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'We're not a bad team' -- On resiliency after trouble in February

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'We're not a bad team' -- On resiliency after trouble in February

COLLEGE PARK -- Back-to-back losses in December eventually get hidden by the passage of time in a long college basketball season. Back-to-back losses in February sound alarms.

The optics are less favorable. Polls react, often harshly.

That is where Mark Turgeon finds himself and his team, coming off losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota, with Michigan coming to College Park on Sunday. The first true stumbling block of the season came less than a month before the start of the NCAA tournament.

“I think the timing’s perfect,” Turgeon said Saturday. “To be honest with you, it hurt us for our chance to win a league championship. We still can do it, but I think the timing’s really good for us.”

Three games against NCAA tournament teams are ahead for Maryland in the next four overall. That includes rematches against the Wolverines at home -- a team that already beat the Terrapins in Ann Arbor -- and a Purdue team on the road that gave Maryland a battle in College Park.

This is a team that, over the course of the season, has seemed to play better teams more competitively, even in losses like against North Carolina and Michigan State, while struggling to put away lesser teams, like in close wins over Rider and Penn State or Thursday’s loss to Minnesota.

MORE TERPS: WHAT NATIONAL WRITERS ARE SAYING AFTER MARYLAND'S LOSS TO MINNESOTA

In that regard, perhaps Turgeon is correct.

But the optics are the force most difficult to fight, though if you ask Turgeon or players they will say outside noise means little in day-to-day preparation. This is a team that only had a handful of high-quality wins, but was still talked about favorably in the national conversation because of its lack of a bad loss.

Now there is a bad loss. The Terrapins become one of just two teams in the Top 25 with a loss to a sub-200 RPI team.

“We knew at some point we were going to have adversity. Every team goes through it over the course of a long year," senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. "I’d rather have it now than in March.

“We’re not a bad team, we just got to remember who we are and get back to the certain principles that we were doing when we were 22-3.”

Junior center Damonte Dodd said the team’s plane ride home was difficult. Since, the team has tried to embrace Turgeon’s mantra that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow. Slowly but surely, laughter and camaraderie are making a return after Thursday’s loss.

“They’re disappointed, they’re upset, they want to do better,” Turgeon said. “But I want them to do better because they want to do better -- not because the expectations on them are so high.

“We’re still 22-5. A lot of coaches in the country would kill to be where I am right now.”

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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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