COLLEGE PARK — Leonte Carroo's breakout game came during Rutgers' first game of last season, a 52-51 overtime defeat at the hands of Fresno State.
Star quarterback Derek Carr was the catalyst for Fresno State, throwing for 456 yards and five touchdowns. But Carroo was the primary difference-maker for Rutgers, as the then-sophomore wide receiver exploited the Bulldogs' defense for touchdowns of 69, 13 and 30 yards on his way to finishing with five catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Carroo has further established himself as a playmaker for the Scarlet Knights this season and is one of the focal points for Maryland's defense heading into Saturday's game in College Park.
"Man, he's pretty good," Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. "I think their receiver crew is a solid crew. Carroo played [high school] ball with [Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova], so I'm sure they got a chance to hook up a lot in high school and talk about how they want to do things. That's his probably No. 1 target, and then he has some other receivers that are pretty good also."
Carroo caught 28 passes for 478 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games last season and has recorded 47 catches for 939 yards and eight touchdowns this year while averaging 20 yards per catch.
Carroo ranks second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game and second in touchdown catches.
While he was limited to one catch for six yards during the Scarlet Knights' 45-3 loss to Michigan State last week, the Edison, N.J., native had five catches 125 yards and two touchdowns during Rutgers' 45-23 win over Indiana Nov. 15.
Carroo also had five catches for 100 yards versus Ohio State on Oct. 18, five catches for 127 yards and a touchdown against Nebraska on Oct. 25 and two other games he finished with 140 yards or more.
Maryland ranks 11th in the Big Ten in pass defense, although the Terps have fared well against the pass in recent games.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner threw for just 106 yards versus Maryland last week. Michigan State star Connor Cook was just 14 of 31 with no touchdowns on Nov. 15, and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg finished 18 of 42 for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Terps on Nov. 1.