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The Maryland Terrapins 2018 football preview

The Maryland Terrapins 2018 football preview

2017 was a bit of a lost season for the Maryland Terrapins.

With two quarterbacks lost to season-ending knee injuries before conference play got started, the wind was out of Maryland's sails almost immediately.

2018 has the feel of something different.

KEY LOSSES

DJ Moore, Maryland's best player in years, was the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and one of the Terps' best defenders of the last decade, Jermaine Carter, is headed to the Carolina Panthers with him. The Terps also lost a handful of rotational pieces on defense, but make up for it in what they have gained.

KEY ADDITIONS

For the second straight season, Maryland signed a top-30 recruiting class in 2018, and a handful of young players are talented enough to step in and play before long.

With quarterbacks Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome and defensive end Jesse Aniebonam returning from injury, each feels like a new addition to the team. Former top recruit Byron Cowart has made his way from Auburn to College Park and will be immediately eligible to try and jumpstart his college career. Additionally, former four-star recruit Anthony McFarland is ready to burst onto the scene after a redshirt season.

COACHING STAFF CHANGES

Five offseason coaching additions have added a new level of seasoning and experienced Xs and Os guys to the fold. The most notable replacement comes at offensive coordinator, where Matt Canada will be taking over. He's been regarded as one of the best offensive minds in college football and will transform the look of the Terps' offense. Other coaching changes were made in the running backs, offensive line, tight ends and safeties rooms.

SCHEDULE OUTLOOK

Maryland's 2018 schedule is not nearly as daunting as last year's, which was one of the most difficult in the nation. Instead of a road game against Texas and home games against Towson and eventually undefeated UCF, the Terps play Texas at home, get Bowling Green on the road and play Temple at home.

The Big Ten East presents its annual gauntlet of opponents, including Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. The Terps get a bit of a break with their three crossover opponents from the Big Ten West. Maryland plays Minnesota and Illinois at home and hits the road to play Iowa. Avoiding Wisconsin is a huge plus.

BIGGEST QUESTION

The biggest question heading into 2018 is who the Week 1 starting quarterback will be. Head coach DJ Durkin has said that both Hill and Pigrome are ahead of schedule in their recoveries, but the position is once again up for grabs heading into the season. Hill is the favorite and the unquestioned future of the program as the local superstar who stayed home.

PREVIEWING THE OFFENSE

Whichever quarterback ends up starting will be running a totally revamped offense. Canada's system will look significantly different than what Terps fans have seen in recent years. Maryland's backfield is one of the deepest in the nation. Senior Ty Johnson is on the Maxwell and Doak Walker Award watch lists — for the best player and best running back, respectively. Behind him, there are five viable options who could carry the ball.

PREVIEWING THE DEFENSE

There's a lot of turnover on defense heading into the season. More than half of last year's starters will be replaced. For a defense that finished at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in almost every statistical category, that may not be a bad thing. Cowart and Aniebonam could team to form a power duo of defensive ends. Terps fans should prepare for another year of highlight plays form Antoine Brooks and Darnell Savage.

PREDICTIONS

The influx of young talent combined with the transformation of the coaching staff and more favorable schedule should result in an uptick in wins for the Terps.

Texas Longhorns — Maryland won last year in Texas in Tom Herman's debut. Texas has improved since then, but so has Maryland. This game is a toss-up, with the edge to the Longhorns.

Bowling Green Falcons — Bowling Green won the first half of this home-and-home in 2015 in College Park, but the teams have gone in opposite directions since then. Maryland wins easily.

Temple Owls — Temple has been a slightly above average football program for the past few years, but are still transitioning after hiring a new head coach in 2016. Maryland should be favored at home.

Minnesota Golden Gophers — Maryland won in Minnesota last year with a third-string quarterback. Playing at home with a real starter should be an easier task.

Michigan Wolverines — Maryland gets a bye week to prepare before heading to Ann Arbor, which should make this game closer than some previous contests between the two, but Michigan still wins.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights — A holding call negated a game-tying touchdown pass from Maryland's fourth-string, walk-on quarterback last year. The Terps win easily at home on Homecoming this year.

Iowa Hawkeyes — Going to Iowa is never easy. The Hawkeyes have a tendency to play to the level of their competition, up or down. This is still a game that favors Iowa, though.

