The Tigers (7-4 last year, 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association) take on a once-sorry South Florida bunch, which after three losing seasons in the American Athletic Conference has morphed into a power to be reckoned with.
On a day where nothing seemed to be going right for Maryland, the Terps seemed to find a glimmer of hope down more than five touchdowns to West Virginia after fullback Shane Cockerille emerged from a pile after the second half kickoff. It would be a short field for an offense struggling behind quarterback Caleb Rowe and an opportunity to get on the scoreboard to find some respectability against the rival Mountaineers.
After an embarrassing loss to Bowling Green in which Maryland gave up 28 fourth-quarter points and squandered a halftime lead, the Terps coaching staff issued a simple but strict challenge to the defense: be better.
When Jefferson Ashiru transferred to Maryland from Connecticut , there was already an element of familiarity for the linebacker. Defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins had recruited him to UConn, and his commitment came about three weeks after coach Randy Edsall had left the Huskies to take over the Terps.
The Maryland defensive line has made a second home in the opposing backfield in its first three games this season, harassing quarterbacks and racking up sacks. Through three games, the Terps rank second in the nation with 14 sacks, one off Texas A&M's 15.
During the week, Maryland coach Randy Edsall talked about how his team's depth chart tweaks this week would revamp its offense and open things up for big plays. With Caleb Rowe starting at quarterback and wide receivers Taivon Jacobs and D.J. Moore moving into starting roles, the "vertical passing game" was set to shine in Saturday's matchup with South Florida. Late in the first quarter, Maryland showed why those moves were made. On a third-and-9 from his own 30-yard line, Rowe slung a pass up
Maryland fell flat against Bowling Green in Week 2 with a humbling 48-27 loss. Now South Florida visits Byrd Stadium in a rematch of a 24-17 Terps win a year ago. The Bulls are coming off a 34-14 loss at Florida State in which they hung tough early.
Ryan Doyle sees the Maryland offensive line's job to be a steady presence among the offense and the team as a whole, no matter the circumstances. "We're kind of like the hard line of the offense," the senior right tackle said Wednesday. "If things are going good, we kind of keep everyone grounded. If things are going bad, we pick people up. I think that's kind of the role we wanted to establish going into the season. I think we've done that so far."
Shortly after Maryland escaped with a 24-17 win over South Florida on Saturday, Terps coach Randy Edsall stood in front of his team inside the visiting locker room at Raymond James Stadium and was blunt with his offense.
Maryland football coach Randy Edsall had a message for his team during practice Tuesday: ¿You better make sure you work and do everything we ask you to do, because if you don't, you're going to get surprised.¿
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Thursday the Terps will apply for a hardship waiver for Taivon Jacobs "at the appropriate time." If granted, Jacobs will get a sixth year of eligibility and would still have four years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the field next season.
Three times last week, South Florida running back Marlon Mack found an opening in Western Carolina's defensive front, made a defender or two miss down the field and then outran the defense for a touchdown of 56-plus yards.
Not too long ago, South Florida was a consistent contender in the Big East. The Bulls had a winning record every year from 2006 through 2010 and were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in 2007. Now, South Florida isn't very good.
It's a bittersweet time for the Towson men's basketball team, which just completed a remarkable turnaround season but will be sitting home for the CAA tournament because of the program's past academic failings.