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Minnesota upsets No. 6 Maryland: 5 things you need to know

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Minnesota upsets No. 6 Maryland: 5 things you need to know

Maryland has allowed lesser teams to hang around in the past this season before-- almost like clockwork -- storming back to get a win. Not on Thursday night.

In perhaps the most unlikely upset of the college basketball season, the Minnesota Gophers, who were previously winless in Big Ten play, came out of the gate hot and withstood a second-half Maryland push to earn a stunning 68-63 victory.

Despite a career high of 28 points from Rasheed Sulaimon, Maryland’s offense was otherwise stagnant and unable to ever get into a rhythm. Three Gophers were in double figures, led by guard Nate Mason.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Textbook on how to let lesser teams stay in games early

Maryland has allowed this to happen at different points this season. Lesser teams can stick around by capitalizing on a pair key things that the Terrapins allow them to do -- hit shots from the outside and force turnovers.

Senior Joey King came off the bench hitting three of his first four shots from deep. As a team, the Gophers hit six of their first eight from three. For a measuring stick, Minnesota came into Thursday night’s game shooting 31 percent from that distance.

The Terrapins turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes, which allowed the Gophers to push it back the other direction. Not only does that combination of shooting and forcing turnovers put points on the board, but it gives them confidence.

Made shots make a team winless in conference play believe they can beat the nation’s No. 6 team and that goes a long way.

2) Noticeable absence of Diamond Stone

Robert Carter, Jr. is a nice post option and was clearly part of the game plan on Thursday. But this offense was already struggling. Taking its most bruising interior finisher out of the mix because of suspension makes the job much easier for the defense.

The result becomes too many lineups with limited options in the post, like Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky on the floor at the same time. Maryland even tried a lineup that had Jaylen Brantley, Varun Ram, and Cekovsky. Where was the offense coming from there?

Even against a team that entered the game 175th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, Maryland could not get anything going.

3) A shining half vs. a disastrous half

Maryland trailed by 11 points at the break because their massive struggles were combined with a stellar first half from Minnesota during which they were 7-of-13 from three. It was the most points scored by Minnesota since Nov. 27. It was the most points Maryland had surrendered since against North Carolina on Dec. 1.

4) On the verge of unraveling, but Maryland responds

After back-to-back turnovers that were flipped into easy Minnesota scores, it was a 50-38 game with 11:45 to play. With very few other cards to play, the Terrapins turned to full-court defensive pressure and it worked.

A 14-4 Maryland run followed to cut the game to just two points, 54-52. Maryland went smaller during that stretch, too, which allowed them to apply that pressure. Minnesota’s hot shooting in the first half regressed to the mean during that stretch and the Terrapins were able to climb back.

They took the lead with 3:04 to play on a Rasheed Sulaimon three.

5) Missed opportunities in final two minutes

After taking the lead late, Maryland’s execution in the final two minutes left opportunities on the table. Included in that was an uncharacteristic stretch from point guard Melo Trimble, who remains in a funk offensively.

From the team as a whole, shot selection was questionable. Turnovers, of which the Terrapins committed 15 on the night, came back to bite them in key spots. Minnesota’s ability to hit free throws down the stretch sealed it.

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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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