Maryland got its second win of the 2015 season with a 35-17 decision over South Florida on Saturday. We take a closer look with our five observations:
- Caleb Rowe is a mixed bag – After two bleak performances from Perry Hills, coach Randy Edsall elected to make a change at the quarterback position. In his place, Rowe ran the offense and it did look more explosive. While Rowe did throw four touchdown passes, he also tossed three interceptions against South Florida. His mistakes came courtesy of errant throws that Rowe really shouldn’t have tried to force. Obviously, the turnovers have to stop if Maryland wants to suceed during Big Ten play. Rowe did throw the deep ball very well as he did hit wideout Taivon Jacobs for a 70-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter. It’s encouraging the way that Rowe played and gave the offense some life, but the turnovers have to stop.
- Avery Edwards impresses – The tight end position was absolutely dreadful last season. However, the position has definitely shown some signs of life throughout the early part of the 2015 season. Edwards caught three passes for 36 yards and two touchdowns for the Terrapins on Saturday. Edwards has been a remarkable find for Maryland and really proved his worth in the red zone. On his first touchdown grab, Edwards reached over a Bulls defender to make a phenomenal catch in the back of the end zone. Edwards should get even more targets going forward.
- Big day for the secondary – Maryland’s secondary was picked apart by Bowling Green last week, but had a solid rebound effort against South Florida. In particular, cornerback Sean Davis struggled in pass coverage against the Falcons, but had a big game on Saturday. Davis recorded two interceptions against the Bulls quarterbacks and seemed to be everywhere. Fellow cornerback Will Likely continued to play an impressive brand of football, but the emergence of Davis was nice to see. If the Terps are going to contend in the Big Ten East, Davis is going to have to continue to prove himself. That’ll force teams to throw at Likely a little more often than they like to.
- New starting wideouts – Edsall shook things up this week when he named Taivon Jacobs and D.J. Moore as starters. In the first two games, Jacobs only registered only catch. However, he made his mark against the Bulls when he caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Rowe in stride. Jacobs has been labeled as a potential deep threat and he finally showed why on Saturday. Moore also had a solid performance as he caught three passes for 47 yards and was targeted early and often. Moore had a 42-yard touchdown on a slant against Bowling Green, but it was Jacobs’ turn to have a home run type play this week. With receivers like Levern Jacobs and Amba Etta-Tawo being more possession wideouts, it’s very important for Maryland to have guys like Taivon Jacobs and Moore that can catch the deep ball in regularity. It’s beginning to look like the Terps have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. The big question is whether or not Rowe can continue to get them the ball.
- Front seven gets pressure – After being dissected by Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Maryland faced another interesting test in quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers is a very mobile signal caller that likes to run the football even more than he likes to pass. Maryland’s front seven did a solid job of getting to Flowers and Steven Bench and made their lives very uncomfortable, primarily in the second half. In total, the Terps recorded six sacks with defensive end Roman Braglio registering two of them. Linebacker Yannick Ngakoue also had 1.5 sacks on the afternoon and continues to be a force for the Terps. For a group that had a lot of uncertainty with the switch to a 4-3 defense, they’ve done a decent job through three games. Obviously, the Bowling Green game saw nobody really perform at the level they’re capable of. Saturday’s win was certainly encouraging and the unit will need to keep it going against West Virginia.