Illinois Fighting Illini — Remarkably, this is the first meeting between these two teams since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. Illinois is one of the few teams that has been worse than Maryland in that time. Terps win easily at home.

Michigan State — The Spartans are always a tough test, and though they lost to Maryland, things should be different this time around. The Terps will have a shot, but Michigan State should win.

Indiana Hoosiers — Maryland won this game in a shootout at home last year, and some of the most exciting games the Terps have played in the Big Ten have been against Indiana. It seems inevitable this will be a close game, but the Terps should win.

Ohio State — The Buckeyes are perennially one of the best teams in college football and have never lost to the Terps. That streak should continue this year, even though Maryland is at home.

Penn State — Thanksgiving weekend sets up a final-week matchup in Happy Valley. Though not a "rivalry," there is plenty of tension between the two programs. Penn State will have to reload without Saquon Barkley or offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, but should still win at home.

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Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  -- Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Allen changed tactics this week.

Instead of focusing on one game, he took the big-picture approach and his players responded.

Stevie Scott's late, long run set up Logan Justus for a 42-yard go-ahead field goal with 2:32 to play and Nile Sykes recovered a fumble in the final minute to preserve Indiana's 34-32 come-from-behind to keep Indiana in the postseason discussion.

"I didn't want to talk about going to bowl games, but I just said, `You know what, forget all that, I'm talking about bowl games' because they're big," Allen said. "I'm going to call these guys out on it and say that's what we're playing for."

After a slow start, the Hoosiers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) rebounded with three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes in the first half then closed with a flurry to snap a four-game skid. They need one more victory to become bowl-eligible.

At least they still have a chance and largely because they got contributions from each phase.

Scott carried 19 times for 103 yards and one touchdown. Peyton Ramsey went 16 of 28 with 243 yards, two TD passes and one interception and also made two shifty moves on a 35-yard scoring run in the first half.

The defense held Maryland (5-5, 3-4) to field goals on its first two trips into the red zone and forced four turnovers, including the sealing strip-sack of backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.

Justus made all four extra points and two field goals, something Maryland could not. A missed extra point and a failed 2-point conversion with 4:54 left took crucial points off the board for Maryland, spoiling Anthony McFarland's career-best day. He ran 29 times for 210 yards in relief of the injured Ty Johnson.

With the loss for Maryland, their bowl hopes have taken a significant hit.

All the team needs is one more win to extend their season by a game and make the postseason. Their remaining two games are against Top 25 opponents Ohio State and Penn State. 

Maryland's lone Top 25 win this season was in the opening week against Texas. 

"This isn't the last game of the season," interim coach Matt Canada said. "Oh my gosh we wanted to win, we certainly could have."

It sure wasn't easy for the Hoosiers , either, even after they took a 31-15 lead midway through the third quarter.

Maryland charged back after Javon Leake returned a kickoff 47 yards to the Indiana 27-yard line. Two plays later, Leake scooted right and sprinted 27 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Pigrome's 2-point conversion pass to McFarland made it 31-23.

The Terrapins closed to 31-26 on a field goal early in the fourth and retook the lead when Pigrome hooked up with Jeshaun Jones on a 15-yard TD pass.

But when Tayon Fleet-Davis' run was stopped short of the goal line, Indiana took advantage.

Following a 23-yard kickoff return to the Indiana 40, Scott broke free down the right side of the field and went out of bounds at the Maryland 33. Four plays later, Justus made the decisive field goal.

"It was amazing," Justus said. "I was kind of just spacing out, I was really excited."

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this story. 

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Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

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USA Today Sports

Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

Dino Tomlin, the son of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, announced on Twitter Tuesday he has committed to play for the Maryland football team. 

A three-star wide receiver, Tomlin becomes the first Terps commit since D.J. Durkin's firing. He is known for his speed, running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and is the defending Pennsylvania state champion in the 300m hurdles. 

"I felt it was the right place for me to develop," Tomlin told 24/7 Sports. "Get to see good competition. Close to family. Get to play schools that passed on me," Tomlin said.

There is a family connection with Tomlin and Maryland as well: his uncle, Ed, played for the Terps.

As for the scandal surrounding Maryland football, Tomlin doesn't have too many concerns.

"I feel like they handled it appropriately at this point," he said. "I kind of knew I was going to commit a week or so ago. I just let it pan out."