Maryland Terps

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New coach, same result: What went wrong in Maryland’s blowout loss to Penn State

New coach, same result: What went wrong in Maryland’s blowout loss to Penn State

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Mike Locksley era was supposed to signal the end of frustrating Maryland football. This was going to be the end of watching a team recruit some of the top players in the nation and still not be able to compete with the big boys. This was going to be the end of a Maryland that could play like a top-25 team one week and play like a bottom-25 team the next.

Just two weeks after suffering their first loss, however, Maryland was embarrassed by Penn State at home in their conference opener to the tune of 59-0. Here’s what went wrong for the Terps (besides everything).

Josh Jackson’s first drive
It didn’t take long to realize that Maryland was in for a long night. The Terps received the opening kickoff, but Jackson threw an interception on just his second attempt of the game. Jackson did not see linebacker Jan Johnson playing pass coverage in the middle and the defender cut off the pass and took it in the other direction. To make matters worse, Jackson capped off the play with a late hit on Johnson just after he stepped out of bounds, tacking on an extra 15 yards for Penn State and putting the ball on Maryland’s 8-yard line.
It took Penn State just one play to score as quarterback Sean Clifford kept the ball himself and took it untouched into the end zone.

K.J. Hamler’s slick moves
If there was one player Maryland had to contain, it was Hamler who’s big-play potential can change a game in an instant. The Terps learned that the hard way in the first quarter when Hamler took a short pass, broke loose and showed off his speed. Cornerback Marcus Lewis looked like he was in good position to bring him down after a big gain, but that’s when Hamler showed some moves.
Hamler gave a stutter step and Lewis stayed with him, but when Hamler cut inside, Lewis couldn’t stop. He made a desperate dive at Hamler’s legs, but to no avail, as Hamler cruised to the end zone to cap off the 58-yard play. Hamler would finish with six catches, 108 yards, and a touchdown.

Quarterback play
With the Terps already down 14-0 in the first quarter, Maryland tried to make a game of it with a lengthy drive into the red zone. On the 14th play of the drive with the ball at Penn State’s 11-yard line, Jackson threw into double coverage at the edge of the end zone and his pass was picked off by cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields.

That was the last time Maryland would make it into the red zone. Penn State would march 95 yards down the field in 11 plays for a touchdown, the second touchdown the Nittany Lions were able to score off a Jackson interception. The difference in quarterback play in this game was painfully obvious. Jackson was wildly inconsistent, threw two costly turnovers and had trouble making easy completions in the face of Penn State’s pass rush.


Clifford, on the other hand, was steady as a rock all game. He completed 26 of 31 passes for 398 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception and it took a great individual play from Nick Cross to haul in the interceptions. Clifford also added another 54 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Compare that to Jackson who completed only nine of 20 passes for 62 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions, and seven rushing yards.

The entire first half
Let’s be honest, the entire first half was a mess.
Penn State had seven first-half offensive possessions. The results of those drives were five touchdowns, one field goal, one interception, and zero punts. Maryland completed only six passes and was out-gained on offense 383 to 94. Penn State converted all of their third downs while the Terps had only three conversions in nine attempts.
If this was boxing, the referee would have stopped the fight.

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Darryl Morsell led a balanced attack with 14 points, and No. 7 Maryland used a strong defensive effort to power past Oakland 80-50 Saturday.

Anthony Cowan Jr. contributed 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Terrapins, Aaron Wiggins scored 10 and Jalen Smith added eight points and seven rebounds.

After opening with lopsided victories at home against Holy Cross and Rhode Island, Maryland is off a 3-0 start for the sixth year in a row. The Terps are 33-6 at home over the past two-plus seasons.

Xavier Hill-Mais led Oakland (3-2) with 18 points. The Golden Grizzlies shot 36.5%, were outrebounded 40-30 and went 6 for 15 at the foul line.

The Terrapins used layups by Smith and Morsell to turn a 35-22 halftime lead into a 17-point cushion. Minutes later, Morsell contributed a pair of 3-pointers to a 12-3 run that made it 56-31 with 12:28 left.

Morsell, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, went 6 for 8 from the field and had seven rebounds in only 21 minutes.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon used 15 players, nine of them for at least 10 minutes, and 13 different players scored.

The Golden Grizzlies broke to an early 16-12 lead and trailed only 24-22 before Maryland finished the first half with an 11-0 run -- including a dunk by Smith and a 3-pointer by Wiggins at the buzzer.

Oakland shot 37% from the floor before halftime, missing eight of nine from beyond the arc.

BIG PICTURE

Oakland made it interesting at the outset but withered under the weight of Maryland's depth. The Golden Grizzlies have 10 new players from last season, so need games like this to get ready for Horizon League play.

Maryland has far too much depth, height and talent for the opposition in these early mismatches. If there's any flaw worth noting, it's that the Terrapins have started slowly in each game before pulling away.

UP NEXT

Oakland: Hosts Hartford on Monday night.

Maryland: Continues its season-opening, five-game homestand against Fairfield on Tuesday night. In the only previous meeting, the Terps beat the Stags 71-42 in 2009.

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

Maryland forward Jalen Smith has been the Terps’ leading scorer in the early goings of this season, topping the box scores in each of the team’s first two victories

Against Oakland on Saturday, the sophomore only scored eight points but stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks—including this one that he helped turn into an alley-oop on the other end of the floor.

Smith entered the season with a selection to the preseason All-Big Ten Team after he averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 blocks per game as a freshman. He was  added to the Naismith Award watch list in early November as one of 50 college basketball stars eligible for the honor of being deemed the best player in the NCAA at the end of this season.

After beating Maryland 80-50 and moving to 3-0 on the year Saturday, the Terps are off until Tuesday when they host Fairfield at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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