games can be a plus.

4) Combatting size again

Carter said it plainly when talking to the media on Friday. Purdue runs its offense through the post and that’s smart because they’re huge. Correct.

The combination of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas is a duo unlike any other in the country. If one gets in foul trouble, the other is brought off the bench like the Boilermakers are reloading.

That puts a lot of pressure on players like Diamond Stone and Damonte Dodd to defend without fouling. Stone did an especially notable job early in the last meeting between these two games and it can be pointed to as the game that helped him to turn the corner defensively.

5) Going on the road

Purdue shot just five free throws the last time these two teams met. Granted, some of that had to do with the way they were launching threes instead of driving the ball, but part of it has to do with playing on the road.

Now, the tables turn. Maryland is the road team and they consistently feed off of getting to the line -- starting with Trimble. Can they be effective if there end up being less attempts from the line?

The remedy for that is hitting shots. Carter did earlier this year against them and stretched the defense as a true stretch four. This is a game where Trimble’s offense comes in handy. Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon may also be part of the solution as big shot makers.

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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. 

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