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Previewing The Enemy: Maryland Terrapins

No. 12 Penn State football (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten) will play host to Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) on Saturday in the final home game of the season.

Maryland’s football program has seen better days. In August of this year, then-head coach DJ Durkin was placed on administrative leave after the death of lineman Jordan McNair. McNair was hospitalized after suffering heat stroke in a team workout and underwent a liver transplant, but passed away fifteen days later, on June 13.

After an investigation into issues surrounding the culture Durkin instilled in his program, Maryland’s Board of Regents decided to allow Durkin to stay. He was reinstated as head coach on October 30, but protests from players and the public led Durkin to be fired the next day. 

Despite the turmoil, Maryland is on the cusp of bowl eligibility, but James Franklin’s program stands in the way of a .500 regular season and a postseason bid.

The Team

Matt Canada now leads this team, which has proven incredibly inconsistent. The Terrapins opened the season with a win over a strong Texas team, but their results have been strange since, to say the least.

Maryland has lost to Temple, been shut out by Iowa, and fell to the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, but took Ohio State to overtime last week in yet another confusing turn of events. The Terps had a really good chance to win the game, but an errant pass on a two-point conversion attempt gave the Buckeyes a crucial victory.

Penn State blew out Maryland last season with a 66-3 victory, but maybe the visitors will summon some of the handshake-refusal energy they employed in 2014 en route to a victory at Beaver Stadium… but probably not. A below-average offense and decent defense shouldn’t be too much to handle.


Kasim Hill, Maryland’s original starting quarterback, suffered an ACL tear and is out for the remainder of the season. In his place, Tyrell Pigrome has been okay, completing 23-of-44 passes for 376 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. 

Anthony McFarland is the featured back behind Pigrome under center. Against Ohio State, McFarland put up some absurd numbers: 21 carries for 298 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns went for 81 yards, while the other went for 75 yards. The running back has tremendous speed and is virtually uncatchable with nothing but green grass ahead of him.

Taivon Jacobs leads the receiving corps as a senior. He’s reeled in 23 catches for 298 yards and a couple of touchdowns this season. Freshman receiver Jeshaun Jones has fit into the offense well, tallying five touchdowns and 20 receptions for the Terps. Still, the passing game doesn’t always factor heavily into Matt Canada’s offensive style. Canada prefers to get the running game going however he can.

Speaking of which, the Maryland offensive line has been good enough to place it at No. 13 in rushing offense in the FBS. Maryland is averaging nearly 250 rushing yards per game, which is undeniably impressive. The offensive line has allowed 25 sacks, though, which ranks tied for No. 69 in the nation.


Maryland has allowed 378.5 yards per game this season, putting the Terps somewhere around the middle of the pack. 

Senior linebacker Tre Watson has served as the core of the defense thus far. He’s racked up 104 total tackles, including a sack, five interceptions, and a touchdown. Fellow linebacker Isaiah Davis has also been solid defensively — he’s tallied 87 total tackles and a couple of sacks.

Among the defensive backs, Tino Ellis leads the group with 11 passes defended. RaVon Davis has seven passes defended, and picked off Dwayne Haskins and returned it for a score this past weekend. Antoine Brooks is third on the team with 62 tackles on top of three pass deflections and an interception.

Although the secondary has been fairly strong, Maryland has failed to get pressure on the quarterback. The Terps have just 17 sacks on the season as a team. Byron Cowart and Jesse Aniebonam have been the defensive linemen to watch with a combined five sacks. Keiron Howard is the only other defensive lineman on the squad with multiple sacks this season.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected].

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