Turnovers and inconsistent offense continue to hurt Terrapins

After getting blown out by #20 Ohio State and a Wisconsin team that’s now ranked in the top 15, the Maryland Terrapins were looking to bounce back with a statement win in Big Ten play. They got it in Happy Valley, but appear to be reverting back to their old ways.

After Melvin Gordon ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers to a 52-7 win in Madison on Oct. 25, Maryland went to Penn State with a chip on its shoulder. A scuffle broke out during pregame warmups, with star receiver Stefon Diggs in the middle of the action. After order was restored, Diggs and the other two Maryland captains refused to shake hands with the Penn State captains at the opening coin toss, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maryland had the last laugh at the end as the defense held the Nittany Lions to 42 yards rushing, and Brad Craddock kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Terrapins a 20-19 win. However, after the game, the Big Ten fined Maryland $10,000, and suspended Diggs for the Terrapins’ next game against Michigan State.

Two weeks later, the 12th-ranked Spartans came to College Park looking to bounce back from a loss at home to Ohio State. They were welcomed by a Terps team and a Byrd Stadium crowd that was dressed in black for a cold nighttime matchup. Maryland, playing without Diggs, went three-and-out on two out of first three possessions, and C.J. Brown threw an interception, but the defense was able to hold Michigan State to three field goals. After Michael Geiger gave Michigan State a 9-0 lead with 10:33 left in the first half, Will Likely returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Spartans’ 41-yard line. Five plays and 1:52 later, Brown connected with Daniel Adams for a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull Maryland to within 9-7. However, Jeremy Langford seized the momentum back for Michigan State with an eight-yard touchdown run to make it 16-7 at halftime.

The Spartans would start to pull away in the second half. With 1:14 left in the third quarter, R.J. Williamson picked off a Brown pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan State a 23-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, after Maryland was unable to put a drive together after getting the ball at its own 48 and had to punt, Spartans quarterback Connor Cook engineered an eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended when Langford scored his second touchdown of the night on a 25-yard run with just over seven minutes left. Three minutes later, Brown hit receiver Juwan Winfree for a 31-yard touchdown pass, and then found freshman tight end Derrick Hayward for the two- point conversion to pull Maryland within two scores at 30-15. Less than a minute later, Spartans running back Nick Hill scored on a 33-yard run to close out the scoring in a 37-15 win for Michigan State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten). The Spartans held the Terrapins to just six yards rushing, and Brown had three interceptions in another game where he struggled with consistency throwing the ball. Likely had 228 return yards for Maryland (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten).

Maryland will close out the season at a struggling Michigan Wolverines team at The Big House in Ann Arbor on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against Rutgers on Nov. 29.

Maryland begins first Big Ten basketball season

By Andrew R. Koch

The Maryland Terrapins’ first basketball season in the Big Ten is officially underway. The UMD Men’s and Women’s basketball teams hosted a Superman-themed “Super B1G Maryland Madness” rally on Oct. 17 at the XFINITY Center to kick off the 2014-2015 season. Radio Men’s basketball announcer Johnny Holliday served as the Master of Ceremonies. He began the evening by pointing out the new video scoreboard over center court. The two video-boards measure 12-and- a-half foot tall by 33 foot wide each and feature the Under Armour logo at the bottom.

The XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland
The XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland

The Women’s team was introduced first, players making their way down to the court from the luxury suites into the lower bowl. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Brenda Frese, was introduced next. She expressed confidence in both her team and the Maryland fans in her speech to the crowd.

“How are the best fans in the country doing tonight?” Frese asked in her opening remarks.

She told the Terrapin faithful that after falling just short in their Final Four appearance last season, her team is “extremely hungry” and “extremely motived” for the coming season. Keeping in the spirit of the rally she also informed the crowd that she’s been asked what it will be like for Maryland to come to the Big Ten. Her response to them she stated is always, “What will it be like for the Big Ten to come to Maryland,” ending her speech in a round of applause.

