Maryland suffered their third loss in a row, bring them below .500 on the season.
Losing to fifth-ranked Wisconsin on the road is not a shocker for the Terrapins, but there are some key points that need to be discussed.
1) Andy Buh needs to figure out how to stop passes across the middle
This was noted during the Northwestern game, but has become an alarming concern after this game in Madison. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook picked apart the Terrapin defense, but the alarming stat was 83 yards on 11 catches for tight end Troy Fumagalli.
One factor is Maryland’s lack of size on defense, but not many players can cover the 6’6 and 248 pound Fumagalli to begin with. Nonetheless, Buh and his squad have been giving up late crossing patterns, mesh routes, and slants to the inside way too easily.
2) Pressure, Pressure, More Pressure!
In order to help limit the damage of point number one, the defensive line simply needs to pressure the quarterback. Whether that means adding more stunts, heavier blitzes, or different guys, Buh needs to find a way to get it done.
Against the Badgers, Maryland created just two quarterback hurries. This gave Hornibrook all the time in the world to find those late crossing routes. The defensive backs have done what they needed to in stopping the big pass plays, but they simply won’t be able to cover a zone or play their man when the quarterback has upwards of 5-10 seconds in the pocket.
3) The rushing attack that we have been missing returned!
From the start, Maryland’s rushing offense showed up and was much needed. Against Ohio State and Northwestern, the Terrapins totaled a combined 135 yards on the ground. Against Wisconsin, one of the better run defenses in the nation, Maryland totaled 143 yards, including 83 from Ty Johnson on 16 carries.
Lorenzo Harrison added 64 yards on 12 carries, showing that Maryland still has that potent depth they displayed earlier this year. Harrison also had four catches out of the backfield for 21 yards, which helped relieve Max Bortenschlager of some pressure.
4) Max Bortenschlager needs to keep working on decision making
As mentioned by DJ Durkin in his weekly press conference, Bortenschlager’s decision making has proven to be costly. After the rushing attack started paving away on the first drive, it all ended with one decision.
Yes, the defensive lineman tipped it, but Bortenschlager needs to just learn how to look out for those possibilities. Without mistakes like that, Maryland could have been even more in the game, or ahead of their opponent. Maintaining a lead is always easier than coming back from mistakes.
5) Josh Woods continues to shine even in the darkest games for this defense
As Durkin has also mentioned, Josh Woods continued to show his improvements on the field. When Wisconsin threatened to expand their lead, Woods came up with a major interception that gave Maryland a chance to remain in the game.
Woods finished the game with six tackles, four solo tackles, and the lone interception. His work ethic off the field is what Durkin credits for his successes on the field.
What is the main point?
The bottom line for this team is that they just need to keep playing together. With the injuries that have mounted at quarterback, and the talent level they have faced this year, not much more could have been expected.
Individual improvement, and tying up loose ends with schemes this year will benefit a healthy team next season.