What We Learned From Maryland/Penn State


Nov 1, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins place kicker Brad Craddock (15) kicks an extra point against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Maryland defeated Penn State 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There was a ton of hype heading into Maryland’s tussle with Penn State this past Saturday. From the handshake fiasco to the closely contested battle on the scoreboard, it certainly lived up to its billing. But just what did we learn about the Terrapins in their huge Big Ten win?

  • Maryland’s front seven can be dominant – Heading into the game, it was known that Penn State had an extremely young offensive line, and was among one of the worst in the Big Ten. The Terps certainly capitalized on their shortcomings, and tallied  four sacks and nine tackles for loss in the victory. Maryland has shown flashes of just how talented they are. Coming into the regular season, the front seven was considered the strength of the defense, and that was proved on Saturday. Defensive end Andre Monroe continued to have success getting to the quarterback as he registered a sack in a game for the sixth time this season. The sack gave Monroe 22 for his career, and tied him with Shawne Merriman (2002-04) for second all-time in Maryland history. Getting penetration is huge for the Maryland defense due to the high level of quarterback play (case and point in Christian Hackenberg on Saturday). For example, the Terps also recorded four sacks against Iowa on Oct. 18, which led to a 38-31 win.
  • Brad Craddock could be Maryland’s MVP thus far – On an offense that has playmakers like C.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Deon Long, you wouldn’t expect a kicker to get so much buzz. However, that’s the case for the Terps. Junior kicker Brad Craddock has hasn’t missed a field goal so far in 2014, and just appears to be in a zone right now. The Australian has converted 14 out of 14 field goal attempts, and has a long of 57 yards (against Ohio State). Craddock continued his impressive campaign as he booted a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to beat the Nittany Lions. Pressure just doesn’t seem to get to Craddock. This is the same kicker that had trouble converting extra points as a freshman. Without Craddock, Maryland would definitely be trouble.
  • Have the Terps found a tight end? – Look, it was only one catch and P.J. Gallo only had one prior catch coming into the Penn State game. However, Gallo is a big body that can definitely prove his worth in the red zone. We know how much Brown likes to get outside the pocket and make plays on the run. Gallo is a guy that could thrive in situations just like that when the Terps are faced with a short field. He could definitely be a Dave Stinebaugh-type, seeing as he is already a solid blocker. There’s still three games left, but we could be seeing a little bit more of Gallo than we have all season after this touchdown grab.
  • Maryland isn’t afraid to make a statement – Every media outlet in the entire country made a big deal out of Maryland not shaking hands with Penn State prior to the game. Whether it was a ploy to jumpstart this rivalry or whatever the case may be, the Terps showed that they are a resillent team that isn’t going to back down. This could do absolute wonders on the recruiting trail. Obviously, Maryland and Penn State recruit a lot of the same players every year. However, when Penn State coach James Franklin claimed the state of Maryland as his school’s home state, it may have added some fuel to the fire for the Terps. If you don’t agree, check out offensive lineman Mike Minter’s tweet following Saturday’s game. This rivalry has only begun, and we could dividends in the very near future. We’ll have more from a recruiting standpoint later in the week on the site.