Following a performance by the dance team, the Men’s team was introduced next and players rose up one by one onto the stage. As a unit, they walked through red lasers down onto the floor, took a ball provided to them by one of the ball boys, and dribbled down to the basket for either a layup or dunk. After the coaching staff was introduced, Head Coach Mark Turgeon came out of a phone booth, ditched a pair of glasses, and opened up his shirt to reveal a Superman-inspired Maryland logo. His remarks to the crowd were inspired by the slogans of their apparel provider.

“We will play harder. We will play smarter. We will practice like champions, and we will…protect this house,” the fourth-year head coach told the crowd. He added that even though the season is just getting started, this is already one of his favorite teams in 16 years as a college basketball head coach. Emphasizing their position as student athletes, Turgeon praised his player’s for going to their classes, getting good grades, and maintaining a good work ethic in practice.

“They come to practice on time, they work their tails off, and they’re very coachable,” Turgeon said of his team, which was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in the preseason coaches’ poll. He praised the strength the conference has showed on the national stage over the last several years.

“The Big Ten is a heck of a league, arguably the best league in the country the last four years; great coaches, great players,” Turgeon said, whose recruiting class has been ranked in the top 10.

Redshirt senior guard Richard Pack will be among the players counted on to direct Maryland’s offense. The Detroit native is a two-time transfer, having played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida International University before transferring to North Carolina A&T and then Maryland. He’s tried to impart to the Maryland freshmen how things work in college basketball and how it’s different from high school. Pack feels that the team will perform well this year because of how close the group is. He was asked about how that confidence can be translated into positive results:

“A lot of the confidence has come from how hard we’re working and how together we’re playing, so we lean on each other, so we give each other confidence.” Pack said. “We’re a tight group, and I think that’s how it can translate. Whenever someone is feeling down, someone else picks it up. Someone’s having an off night, another guy picks up that slack. We have that type of team this year where I think we have a lot of guys who can contribute.”

The Maryland women were picked as the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten. Coach Frese says that means her team has already garnered respect from its new league.

“I think people have obviously followed our program and watched our tradition and our past,” Frese said, pointing out that the games during the regular season are more important than a preseason ranking. However, the team will have to move forward without the most successful player in program history, Alyssa Thomas. Frese says it will have to be a group effort to fill the void that Thomas is leaving behind.

“No one’s going to do what Alyssa Thomas did. She’s one of the special players who’s hanging in the rafters for a reason, but I do think it’ll be by committee,” Frese said.

Two of the players Frese singled out to watch are sophomore center Brionna Jones of Havre de Grade, who will provide a presence in the post, and sophomore guard Lexie Brown, who was named to the All ACC Freshman team last season. In the team’s intra-squad scrimmage, Brown connected on a pair of three pointers.

As part of the evening, the teams unveiled new uniforms from Under Armour. Both teams have red, white and yellow uniforms trimmed with the colors of the Maryland flag. The men’s team will also have a black alternate uniform. Each team then performed a dance routine that Brown said took two to three weeks of several hour practices with the dance team to perfect.

November’s schedule for the

Maryland Women features six home games, including South Florida on Nov. 19 and Loyola on Nov. 24.

The Lady Terrapins will play James Madison and Washington State in the San Juan Classic in Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving weekend. The Maryland Men will play seven home games and travel to Kansas City to join Arizona State, Iowa State, and Alabama in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic the week of Thanksgiving.

Photo Credit

Terrapins football begins new era in Big Ten

By Andrew Koch

Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall and his staff have finalized their roster, and the Terrapins have broken camp as they get ready for their first season in the Big Ten Conference.

After announcing in 2012 that it would be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference after helping create the conference in 1953, the University was sued by the conference for the exit fee of $52.3 million. That exit fee had been raised twice within the previous year. According to ESPN, the fee was first increased to $20 million in 2011, after Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the conference, and then up to $52.3 million the following year, when the University of Notre Dame announced that it would join the ACC in all sports except football.

