Terps have to study quickly for first Big Ten test

Indiana plays an up-tempo offense that can score points in a hurry

(Mark Konezny/USA TODAY…)
September 26, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

COLLEGE PARK -- Indiana coach Kevin Wilson never worked under Mike Leach, and he was never on a staff with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.

But Wilson runs the same type of up-tempo, Air Raid offense that Holgorsen learned under Leach at Texas Tech and now employs with the Mountaineers.

The Hoosiers (2-1) run the ball more than most Air Raid-style offenses, but Wilson's offense plays fast and has proven capable of putting up a lot of points.

Stopping that offense figures to be key for Maryland (3-1) if the Terps are going to win their first conference game as a member of the Big Ten when they play Indiana Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana.

"We are going to have our work cut out for us defensively," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said.

In particular, the Terps are hoping to slow down Indiana running back Tevin Coleman.

The Hoosiers' offense is centered around Coleman, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior who has accounted for 664 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in Indiana's three games while averaging 8.6 yards per carry. He ran for 247 yards and two touchdowns in the Hoosiers' season-opening win over Indiana State, rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries against Bowling Green Sept. 13 and had 132 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries during the Hoosiers' 31-27 upset of No. 18 Missouri last week.

Coleman ran for 958 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games last year while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. He also caught 19 passes for 193 yards.

"He's one of the best running backs I've seen since I've been in college based on his power-to-speed ratio, how big he is [and] how fast he can run," Maryland linebacker L.A. Goree said.

Coleman will be facing a banged-up Terps defense that Syracuse gashed for 370 rushing yards last week while averaging 7.3 yards per carry.

Maryland will again be without defensive end Quinton Jefferson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Terps' 40-37 loss to West Virginia Sept. 13. Maryland also might be without outside linebacker Matt Robinson, who was injured during against West Virginia and was out last week vs. Syracuse.

But inside linebacker Cole Farrand is expected to play full-time Saturday, which should only help after Farrand did not play for most of the game vs. Syracuse because of a shoulder injury.

Farrand entered midway through the third quarter against the Orange and helped force the Orange to punt three plays later. Maryland then held Syracuse without a first down for three straight series before the Orange scored a late touchdown after the game was already out of reach.

The Terps are also banking on improved play from young players like redshirt freshman outside linebacker Jalen Brooks, who Edsall said was "tentative" while making his first career start against Syracuse in place of Robinson. Brooks will start again if Robinson is unable to play.

And even if young players like Brooks are forced to play, Maryland players and coaches said the Terps' run defense is better than what it looked like against Syracuse.

Prior to that game, Maryland limited its first three opponents to an average of just three yards per carry.

Indiana's passing game will test the Terps, too, especially if Maryland is forced to play without starting cornerback Alvin Hill, who injured his knee against Syracuse.

Hoosiers junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld has thrown for 599 yards in the Hoosiers' last two games. Last year, he threw for 21 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.

Indiana also has a small but talented wide receiver in 5-foot-7, 167-pound senior Shane Wynn, who has 18 catches for 207 yards this season. He caught 11 touchdowns last year.

The Hoosiers are averaging 33.7 points a game, and Maryland's offense may have to score a decent amount of points if the Terps are going to keep up Saturday.

Fortunately for Maryland, Indiana's defense gave up 45 points against Bowling Green. Missouri had 503 yards of total offense vs. Indiana last week.

The Terps scored 24 points during the first half against Syracuse, and Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown said he feels like the Terps' offense has progressively improved during the last month.

"It's going to be another good test for us," Brown said. "They'll be ready to play coming off that big win at Missouri. And going to their place, them being home, I'm sure they'll be fired up, and we look forward to the challenge."

MARYLAND (3-1) @ INDIANA (2-1)

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Site: Memorial Stadium

TV/Radio: Big Ten Network/105.7 FM

Series: Indiana leads 2-0

What's at stake: The Terps have a chance to win their first conference game as a member of the Big Ten. Maryland also has an opportunity to move to 1-0 in conference play before facing teams like Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State. This is an especially important game considering how challenging some of those matchups will be later in the season.

Key matchup: Maryland is facing arguably one of the top running backs in the country in Indiana's Tevin Coleman. Coleman has run for 132 yards or more in each of the last three games and has rushed for 190 yards or more in each of the two games he has carried the ball more than 20 times this season. The Terps limited their first three opponents to an average of just three yards per carry, but Maryland is banged-up on defense and allowed 370 rushing yards last week to a Syracuse running game that is not as good as Indiana's.

Players to watch: Coleman is the obvious one, but Indiana also has a good quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, as well as a talented wide receiver, Shane Wynn. Defensively, sophomore inside linebacker T.J. Simmons leads Indiana with 22 tackles. Senior defensive tackle Bobby Richardson leads the Hoosiers with three sacks.

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