Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Matt Zenitz talks about Maryland's 20-19 win over Penn State at Beaver Stadium. (Kevin Richardson/BSMG)
Maryland beat Penn State, 20-19, on Saturday in State College, Pa. Here is a rundown of what went well and what did not from a Terps perspective:
This was an important victory for Maryland's program. Was it pretty? No. Did the Terps look like some powerhouse in pulling out the win? Definitely not. But this shows that Maryland can compete with a team like Penn State. Yes, this is a down year for the Nittany Lions, who are 4-4 in their first-year under former Maryland coach-in-waiting James Franklin. However, Penn State has by far the richest tradition of any program in the region and was previously 35-1-1 against the Terps. Down year or not, this was a good and important win for Maryland, enough so that former Terps players such as Boomer Esiason and Frank Reich have reached out to congratulate Maryland coach Randy Edsall since Saturday.
This win could also help the Terps with recruiting. Penn State consistently lands some of the top prospects from Maryland. Edsall said he feels like beating the Nittany Lions after beating West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia during the past two seasons should aid Maryland with both in-state recruits as well as prospects from around the region.
In addition to former Terps players and others, Edsall has also received several congratulatory messages from high school coaches from Maryland since the game.
Maryland's offense struggled Saturday. But so did Penn State's, and the play of the Terps' defense was part of the reason why.
Taking advantage of a weak Nittany Lions offensive line that was without left tackle Donovan Smith (Owings Mills), Maryland limited Penn State running backs to 65 yards on 29 carries, had nine tackles for a loss and finished with four sacks.
Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg was just 18 of 42 for 177 yards with two fumbles, an interception and only one touchdown pass.
This was a step forward for both of Maryland's kick coverage teams after both had allowed some decent-sized returns during the past several weeks.
While safety Sean Davis was flagged for kick catch interference on one punt, the Terps limited Penn State kick returner Grant Haley to an average of 19 yards on four kick returns and punt returner Jesse Della Valle to a total of eight yards on three punt returns.
Diggs will not play in Maryland's game against Michigan State after being issued a one-game suspension by the Big Ten on Monday. The injury could keep Diggs sidelined for longer than just that one game.
Even with Diggs, the Terps had just 194 yards of total offense against Penn State after also struggling during Maryland's 52-7 loss to Wisconsin the week prior.
Maryland averaged only 1.1 yards per carry against Penn State. Quarterback C.J. Brown was sacked six times. And while the Terps scored a respectable 20 points against one of the nation's top-ranked defenses, Maryland started all four of its scoring drives at its own 45-yard line or better. Three began inside Penn State's 45-yard line.