Top 5 most important players for Maryland football

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Oct 18, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back Brandon Ross (45) runs up the middle against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Brandon Ross/Wes Brown

The running game was the Achilles heel for the Terps during the 2014 season.

To put things into perspective, C.J. Brown led the team in rushing attempts (161) and yards (539). Obviously, Brown had an inflated amount of carries due to the fact that Maryland runs a read-option offense. However, the commitment to the traditional ground attack from Edsall and the staff was not there.

Brandon Ross was the top running back on the depth chart, but only registered 86 carries for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Backup Wes Brown ended up with more carries (103), but had just 356 yards on the ground. In only one game did a Maryland tailback registered 100 yards on the ground (Brandon Ross had 108 yards against Rutgers). In only seven games in 2014 did Ross or Brown record double-digit carries on the ground.

When Ross shouldered most of the load during the 2013 season, the Delaware native rushed 166 times for 776 yards (4.7 yards-per-carry) and four touchdowns. Ross did only top the century mark twice during his sophomore season, but registered double-digit carries in all but two games. It’s pretty clear that he does have the chops to be a solid producer at the collegiate level.

For the Terps, the team just needs to stay committed to the running game when trailing early on in games. Ross and Brown are a great combination of thunder and lightning that can definitely get the job done when given a chance. Brown is the more physical of the two and should be used a lot more in short yardage situations. If Maryland mixes up the run and the pass, there’s no reason why they can’t have a much more successful campaign than they did in 2014 on the ground.