The good and the bad from Terps' 37-15 win vs. Indiana on Saturday

September 28, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

Maryland’s first conference game as a member of the Big Ten ended with Terps coach Randy Edsall having an opportunity to present athletic director Kevin Anderson with a game ball that will go in a trophy case to commemorate the team's first Big Ten conference win.

Maryland beat Indiana, 37-15, and is 1-0 in conference play as a member of the Big Ten. Here is what went well and what didn't Saturday from a Terps perspective:

THE GOOD

The overall showing

This was a complete team win.

Maryland had its best and most consistent showing of the season on offense and produced points on seven of its first 10 possessions. 

A banged-up Terps defense, which had allowed 1,283 yards in the previous two games, held a very good Indiana offense to just 15 points and 332 yards of total offense. And Maryland's special teams contributed, too, as Brad Craddock converted all three of his field-goal attempts, and punter Nate Renfro had two of his four punts downed inside Indiana’s 20-yard line.

This was an all-around impressive showing for the Terps.

The quarterback play

C.J. Brown was 10 of 15 for 163 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions before leaving the game with a sprained left wrist, and backup quarterback Caleb Rowe was 12 of 18 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions after replacing Brown.

Brown and Rowe were a combined 22 of 33 for 361 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and both got the ball to several different players.

Deon Long had 10 catches for 108 yards. Stefon Diggs had six catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. Running back Wes Brown had a 38-yard catch on a nice ball from C.J. Brown, and the Terps also got big plays in the passing game from freshman wide receiver Juwann Winfree, running back Brandon Ross and fullback Kenny Goins.

Maryland believes it has the talent to be explosive in the passing game, and the passing game looked good Saturday.

The defense

The Terps were facing an offense that entered Saturday averaging 33.7 points per game and a running back, Tevin Coleman, who began the day averaging 8.6 yards per carry. But Maryland held Indiana to just nine points through three-plus quarters and limited Coleman to an average of just 3.8 yards per carry aside from one long run.

The Terps also held Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who had thrown for 599 yards in the Hoosiers’ previous two games, to 14 of 37 passing with no touchdowns and an interception. Sudfeld was sacked three times and finished with just 126 yards.

Maryland has lost some key players on defense to injury throughout the first month of the season. But the Terps’ defense was great Saturday.

Inside linebacker Cole Farrand was probably the star of the day on defense. He finished with 19 tackles, 1 1/2 tackles for a loss and a pass deflection. He also stopped Coleman for no gain on a fourth-and-1 during the third quarter.

However, Maryland also got nine tackles from inside linebacker L.A. Goree, finished with seven tackles for a loss as a team, got another interception from cornerback Will Likely, and there were not many times that Terps defenders stuck out for negative reasons.

The play-calling and game plans

Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley had some creative calls that led to big plays for the Terps on offense, and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart deserves credit for his defense playing as well as it did against that Indiana offense.

Players continuing to buy in

Since the beginning of preseason practice, Edsall has made it clear to his wide receivers that he is looking for more from them than simply going out and making catches and that he expects them to contribute as blockers on plays that they don’t get the ball.

Edsall got frustrated with the blocking from the receivers at times during preseason practice. However, Diggs and Marcus Leak had key blocks to spring Ross for a 90-yard touchdown against Syracuse last week, and both Leak and Long had blocks to help produce big plays against Indiana.

Long had the key block on Ross' 36-yard touchdown catch-and-run during the third quarter, and Leak had a big block to help Diggs pick up 37 yards on a screen pass during the first half.

Running back Brandon Ross

Ross fumbled three times in Maryland’s first two games and lost some playing time after that.

But Ross has made some big plays for the Terps each of the last two weeks. He had the 90-yard touchdown vs. Syracuse, turned a screen pass into a 36-yard touchdown against Indiana and picked up 61 yards on just six carries vs. the Hoosiers.

Ross had runs of 15 and 13 yards on Maryland’s first drive to help set up a field goal by Craddock. He then had a 22-yard run later in the first quarter that converted a third-and-17 and helped set up the Terps’ first touchdown.

THE BAD

C.J. Brown getting hurt

Brown suffered a sprained left wrist during the first half and did not play after halftime.

Rowe stepped in and played well, but Brown has progressively improved during Maryland’s first five games and was playing really well Saturday before getting hurt.

The Terps do have Rowe. But no team ever wants to lose its starting quarterback.

Fortunately for Maryland and Brown, the injury does not appear to be anything major, although Edsall did not say after the game whether he expects Brown to be available for next week’s game vs. Ohio State.

The kick and punt coverage teams

Indiana had two long kick returns — one that went for 38 yards and another that went for 35. Maryland also missed multiple tackles on a long punt return for a touchdown that was called back due to a penalty and had a roughing-the-punter penalty during the second half that extended an Indiana drive.

Three personal foul penalties on the defense

Maryland’s defense was flagged three times for illegal hands to the face.

mzenitz@tribune.com

twitter.com/mzenitz

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