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Terps left tackle Jake Wheeler 'played well' in first career start

Baltimore Sun Media Group sports reporter Matt Zenitz talks about Maryland's 23-16 win over Michigan. (Kevin Richardson/BSMG)

Maryland left tackle Jake Wheeler delivered the key block that sprung quarterback C.J. Brown for a game-tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the Terps' 23-16 win over Michigan on Saturday.

A virtual non-factor on offense since arriving at Maryland in 2010, Wheeler made his first career start Saturday and helped the Terps revive a running game that had been mostly stagnant since early September.

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Maryland rushed for 147 yards while averaging 4.2 yards per carry against a Michigan defense that entered the game allowing just 2.8 yards per carry.

The 6-foot-7, 310-pound native of Hollywood, Fla., also helped the Terps block a Michigan pass rush that began the day tied for second in the Big Ten with an average of 3.33 sacks per game during conference play.

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The Wolverines finished with just two sacks.

Wheeler "played well" and will start again when Maryland hosts Rutgers in its regular-season finale Saturday at Byrd Stadium, coach Randy Edsall said during his weekly conference call on Sunday.

"I told the team that here's a guy that's kind of bided his time and has gone out there and worked hard," Edsall said, "and he's an example of a guy that just kept working in practice. And maybe some other people [struggling] opened up an opportunity to give him a chance, so [Wheeler's performance] was good from that standpoint. … I'm happy for him."

Wheeler started in place of redshirt sophomore Michael Dunn, Maryland's starter at left tackle for the first 10 games. Dunn moved to right tackle and started over redshirt junior Ryan Doyle.

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Dunn will start again at right tackle against Rutgers, Edsall said.

NOTE: Maryland kicker Brad Craddock was named Big Ten co-special teams player of the week Monday after converting all three of his field-goal attempts against Michigan. Craddock is 17 of 17 on field goals for the season.

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