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AP Top 25 Poll: Maryland earns ranking for first time since joining Big Ten

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AP Top 25 Poll: Maryland earns ranking for first time since joining Big Ten

The Southeastern Conference held three of the top four spots in The Associated Press college football poll after LSU's road victory against Texas pushed the Tigers to No. 4.

Clemson remained No. 1 on Sunday, receiving 56 first-place votes out of 62 in the Top 25 presented by Regions Bank. No. 2 Alabama received 6 first-place votes and Georgia stayed at No. 3. LSU jumped two spots after winning 45-38 at Texas on Saturday to make it three straight SEC teams after Clemson. The last conference to hold three of the top four spots in the poll was the SEC on Nov. 2, 2014, when Mississippi State was No. 1, Auburn was third and Alabama fourth.

Southern California, which was unranked in the preseason for the first time since 2001, moved in at No. 24 after beating Stanford 45-20.

POLL POINTS

The SEC has half the top-10 teams in the country after two weeks of the regular season, with Auburn moving up to No. 8 and Florida rising to No. 9. The Tigers and Gators were two of several teams to get a bump in the rankings thanks to Michigan. The Wolverines dodged an upset, beating Army 24-21 in double overtime, but dropped three spots to No. 10.

Texas fell out of the top 10, dropping three spots to No. 12.

IN

-- No. 21 Maryland is ranked for the first time since joining the Big Ten after a surprisingly easy 63-20 victory over Syracuse. The Terrapins have scored 142 points in two games under new coach Mike Locksley. The last time Maryland was ranked was 2013, when the Terps were still in the ACC, and they spent a week in early October at No. 25.

-- No. 25 Virginia is ranked after a 2-0 start.

OUT

-- Syracuse dropped out of the ranking after being handed the most lopsided loss (43 points) by a ranked team to an unranked team in 20 years. In October 1999, unranked Oklahoma beat No. 13 Texas A&M 51-6.

-- Stanford fell out after USC scored the final 35 points of their game Saturday night.

-- Nebraska is out after letting a 17-0 lead slip away at Colorado and losing in overtime.

-- Iowa State, which barely held on to its ranking after needing OT to beat Northern Iowa in Week 1, dropped out in an idle week.

CONFERENCE CALL

Big Ten -- 7

SEC -- 6

Pac 12 -- 5

Big 12 -- 2

ACC -- 2

American -- 1

Mountain West -- 1

Independent -- 1

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Maryland leaves the Orange feeling blue with statement win

Maryland leaves the Orange feeling blue with statement win

Syracuse came to College Park on Saturday ranked, but it was Maryland who looked like one of the top teams in the nation with a dominant 63-20 win.

WIth the win, the Terps improve to 2-0. Here are four reasons Maryland got the win.

Taking advantage of Syraucse turnovers

Maryland took a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter. The scoreboard said the Terps were dominating, but the big difference was really two Syraucse turnovers. 

Quarterback Tommy DeVito fumbled the ball in the first quarter which Maryland recovered at the Orange’s 32 yard line. Five plays later, Anthony McFarland punched the ball into the end zone on a three-yard run for the touchdown.

In the second quarter, DeVito tried to force the ball along the sidelines, but his receiver was not even looking. Jordan Mosley was, however, and he hauled in the interception. It took just two plays for McFarland to again put six on the board with a 20-yard run.

It was a 28-7 lead for the Terps, but 14 of those points came off of Orange turnovers.

Anthony McFarland

McFarland was, by far, the best player on the field on Saturday. On 14 carries, McFarland rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two catches for 45 yards and another touchdown.

His best play came late in the first half when he hauled in a pass from Jackson, turned on the jets and weaved his way through traffic for a 39-yard gain, setting up a six-yard touchdown pass the very next play caught by...McFarland.

Another big day for Jackson

It was hard to know just what to make of Jackson’s Maryland debut last week. Yes, he looked impressive, but it came against Howard. Against a much tougher opponent on Saturday, however, Jackson was again dominant.

Jackson completed 21 passes on 38 attempts for 296 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Tyrrell Pigrome came in briefly in the first half as head coach Mike Locksley wanted to keep the quarterback tandem, but it was short-lived. Locksley wisely decided to stay with the hot hand and put Jackson back in later on the same drive.

The rush defense

Syracuse’s strength on offense is its run game. At the end of the first half, the Terps defense had held Syraucse to just 44 yards rushing. With the score 42-13 at halftime, the Orange had no choice but to try to throw the ball in the second half to try to get back into the game. That did not bode well for the offense or Syracuse’s chances for a comeback.

The Orange finished with 70 yards on the ground. Maryland’s ability to bottle up the strength of Syracuse’s offense played a big role in the dominant win.

