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Terps pull away from Richmond: 5 things you need to know

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Terps pull away from Richmond: 5 things you need to know

COLLEGE PARK -- Saturday’s game was a re-opening of sorts, with quarterback Perry Hills getting his first start under center in three years for Maryland. But it was the player lined up just behind him who powered the Terrapins to a win.

Brandon Ross, playing in the first game of his final collegiate season, gained a career-high 150 yards in a 50-21 Maryland victory over Richmond at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Here are five things you need to know about the win.

1) Mixed results for Perry Hills

Hills started 0-of-4 with an interception. He was plagued by underthrows in the first half, including missing a wide-open Levern Jacobs in the end zone -- a drive that ended in just three points.

An attempt to aim the ball instead of letting it go may have contributed, but arm strength isn’t what made Hills the starter, either. That’s what made first-half playcalling a question because Maryland was really trying to stretch the field with little success.

When the focus came back to the running game, centered around Ross, short-to-intermediate routes helped Hills to settle in. Yes, there were still underthrows, including one to end a three-and-out drive with under eight minutes left in the third quarter that prompted some stern coaching from Randy Edsall on the sideline.

His best pass of the day came on a button hook to Malcolm Culmer near the end of the first half that Culmer turned upfield and took 37 yards for a touchdown.

He was replaced by Caleb Rowe in the fourth quarter, finishing 11-of-21 for 138 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. More to come analyzing his performance later on CSN.

2) Will Likely is Maryland’s best weapon

It’s not often that a program loses a kick or punt returner to the NFL, that being Stefon Diggs, and replaces him with a player who is as good or better. That might be the case with Maryland and Will Likely this season.

The junior aided Maryland’s offense by giving them terrific field position all day, beginning with a 42-yard kick return to begin the game. With the offense probably going to run into its share of struggles throughout the season, starting drives with good field position will help.

He finished with 296 return yards, 233 on punts and 63 on kicks. In the fourth quarter, he returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. The 233 yards is a Big Ten record, breaking a mark set back in 1939 by Iowa’s Nile Kinnick.

MORE TERPS: DIGGS SAVES BEST FOR LAST IN PRESEASON FINALE

3) Struggles in the red zone

Will Likely got them in good field position (more on his returning success below). Ross reached the 150-yard mark and helped to get them into the red zone. But inside the 20, Maryland struggled to score in the first half.

Some of it was caused by Hills’ inaccuracy, but there was also less push from the offensive line on running plays deep. Against a team like Richmond, those deficiencies don’t cost you a game. In the Big Ten? It could be a problem.

Having Brad Craddock as a kicker helps, though he uncharacteristically missed a field goal and an extra point on Saturday.

4) A commitment to running the football

Quarterback C.J. Brown was the team’s leading rusher last season. Now that he graduated, one of the prevailing questions is who gets the carries that have been left on the table. If Saturday, is any indication, expect a heavy dose of Ross and Wes Brown.

Ross, as mentioned above, reached a career mark on the ground, complemented by Brown and his 73 yards on the day.

Richmond never proved that it could stop the run, so Maryland just kept pounding it on the ground.

5) Quinton Jefferson showing he can anchor the line

Maryland’s offensive line saw significant rollover in the front seven from last season on top of the fact they shifted to a 4-3 base defense. Jefferson, back from injury, showed he can be an anchor up front.

Jefferson tallied six tackles, including two sacks, and 2.5 tackles for a loss.

That helped Maryland’s defense, which struggled against the run last season, hold Richmond to just 1.5 yards per carry.

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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. 

MORE NFL TERPS NEWS: 

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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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