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Tracking the Terps
News and notes on Maryland football, basketball and other sports
Stopping Penn State's Christian Hackenberg a 'challenge,' but not impossible for Terps

Seventeen years ago, Maryland coach Randy Edsall was scouting and recruiting Christian Hackenberg’s father, Erick.

Edsall was an assistant coach at Syracuse. Erick Hackenberg was a standout quarterback at Marian Catholic High School in Pennsylvania who chose to attend Virginia before transferring to Susquehanna.

Now Edsall and his defensive staff at Maryland are scheming to find ways to slow down Erick’s son, Christian, arguably the most talented young quarterback in the country. The Terps play Hackenberg and Penn State on Saturday in State College, Pa.

While Hackenberg has more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (six) in seven games this season, he threw for 2,955 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a true freshman last year after signing with Penn State as a five-star recruit.

“He's big, he's strong and he can make every throw that you want a quarterback to make,” Edsall said of the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Hackenberg. “He's mobile and able to move around. So when an...

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Ping-Pong diplomacy? Not a when it comes to James Franklin's recruitment of C.J. Brown

When Maryland was recruiting quarterback C.J. Brown, then-head coach Ralph Friedgen took James Franklin, his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, along for the trip to the 3-star prospect’s home.

Both Brown and Franklin recalled this week how they played ping-pong in the basement of Brown's house in Cranberry Township, Pa., but their recollection of how their competion turned out was a little different.

“Before he left, I challenged to a game of ping-pong. He was talking all that trash saying he was pretty good,” Brown said Tuesday. "I don’t know if it was his way of getting me to commit, but I ended up beating him, so I’ll always have that over his head.”

Told Wednesday of Brown’s memory of their match, Franklin laughed.        

“No, I whupped him every game," Franklin said. Every game."

Brown and Franklin get a chance to settle the score Saturday, in some respects, when the quarterback leads his Terps to Penn State to face Franklin's Nittany Lions.


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Terps head into Saturday's game against Penn State as a three-point underdog

Maryland heads into Saturday's game at Penn State as a three-point underdog, according to four lines listed on

While the Terps (5-3 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) lost, 52-7, to Wisconsin on Saturday, the Nittany Lions took No. 13 Ohio State to double overtime before falling, 31-24.

Penn State (4-3, 1-3) has lost three straight games and is ranked 123rd nationally in rushing offense. However, Nittany Lions sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg is arguably the most talented young signal-caller in the country, and Penn State is ranked seventh nationally in total defense.

After scoring 50 or more points in each of its previous four games, Ohio State was held scoreless during the second half against Penn State and finished with just 293 yards of total offense, even after two overtime periods.

Now, a Maryland offense that went most of the second half against Wisconsin without gaining a first down will have to overcome that same Nittany Lions defense.

On a positive note for the Terps,...

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The good and bad from Maryland's 52-7 loss to Wisconsin

Maryland's football team lost to Wisconsin, 52-7, on Saturday in Madison. Here is a rundown of what went well and what did not from a Terps perspective:


It’s over and only counts as one loss

There were some small positives throughout the game — such as the defense holding Wisconsin's star running back Melvin Gordon to less than four yards per carry for two and a half quarters, and freshman outside linebacker Jesse Aniebonam generating some pressure as a pass rusher. However, this is a game coach Randy Edsall and most of his players would probably prefer to never have to talk about again.


The offense

Prior to a late touchdown drive after Wisconsin was already up 52-0, Maryland went eight straight drives and about two hours of real time without picking up a first down.

The Terps’ offensive line struggled in both pass protection and in the run game. Maryland wide receivers had trouble getting open against the Badgers’ press-man coverage, and quarterback C.J. Brown missed...

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Wisconsin's pressure cooks Maryland's offensive line in home rout

On one play during the second half Saturday, Maryland left tackle Michael Dunn was beaten on an inside swim move by Wisconsin outside linebacker Vince Biegel, who then bowled over left guard Silvano Altamirano.

Terps quarterback C.J. Brown, as was often the case Saturday, was forced to make a throw with a Wisconsin defender in his face.

A lot went wrong for the Maryland football team during Saturday's 52-7 loss to the Badgers, but there was probably no weakness more glaring than the offensive line.

"We thought we had a pretty good [feel] for what they were going to do, and I think they just out-executed us," Terps center Sal Conaboy said.

Right tackle Ryan Doyle was beaten for a strip-sack during the first half. Brown was sacked another time as well, and the Badgers' aggressive defense had numerous other pressures as Brown finished 13-for-29 for 129 yards.

The offensive line also again struggled to create holes for Maryland's running backs at Camp Randall Stadium. The Terps were...

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Maryland beat writers predict the outcome of Terps-Wisconsin

Each week during Big Ten play, the Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs, another Maryland football beat writer and I share our predictions for the Terps' upcoming game.

This week's rotating writer is Aaron Kasinitz from The Diamondback, Maryland’s independent student newspaper.

Here are out predictions for Saturday’s game between Maryland (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) and Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1) in Madison, Wis.

Matt Zenitz
Wisconsin 34, Maryland 23

I think Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown will have some success as a runner against a Wisconsin defense that plays primarily man coverage and likes to blitz, according to Terps players and coaches. I also think Maryland’s wide receivers are better than Wisconsin’s cornerbacks despite the Badgers’ pass defense being ranked first in the Big Ten. The primary reasons I am picking Wisconsin are 1) I think Maryland’s offensive line could have problems in pass protection against one of the top pass rushes in the Big Ten; and 2) Slowing down Melvin Gordon and...

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