Maryland Football: Three takeaways from Minnesota loss

Oct 15, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome (3) runs against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome (3) runs against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second consecutive week, the Maryland football team had a less-than-stellar performance.

The Terrapins were demolished by Minnesota in a 31-10 decision on Saturday afternoon.

Despite starting quarterback Mitch Leidner missing the game, the Golden Gophers still managed to control the game with their rushing attack. Minnesota ended up totaling 229 yards on the ground and 4.8 yards-per-carry.

Saturday’s contest left more of the same questions along with a few new ones.

Here’s our takeaways from the game.

1.) Penalties run rampant

Miscues seemed to be the common theme of Saturday’s game.

Maryland committed nine penalties for 75 yards throughout the contest. Five of those penalties were of the holding variety.

All five holding penalties wiped running plays of five yards or more from running back Lorenzo Harrison and quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome. In fact, Harrison had a third-and-20 conversion taken off the board after a holding penalty by wideout D.J. Moore.

For a team that relies on the running game, the penalties really set the team back.

2.) Rush defense still leaves much to be desired

After stopping Markell Jones two games ago, it appeared that Maryland’s run defense may even be underrated.

However, the Terps have been carved up in back-to-back weeks by Minnesota and Penn State respectively. Saquon Barkley racked up 202 yards on the ground and the combination of Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith racked up 230 yards between them.

Coming in, it was clear that slowing down the running game was the key to stopping the Golden Gophers. After all, the team was starting a former walk-on in Conor Rhoda at quarterback and he appeared to be very hesitant throwing the football.

Whether it was missed tackles or just gaping holes, Maryland couldn’t seem to stop Brooks and Smith. They did well slowing the Gophers down on third down, but that was primarily when Rhoda was letting it fly.

Smith tallied the bulk of his yards on a 70-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter. His long run gave Minnesota a two-touchdown lead and really was the dagger in the heart of the Terps.

Big Ten teams are clearly going to attack the Maryland front seven on the ground going forward. The pass coverage has been solid for the most part, but stopping the run has been their biggest struggle.

3.) Tyrrell Pigrome struggles

Turnovers were also a big issue.

Maryland fumbled twice and Pigrome was intercepted twice on the afternoon. Obviously, the final fumble occurred when Pigrome dropped back to pass and was hit in the final seconds.

It was the first career start for Pigrome, so jitters were to be expected.

However, the first interception could’ve definitely been avoided. Pigrome stared down Levern Jacobs the whole way and it was an easy decision for KiAnte Hardin to drop back and read the play.

On the second pick, Pigrome attempted to fit one into tight coverage to Teldrick Morgan. However, Antoine Winfield Jr. ended up intercepting the pass and taking it all the way back for a touchdown.

Pigrome never really seemed to get into a rhythm on the afternoon. He finished 18-of-37 for 161 yards and a touchdown.

With 5:42 left in the game, Pigrome was able to find a diving D.J. Moore for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 24-10. If the Terps hadn’t have allowed a touchdown right before that, it would’ve made it a seven-point game.

Next: Torrey Smith scores second touchdown of the season

Pigrome still has the tools to be a good quarterback for the Maryland football program. However, he still has a lot of development ahead of him.