2014 Maryland Terrapins Team Preview
Head Coach: Randy Edsall
2013 Record: 7-6 overall, 3-5 ACC Atlantic
2013 Bowl Result: Lost to Marshall 31-20 in the Military Bowl
2014 Returning Starters: 8 offense, 9 defense
Odds to Win 2015 College Football Championship: Field 30/1
Odds to Win Big Ten Title: 100/1
Odds to Win Big Ten East: 50/1
Regular Season Wins: under 6.5 -135 / over 6.5 +105
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After many decades in the ACC, the Maryland Terrapins move to the Big Ten along with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights of the AAC. The Terrapins do return 17 starters and should be in good shape for the move.
Last year, Maryland won all four non-conference games by double digits including a 37-0 rout of West Virginia. They would go 3-5 in their last year in the ACC, with the highlight being an overtime upset of Virginia Tech. Maryland would lose to Marshall 31-20 in the Military Bowl.
Maryland averaged 249 passing yards and 148 rushing yards on offense and 26 points a game. The offense needs to be more consistent in 2014.
Quarterback C.J. Brown returns to run the offense. He completed 58.9% of his passes for 2,242 yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, plus 140 carries for 576 yards and 12 touchdowns. He needs to be more consistent. His running style also puts him at risk for injury, and he missed a couple of games last season. Caleb Rowe returns as the back-up, and he split the snaps with Brown for the first half of the season. He started the two games Brown missed. Rowe completed 48.9% of his passes for 989 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Running back Brandon Ross had 166 carries for 776 yards with 4 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 173 yards. Sophomore running back Wes Brown returns from suspension after rushing for 382 yards in 2012. He missed all of 2013. Albert Reid and Jacquille Veii will also get some carries, as well as the quarterback Brown.
The top five receivers return for Maryland. Receiver Levern Jacobs had 47 catches for 640 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs had 34 catches for 587 yards and 3 touchdowns, despite suffering a broken leg mid-season. Amba Etta-Tawo had 31 catches for 500 yards and 2 touchdowns. Deon Long had 32 catches for 489 yards with a touchdown. He also suffered a broken leg last season. Tight end Nigel King had 33 catches for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The offensive line struggled in both pass protection and run blocking last year. They don’t return much experience and could struggle again.
Maryland gave up 374 yards and 25 points per game last season on defense.
Nose tackle Darius Kilgo, and ends Andre Monroe and Quinton Jefferson will start on the defensive line. Keith Bowers and Nate Clarke add depth to the unit.
All four linebackers return as well. Middle linebackers Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree are both seniors. Farrand made 84 tackles last year. Former safety Matt Robinson is good at pass coverage. Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil missed the last 7 games with a pectoral injury but is a very strong pass rusher when healthy.
Jeremiah Johnson missed all but two games last season but is a very good cornerback when healthy. William Likely will start at the other corner. Safeties Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon also return.
Kicker Brad Craddock made 21 of 25 field goals last year. Punter Nathan Renfro averaged 41 yards per punt but needs to be more consistent. Diggs averaged 23 yards per kick return last year before his injury. Likely replaced him and averaged 26 yards per return, and also had a punt return for a touchdown.
Maryland opens at home against James Madison and also hosts West Virginia. The Terrapins travel to South Florida and Syracuse. In conference, Maryland hosts Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State and Rutgers. The Terrapins travel to Indiana, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan. If the offense is more consistent, Maryland has a chance to go to a bowl and pull off some upsets in their new conference. I can see 7 or 8 wins for the Terrapins.
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