Maryland Terps

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Varun Ram isn't just the guy everyone wants to see shoot anymore


Varun Ram isn't just the guy everyone wants to see shoot anymore

COLLEGE PARK -- Whenever he would get the ball with space around him, the crowd at XFINITY Center in College Park would implore him to shoot it. Now, there are not those cheers when a pass gets throw his way because he enters closer games, playing more meaningful minutes.

There is only the loud, drawn-out, low-toned sound of his name echoing inside the arena when he makes a big play. If you weren't familiar with the exercise, you would think the pro-Maryland crowd were booing.

This marks Varun Ram’s transition from beloved walk-on who everyone just wanted to see make a shot when the game was already in hand to key part of the rotation for a team with national title hopes.

Well, there are still those rises from the crowd occasionally -- even one on Saturday against Ohio State when he calmly knocked down a three-pointer in Maryland’s 100-65 win over the Buckeyes.

But as head coach Mark Turgeon tinkered with his lineup early here in conference play, he came to a realization this week.

“I learned that Varun is pretty important to us and he can really help us,” Turgeon said. “Gives us another really good defender on the floor, takes more pressure off Melo [Trimble]. Rasheed [Sulaimon] goes out, you still have a really good defender on the floor.”


Though he stands just 5-9, the neurobiology and physiology major skitters around the floor almost weightlessly. What he gives up in size, he makes up for in relentlessness and effort.

Sulaimon, who sees Ram in practice every day, described it.

“Even if you beat him, you might think you beat him and then before you know it, he’s right back on top of you,” he said. “It’s just that constant pressure and he’ll wear you out over the course of a game.”

What has become of Maryland’s backcourt bench rotation is something you might see more in football with running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends. Depending on what the Terrapins need, Turgeon will either insert Ram for defensive purposes or transfer Jaylen Brantley if they need an offensive boost behind Trimble and Sulaimon.

The last two games, that has meant more minutes for Ram, though Brantley came in and played well in the final minutes of Saturday’s win.

“I think it just shows you how deep our team is and how we can go so many different ways,” Ram said this week.

“We can go big, we can go small, offensively, defensively we’re so versatile. And I think that’s what that shows. I haven’t really played all season and I played the last two games decent minutes so I’m ready to play whether I don’t play or not I just want to win.”

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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.