Two months later, when Maryland announced that it was going to join the Big Ten, the ACC responded by withholding Maryland’s share of the conference’s TV and bowl revenue. Maryland filed suit, calling the move “an illegal penalty.” After being sued for the exit fee, the University filed a $157 million countersuit against the conference. In the suit, the school claimed that the ACC tried to recruit a pair of Big Ten schools to join after Maryland announced it was leaving. In a settlement that was reached on Aug. 8, the ACC will be allowed to keep the $31.4 million in TV and bowl revenue, and Maryland won’t owe the conference any additional money.

With all the legal wrangling in the background now in the rear-view mirror, the Terrapins football team focused on preparing for a new season and a new conference. Maryland went 7-6 in 2013, its final season in the ACC, including a 3-5 record in conference games. In training camp, much of the competition was on the offensive side of the ball. According to Matt Bertram of the Athletic Department’s Media Relations Office, this year’s training camp saw a wide-open competition at tight end. That position will have a young group, with the most experienced of the five on this year’s roster being sophomores Andrew Isaacs, Brian McMahon and P.J. Gallo. The other two tight ends on the roster are redshirt freshmen Eric Roca of Puerto Rico and Derrick Hayward of Wicomico High School in Salisbury. At running back, four players were competing for two spots to get regular playing time. However, one of those running backs, Jacquille Veii, has been converted into a wide receiver, and will be lining up in the slot.

The defense will be anchored by senior Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (Towson High School) and Sophomore Yannick Ngakoue at linebacker. Cudjoe-Virgil had 18 total tackles, three sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception in six games as a redshirt junior last year. Ngakoue added 10 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The pass rush will be led by defensive end Andre Monroe, who led the team with 9.5 sacks, good for a tie for sixth in the ACC. Monroe set career highs in total and solo tackles in a game (10 total, seven solo in Maryland’s loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl), sacks and tackles for loss (three sacks, and 3.5 tackles-for-loss in an overtime win at Virginia Tech).

Maryland will open the season on Aug. 30 in College Park against James Madison. The non-conference schedule will include games at South Florida, home against West Virginia, and at Syracuse. The Terps will play their first Big Ten game on Sept. 27 at Indiana. The following week, they’ll play their first Big Ten home game against fifth-ranked Ohio State in the Buckeyes’ second visit to Maryland.

Following their bye week, Maryland will host Iowa on Oct. 18, and then travel to number 14 Wisconsin. The Terrapins will play at Penn State on Nov. 1, and after another week off, will have a night game at home against Michigan State. Maryland will wrap up the season with games at Michigan on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers on Nov. 29 during Thanksgiving weekend.

Maryland Selected to Host First Big Ten Men’s Lacrosse Tournament

University of Maryland Athletics will be joining the Big Ten Conference this Fall. However, the Terrapins have already been chosen for a major honor in one of the university’s premier sports.

The Big Ten announced that Maryland will host the conference’s first ever men’s lacrosse tournament next season. The tournament will be held at Byrd Stadium from April 30 to May 2, 2015, and will feature the conference’s top four lacrosse teams. Terrapins head coach John Tillman said that the tournament “will be a tremendous showcase for Big Ten lacrosse.”

The Big Ten added men’s and women’s lacrosse as sports in June 2013. That same month, the conference announced that Johns Hopkins University will be joining as an associate member in men’s lacrosse, starting with the 2014-2015 academic year. Maryland and Rutgers will become the fifth and sixth teams in Big Ten lacrosse. They’ll join Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State in lacrosse. Northwestern University will be an associate conference member in women’s lacrosse.

Rutgers will have the oldest men’s lacrosse program in the Big Ten when next season begins. The Scarlet Knights have been playing lacrosse since 1887. Penn State has been playing lacrosse since 1913, followed by Maryland, starting in 1924. Michigan has the newest men’s lacrosse team, adding the sport in 2012. The six Big Ten men’s lacrosse teams have a combined 56 national championships.