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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland comes off an emotional loss to North Carolina to face St. Francis (PA) on Friday night at XFINITY Center in College Park.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Avoiding another trap game

This has seemed to be the rhythm of Maryland’s season. They opened the year against a tough mid-major Mount St. Mary’s squad, hoping not to overlook them with Georgetown on the horizon. They had to face Rider before a trip to Cancun. Same thing. They had to play Cleveland State before a showdown in Chapel Hill.

Now they face St. Francis on Friday night before going to New York City next week to face Connecticut. The good news for Maryland is that they have gotten through each of these trap games so far this season. We’ll see again on Friday.

2) Back to the mid-major issues?

Maryland was in its element against North Carolina. The Tar Heels were a big team who matched up straight up with two bigs, a wing, and two guards. Their play reflected it.

Now Maryland goes back to facing a mid-major that is built like teams that have given them trouble in the past. The Red Flash will show you a smaller lineup, which means Maryland bigs will have to chase around smaller players and that has given them trouble in the past.

The key is cutting off driving lanes and rotating crisply when the ball is moved on the perimeter to get a hand in shooters’ faces. One positive? St. Francis is shooting just 31.9 percent from three-point range. That’s 223rd in the nation.

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3) Team building paying off?

Maryland had travel problems on the way back from Chapel Hill, ultimately being forced to take a bus home after Tuesday’s loss. That’s a long ride for a team coming off an emotional loss. They watched film and bonded, head coach Mark Turgeon said.

Can they bottle up that energy, especially from the second half against North Carolina, and carry it over?

4) Expect more second-half Melo

Melo Trimble was out of sorts to start the game, partly because referees were letting the two teams play (and he predicates his game on being able to get to the line) but also because he looked a bit rattled by North Carolina’s pressure early.

That second half was a different story. He was pulling up from all over the floor and going shot for shot with North Carolina’s Marcus Paige. That’s the Melo we know and the one I’d expect to see going forward.

5) Building guard depth

Turgeon said after Tuesday’s loss that he needs to continue to build guard depth in the backcourt. That starts with Jaylen Brantley most prominently, but also includes finding ways to use Varun Ram in defensive situations to shield Trimble from foul trouble.

St. Francis is the type of team where we could see Brantley get extended minutes. The junior college transfer said on Thursday that the next step is feeling that he is getting full confidence from Turgeon to be out on the floor. Will Friday be a big step?

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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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