Maryland Starts Big, Falls Flat on Senior Day

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – It’s been a long, tough season for Maryland Terrapins football. Randy Edsall failed to make it through his fifth season as head coach; he was fired after Maryland’s 49-28 loss at Ohio State on October 10, and was replaced by Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Mike Locksley. However, that hasn’t helped matters much.

Maryland came into its Senior Day game against Indiana at Byrd Stadium on a seven-game losing streak. Quarterback play, protecting the football and penalties have plagued the Terrapins all season long. Meanwhile, Indiana was coming off a 48-41 double-overtime loss to number 14 (College Football Playoff rankings) Michigan. Earlier in November, the Hoosiers gave a scare to ninth-ranked Iowa before ultimately falling to the Big Ten West-leading Hawkeyes, 35-27 on Nov. 7. In October, Indiana gave top-ranked Ohio State everything it could handle before ultimately falling to the Buckeyes, 34-27 on Oct. 3. Both teams came in winless in conference play.

Before the game, Maryland honored its 15 senior players on the field in a pregame ceremony. The players posed for pictures with coaches before joining their families and framed jerseys. Locksley said he and his players really wanted to win this game for the seniors.

“I want to thank our seniors for the great leadership they’ve provided us here the past six weeks or through the past four or five years. These guys have had some tremendous times here. They’ve done some really good things. Obviously, we’re finishing this thing up, we’re struggling a little bit, but these guys continue to be great leaders for us,” Locksley said.

Indiana got the ball first after Maryland won the toss and deferred its option to the second half. Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld connected with wide receiver Mitchell Paige for a 34-yard pass to the Maryland 19. Running back Devine Redding ran for 13 yards to give Indiana a first-and-goal at the Maryland 6, but Maryland’s defense stiffened and forced Indiana to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Griffin Oakes with 11:24 left in the first quarter. When Maryland got the ball for its first possession, the Terrapins wasted no time in answering.

On Maryland’s second play from scrimmage, senior running back Brandon Ross broke free for a 79-yard touchdown run to give the Terrapins the lead. Adam Greene, filling in for the reliable but injured Brad Craddock, knocked in the extra point off the right upright to give Maryland a 7-3 lead just 50 seconds after getting the ball. The run was the longest of Ross’ career. Ross wasn’t done yet in the first quarter. After forcing a punt, Maryland started on its own 13. After driving up to Indiana’s 22, Ross finished the drive with another touchdown run to give the Terrapins a 14-3 lead with 7:10 left in the first. Ross’ second touchdown run capped a nine-play, 87-yard drive that covered two minutes and 15 seconds. Maryland’s defense then started to force the issue.

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue sacked Sudfeld and forced a fumble that was recovered by Quinton Jefferson at the Indiana 20. That gave Ngakoue 13.5 sacks on the season, making him Maryland’s all-time single-season leader in sacks. Four plays later, Rowe found receiver Malcolm Culmer for a 14-yard touchdown that gave Maryland a 21-3 lead with five and a half minutes left in the opening quarter. Sudfeld finally did get into a rhythm, connecting on four straight passes, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Paige to pull the Hoosiers back to within 21-10 with a minute and a half left in the first quarter. He then hit Andre Booker for a 59-yard touchdown that cut Maryland’s lead to four just under a minute into the second quarter. The Hoosiers recovered an onside kick, and eight plays later, Sudfeld leaped over the pile from just outside the goal line to give Indiana a 24-21 lead. The Hoosiers stretched the lead to six with eight minutes left in the first half after being forced to settle for another short field goal after driving inside the Maryland 10. Indiana led 30-21 at halftime. Coach Locksley described how Sudfeld hit some big passes in the second quarter, and Indiana took advantage of Maryland’s man-to-man coverage to pick up chunks of yardage to get back into the game.

“Got to give Indiana credit; this is a team that fought back from a first-quarter deficit, and continued to play. Hats off to those guys and their coaching staff for finding a way to get it done,” Locksley said.

“I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and my teammates, and it’ll be a great thing to look back down the road,” said Ngakoue, who is now three and a half sacks away from setting the school’s all-time career sack record of 25 by Andre Monroe. Ngakoue also passed Shawne Merriman for eighth in career tackles for loss with 33. He said Indiana was able to come back by taking advantage of the defense’s mistakes, and not allowing much pressure to get to Sudfeld.

Shane Cockerille replaced Rowe to start the second half after Rowe suffered a concussion late in the first half. Cockerille was stopped for no gain on the first play of the second half, but Ross got loose for his third big play of the game. He took a draw to the right, turned the corner, tip-toed the Maryland sideline and took off for a 75-yard touchdown run to pull the Terps to within two. However, after Greene’s onside kick went out of bounds to give Indiana the ball at the Maryland 44-yard line, and the defense wasn’t able to make a stop. Sudfeld hit Paige with a six-yard pass for a second touchdown to re-establish Indiana’s nine-point lead less than two minutes into the second half. Indiana didn’t let up after another penalty on special teams. Sudfeld hit Simmie Cobbs, Jr. on a crossing route; two Maryland players ran into each other on the play, and that allowed Cobbs to get all the way down to the Terrapins four-yard line before he was pushed out of bounds. Two plays later, tight end Michael caught a three-yard touchdown pass to extend the Hoosier lead to 44-28 with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter. The quarter ended with Indiana leading 47-28, and that would prove to be the final score as the Hoosiers won their first conference game. Sudfeld finished with 385 yards and four touchdowns passing. Maryland will close out the regular season over Thanksgiving weekend at Rutgers on Nov. 28.

Ross became the first player in the history of Maryland football to run for at least 250 yards and three touchdowns in the same game. He’s now ninth on the team’s all-time rushing list with 2,375 yards in his career, and says he saw a lot of room to run.

“I just saw huge holes, that’s it,” said Ross. “I have to give a lot of credit to the (offensive) line, of course. I was just following their blocks.” Ross said, describing how he followed Culmer’s block on his third-quarter touchdown run. He says his first touchdown run gave him a lot of momentum to start his final game at Byrd Stadium.

Senior Will Likely, who’s a candidate for several awards, started at wide receiver, in addition to cornerback and returning kicks. However, he was also knocked out with an injury late in the third quarter. Locksley described how injuries played into the decision to start Likely at receiver.

“Going into the game this week, as we prepared on Sunday, DeAndre Lane, who had been our starter as the inside receiver, was ruled out. He had a mid-foot injury from the Michigan State game. Levern Jacobs has been nursing a hamstring for the last two, three weeks, along with a knee injury, and we’re just out of bodies. And so we made the decision to start Will on the offensive side of the ball and play both sides for us. It wasn’t a package; I mean he practiced on the offensive side of the ball primarily all week,” Locksley said. “We did that in order to get a really good player on the field to help us try to win a ball game, especially knowing that Perry (Hills) was going to be out of the game with mono. We knew we would have to throw the ball to try to win against this team because of how they structure themselves defensively.”

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in France, security was stepped up at Byrd Stadium. Fans were allowed to bring in bags that measured no larger than eight inches by 11 inches by 12 inches. All other bags, including backpacks, were not allowed into the stadium. Fans were subjected to enhanced screenings at all the gates. These increased security measures will apply to all future sporting events at the University, including basketball games at the Xfinity Center.

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.

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