xml:space="preserve">

Maryland beat Michigan, 23-16, on Saturday to improve to 7-4, including 4-3 in the Big Ten, heading into Saturday's regular season finale against Rutgers.

Here is what went well and what did not from a Terps perspective during that game:

Advertisement
THE GOOD

Quarterback C.J. Brown

Days after coach Randy Edsall said he would be prepared to make a change at quarterback if Brown did not improve, Brown played what Edsall described as the quarterback's best game of the season. Brown ran for 87 yards and a touchdown, completed 13 of his 24 pass attempts for 165 yards, and he led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives after the Terps entered the quarter trailing, 16-9.

There were no noticeably bad decisions. Throws were consistently on-point, and Brown's numbers would have been much better if not for at least five drops by Maryland pass-catchers.

The win

In its first season as a member of the Big Ten, Maryland has won on the road at Michigan and Penn State, beaten a perennial Big Ten power in Iowa and stands at 4-3 in the conference heading into the final game of the regular season.

While this is a down year for a Michigan team that fell to 5-6 with Saturday's loss, it is never easy to go into Michigan Stadium and win in front of 100,000-plus enthusiastic and energetic Wolverines fans.

This win could help the Terps in recruiting, especially after also beating Penn State and others. It also puts Maryland in an even better position to wind up in a respected bowl game, such as the TaxSlayer Bowl or possibly the Outback Bowl.

The running game

For one of the first times since early September, Maryland's offensive line got consistent push at the line of scrimmage and Terps running backs were able to get into the second and third level of a defense.

While the numbers won't jump out, the Terps ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns against a Michigan defense that entered Saturday allowing just 2.8 yards per carry.

Maryland also picked up two first downs on the ground late in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Terps to run the clock out and prevent the Wolverines from getting another opportunity for a game-tying touchdown.

Left tackle Jake Wheeler

The previously seldom-used senior was a factor in his first start of the season, springing Brown for an 8-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and helping the Terps have the success they did on the ground.

Given Maryland's issues along the offensive line, Terps coaches decided to insert Wheeler at left tackle over normal starter Michael Dunn and to move Dunn to right tackle in place of Ryan Doyle.

Advertisement

Edsall said Sunday that Wheeler played well and will start again versus Rutgers on Saturday.

The pass defense

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner finished 13 of 24 for just 106 yards with no touchdown passes and an interception, and the Terps held standout Wolverines wide receiver Devin Funchess to five catches for 30 yards.

Gardner had just two completions that went for gains of longer than 12 yards, and Maryland cornerback Jeremiah Johnson broke up a fourth down pass attempt intended for Funchess late in the fourth quarter that ended Michigan's last — and only attempt — at a game-tying touchdown.

Cornerback Will Likely

Likely nabbed his Big Ten-leading sixth interception of the season. The sophomore also had a 31-yard kickoff return, a 28-yard punt return and a touchdown-saving tackle on a Michigan fake punt that gained 52 yards, a key play considering Maryland's defense eventually held the Wolverines to a field goal.

THE BAD

The drops

Maryland pass-catchers had at least five drops, including three that proved to be drive-killers during the first quarter. Tight end Derrick Hayward also dropped what would have been a touchdown during the second quarter, which forced the Terps to settle for a short field goal.

Punter Nate Renfro

The junior averaged just 38.5 yards on four punts Saturday. His final punt traveled just 34 yards with limited hang-time and was nearly returned for a touchdown that would have pushed Michigan's lead to 23-9 midway through the third quarter. However, that play was called back because of a block in the back.

The run defense

While 52 of the yards came on a fake punt, Maryland still allowed 240 rushing yards in addition to that and an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Running back Drake Johnson had 94 yards on 14 carries. Gardner ran for 82 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. The Wolverines also got 36 yards on six carries from reserve running back Justice Hayes.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement