Maryland’s bowl hopes are all but gone after the 31-24 loss, but there are things to note.
How far off was this gameplan?
Clearly, very. As it was noted in our preview, the Scarlet Knights were going to use their ground game and try to beat Maryland up. It seems as if the Terrapins were not expecting that to be the case.
As a team, Rutgers finished with 239 yards on the ground, and a whopping 5.2 yards per carry. Senior back Gus Edwards finished with 109 yards and 5.2 yards per carry by himself. This was his first time reaching the 100-yard mark this season as well.
The longest run by a running back was just 16 yards, yet they managed such a high average per carry because Maryland’s line was simply non-existent. Backs would blow past the defensive line and force linebackers to take them down. While the second line of defense did a decent job, the Terrapins can not rely on that plan to work against the talent they face to end this season.
Third Down Defense and Maryland do not mix well
This has been the biggest blow to Maryland’s defense all season, and Rutgers put a stamp on that fact. The Scarlet Knights managed to convert over 50% of their third down opportunities, which is way above their average of just 33% coming in.
The Terrapins rank in the bottom 10 of all FBS teams on third down defense. It’s a strange phenomenon because the defense has not been hit hit with major injuries, yet Big Ten play has destroyed them on third downs.
The inability to get off the field, paired with the offense’s lack of time on the field will never result in wins for DJ Durkin and his team.
Ryan Brand could be the real deal
After Max Bortenschlager took a hit while trying to rush for a first down, Ryan Brand was brought in for Maryland’s final drive. The Detroit native, and true freshman, was not even listed on the Terrapins two-deep, which fed into the shock Maryland fans had.
Brand stepped in over Caleb Henderson, and led Maryland on a 17 play, 63 yard drive, that lasted nearly seven minutes. He finished with eight of 12 passes completed for 68 yards, for a quarterback rating of 83.
Even though he could not get the win, his poise in that do or die situation was an incredible sight. This could possibly reflect a change on this week’s two-deep roster against Michigan.