With the Maryland football team still winless, here’s our five observations from this past weekend’s loss against Wisconsin:
- Quarterback struggles continue – It feels like beating a dead horse. During nearly every game this season, it feels like the quarterback play has been suspect. Perry Hills got the start once again on Saturday, and definitely had his fair share of struggles. Hills only completed 6-of-16 passes for 107 yards while tossing a touchdown and an interception. It continues to be the turnovers that is the issue for Hills. The issue has been partially masked by his success on the ground, but he couldn’t muster anything against the Badgers. Caleb Rowe came into the game in the fourth quarter and did have a rough start with an interception. However, Rowe bounced back to lead Maryland on a nine-play touchdown drive that cut the lead to just seven points. Hills was struggling, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Rowe in the game. It would be a surprise if coach Mike Locksley decided to make the switch to Rowe, especially after catering the offense to Hills’ skillset.
- Wideouts continue to make plays – Wide receiver was a position labeled with question marks entering the season. Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, and Marcus Leak were all gone from the program. Outside of Levern Jacobs, there was a lot of youth and uncertainty. However, this can definitely be viewed as a position of strength. D.J. Moore has been very impressive as a true freshman. Moore continued his strong campaign as he caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Hills to tie the game late in the first half. Moore has displayed his ability as a deep threat on several occasions this season. Junior DeAndre Lane has also been impressive in recent weeks. After catching his first collegiate touchdown pass, Lane registered three catches for 63 yards against Wisconsin, including a diving 41-yard grab. With Jacobs, Lane, and Moore continuing to make plays, Maryland is in great shape heading into the 2016 season with Dwayne Haskins potentially taking the snaps under center.
- Pass rush is phenomenal – Maryland’s pass rush has arguably been the most impressive aspect of the roster in 2015. Even with facing a very strong Wisconsin offensive line, the Terps had success in getting pressure on quarterback Joel Stave. Maryland registered four sacks against the Badgers, including one drive where they accumulated three consecutive sacks on Stave. Part of the reason for this unit’s success is the experience level. Quinton Jefferson and Yannick Ngakoue account for 15.5 sacks and have been a model of consistency for Maryland. This is remarkable for a front seven that missing several key members.
- Craddock banged up – Brad Craddock hasn’t been quite as much as the Maryland coaching staff would’ve liked this season. However, now the Terps may have to do without him for a bit of time. The Australian kicker mysteriously disappeared during Saturday’s game, but it was learned after the game that he suffered a dislocated wrist. The injury will likely force him to miss Saturday’s game against Michigan State. In Craddock’s place, Adam Greene connected on 1-of-2 field goal attempts with the successful conversion being from 44 yards. While Greene isn’t Craddock, he does have experience and has studied behind Craddock over the last few years.
- Defending the run -Despite tallying two rushing touchdowns, Wisconsin didn’t have a ton of success running the football against Maryland. The Badgers only averaged 2.9 yards-per-carry in the absence of Corey Clement. Dare Ogunbowale, who is Diamond Stone’s cousin, registered 47 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Ogunbowale wouldn’t have even had that many yards if it were not for a 21-yard touchdown run in the first half. Maryland continues to be successful in defending the ground attack. With a few pieces missing from the front seven, this is extremely impressive and continues to be a key strength for the team.