December 7, 2019

Maryland Football: Terps struggled behind Rowe yet again, tired defense leads to Michigan rout


If you thought things could not go worse after last week’s debacle against West Virginia, thankfully you were right. The Terps struggled on offense all game but their defense stepped up and kept things close when in control of the field position. Midway through the third quarter, the Terps were down just 6-0 but then a tired defense was exposed before Michigan went on to win 28-0. Randy Edsall might have a four-star quarterback coming in next year in Dwayne Haskins Jr., but the questions has to be asked how much more athletic director Kevin Anderson can take.

Similar to last week, the Maryland offense got off to a promising start. Then, as if allergic to plus territory, the drive stalled with three straight passes netting negative one yard. After the defense worked hard to force a punt out of Michigan, Caleb Rowe rewarded them with his first turnover of the game. The defense accepted Rowe’s apology by stopping Michigan on fourth down by forcing a fumble.

Maryland’s defense was playing extremely well early as they forced another fumble after the offense went three and out. The offense was set up in field position to begin with but Caleb Rowe had other things in mind. After an offensive pass interference call, Rowe panicked on the next play and drilled Brandon Ross in the helmet on a screen. The result was inevitable as the ball popped straight up into the air and was picked off.

The defense did an effective job of keeping this game close regardless of three straight three and outs from the offense. By halftime it was just a 6-0 deficit although the offense had a mere 64 yards of production and was lacking a pulse.

The defense tried to give Maryland every opportunity of another upset of Michigan by starting out the half with a pick of Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock who tried to throw across his body. Of course the offense could not even muster up a a single yard when starting in plus field position. On the next offensive trip with hopes of finally breaking through, Rowe decided going three and out was not bad enough.

The redshirt junior scrambled on third down and looked like he was ready to take off, then all of a sudden figured it would be a good idea to underthrow the ball over the middle of the field. After a juggle, Michigan came up with their third interception of the game ending Rowe’s day early for the second straight week. Rowe still leads the FBS (by a WIDE margin) with 12 interception in about 13 quarters of play.

This is where the wheels came off for a tired defense. Three plays after the pick, Michigan set up another solid screen pass which resulted in a 31 yard touchdown. After one first down (their lone of the half) by Daxx Garman, one of his two completions in the game, a sack derailed the drive and the defense was put right back to work. On the first play of the drive, Michigan had a 66 yard house call on a well designed jet sweep. At 21-0, Wolverines converted a two point conversion after their first touchdown, the game was over but Maryland had to suffer through another 20 minutes of game time.

The offense would not get another first down for the rest of the game. The defense would give up one more touchdown on a short field because of a fair catch interference penalty. On a dreary day where Joaquin did not affect the game nearly as much as was originally expected, the result was the same with Maryland falling to 2-3 on the season.

The defense deserves much more credit than they will get because of the final score, but they kept their fans hopeful with three turnovers and strong stands even when put in tough position. Randy Edsall will have much to worry about at the quarterback position before they travel to #1 Ohio State next week.

Caleb Rowe finished the day with just 47 yards on 8 of 27 passing with three dreadful interceptions. Garman was not much better at 2 of 9 for 29 yards and taking three sacks. Much of that could be due to drops and/or coming in cold, but there is no good solution to the quarterback roster on the team. You would think there is no way Rowe can be given another chance next week, but the options are Garman or a return to opening day starter Perry Hills.

This is officially a wasted season for the Terps who are just trying to stay competitive in their final seven games, which you can expect them not to be favored in any. Not only is a bowl game out of the question, but so is any expectation of more than four wins.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.


  1. […] losses to West Virginia and disappointing performance at home against Bowling Green and Michigan. Now before the Terps travel to take on #1 Ohio State, Jeff Ermann is reporting the imminent firing […]

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