The result came from a combination of failures spread across each offensive position group.

Maryland's offensive line was consistently beaten, allowing Michigan State defenders into the backfield to meet Terps running backs before the line of scrimmage or to pressure quarterback C.J. Brown.


Brown, as has too often been the case this season, was off-target or making poor decisions like the one that led to the Spartans' interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

There were also six dropped passes by Maryland's wide receivers, missed assignments by the Terps' running backs and blunders by the team's tight ends.

The Terps expect to be better on offense than they were during Saturday's 37-15 loss to Michigan State and better than they have been in so many games this season.

But Maryland continues to have problems along the offensive line, as well as at quarterback. Those troubles, combined with the lapses and mishaps from other position groups, are why the Terps' offense struggled like it did Saturday and has been as bad as it has been for much of the last five games.

"It's a team thing," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "It's every position. It seems like we take our turn. Sometimes it's the wide receivers. Sometimes it's the tight ends. Sometimes it's the O-line. Sometimes it's the running backs, and sometimes it's the quarterback.

"Sometimes it's more than one group on a given play. … I don't think you can put it on any one position. It's a collective effort that's not allowing us to execute and operate at the highest level that we can."

Edsall had a message directed towards the offense during the Terps' regular team meeting Sunday.

"The thing I talked to the team about today is that we want to be consistent," Edsall said, later adding, "We had some really good plays in that game. And you've got to give Michigan State credit and the other people that we played credit, too, because they're out there.

"But what we've got to do is be more consistent and execute at a higher level. But that's the challenge that we have."

The Terps (6-4, 3-3 overall) are averaging just 19.4 points per game on offense during the last five games. To put that into perspective, Michigan State entered Saturday averaging 44 points per game, and only 14 of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams are averaging fewer than 20 points.

Maryland running backs are averaging less than 3.5 yards per carry during the last eight games and had just 11 yards on 11 carries Saturday. The offensive line has yielded the fourth-most sacks in the Big Ten (28) and countless other pressures that have left Brown staring down oncoming defenders while trying to deliver a pass.

And Brown has been erratic even when not under duress. The sixth-year senior and third-year starter is completing just 52.7 percent of his passes and has thrown 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Brown has thrown for 161 yards or fewer in four of the Terps' last five games while completing 47 percent of his passes in each of the last three games. He was 12 of 31 for 136 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions through the midpoint of the fourth quarter Saturday.

His third interception Saturday, which resulted in the pick-six, was a product of a bad read by Brown, who threw the ball into a congested area over the middle rather than targeting an open receiver near the sideline.


Edsall could be seen reprimanding the quarterback on the sideline after the play, and the Terps' offensive coaches have become frustrated enough by Brown's struggles that they talked Sunday about replacing him under center should he continue to have problems.

The offensive ineptitude Saturday cost Maryland a chance at its first win over a ranked team since 2010 and wasted a strong effort from the Terps' defense, which held a high-powered Michigan State offense to 16 points until midway through the fourth quarter.

"Defense did a heck of a job," Brown said Saturday. "Offensively, we've got to hold ourselves accountable. We didn't step up to the challenge today. I feel like the last couple weeks it's been like that. That's not how we feel we can produce, and we've got to fix it."