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Maryland vs. Syracuse: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Maryland vs. Syracuse: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Maryland football opened the season with a new tradition and, hopefully for new head coach Mike Locksley, a new standard of winning as the Terps trounced Howard, 79-0.

Syracuse, on the other hand, is in Year 4 of the Dino Babers era and is coming off a 10-3 season that included a Camping World Bowl victory over the West Virginia Mountainers. The Orange opened the season with a 24-0 win on the road at Liberty, a game in which Flames head coach Hugh Freeze coached from a hospital bed in the press box.

There was little to complain about from the Terps' perspective after Week 1. The offensive line looked a bit shaky in pass protection, but that was mainly a product of Howard playing with no safety over the top and sending extra blitzers on almost every play. Perhaps most importantly, the Terps escaped the tune-up game without any serious injuries as they turn their attention to bigger and better opponents.

Redshirt sophomore Tommy DeVito was unspectacular in his first start in the post-Eric Dungey era. The Orange struggled to establish a presence in the run game and the offense had little rhythm throughout the day. The defense looked solid as they shutout Liberty and forced four turnovers.

Players to watch

Maryland: Terps quarterback Josh Jackson knocked off a bit of rust in his first start at Maryland. His first handful of throws were behind receivers and not on time. But Jackson settled down after his first drive and went on to finish 15-for-24 for 245 yards and four touchdown passes. He doesn't need a world-beating performance to take down Syracuse, but remaining steady at the helm should put the Terps in a good position.

Redshirt sophomore running back Anthony McFarland didn't play much against Howard, but still scored two touchdowns on just six carries in the first quarter. He'll look to get going against a Syracuse defense that was average at stopping the run last season. Sophomore receiver Dontay Demus Jr. is built exactly how you would build a receiver if you could make on in a laboratory. He's 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and has 4.4 speed. His three catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns are only a glimpse into what he can become in the Terps' offense.

On defense, it's hard to look past Maryland's rebuilt linebacking corps. Ohio State transfer Keandre Jones notched four tackles in limited action Saturday, including 1.5 sacks. Sophomore linebacker Ayinde Eley had six total tackles, including one for a loss, while Clemson transfer Shaq Smith added a sack of his own.

Syracuse: DeVito has officially succeeded Dungey behind center, and though he looked a bit shaky in Week 1, there's still plenty of hope among the Syracuse faithful that he's the man for the job going forward. He's less of a runner than Dungey was but is still mobile. Where he can really make noise is with his intermediate throws.

Senior running back Moe Neal should get plenty of run, especially if DeVito struggles again to find his game. Neal was second only to Dungey in rushing last season as he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns. Landover native and redshirt junior running back Abdul Adams proved his dual-threat ability catching two passes for 29 yards and adding 49 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. The Orange have a handful of receivers that could make some noise, too, but they were largely quiet in Week 1 because of DeVito's inconsistency.

On the defensive line, Syracuse has two difference-makers along the defensive line. Both Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman had 10 sacks and double-digit run stuffs last season. Coleman notched two sacks in Week 1, while Robinson picked up half a sack of his own. Against Maryland's offensive line, which looked shaky against Howard, the duo could cause trouble.

Key Matchup

Offensive lines vs. defensive lines: Neither starting offensive line looked particularly convincing in establishing the run or protecting the passer last Saturday. On the other hand, each defensive line played a big role in neither team allowing any points. Which offensive line takes the bigger step forward in Week 2 could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.

How to watch

Who: Maryland Terrapins vs. Syracuse Orange

What: Regular Season Week 2

When: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD  

TV Channel: ESPN (Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Olivia Dekker)

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: 105.7 FM (Balt) / 980AM (DC) (Johnny Holliday, CJ Brown, LaMont Jordan)

Point Spread: Maryland -2

Over/Under: 58

Weather: Sunny, with a high near 81.

Terps 2019 Season Schedule

Week 1, Maryland 79, Howard 0
Week 2, September 7, noon, ESPN: Syracuse Orange
Week 3, September 14, noon, CBSSN: at Temple Owls
Week 4, BYE
Week 5, September 27 (FRI), 8:00 p.m., FS1: Penn State
Week 6, October 5, TBD: at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Week 7, October 12, noon: Purdue Boilermakers
Week 8, October 19, TBD: Indiana Hoosiers
Week 9, October 26, TBD, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2: at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Week 10, November 2, noon: Michigan Wolverines
Week 11, November 9, TBD: at Ohio State Buckeyes
Week 12, BYE
Week 13, November 23, TBD: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Week 14, November 30, TBD: at Michigan State