Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: Maryland
By David M. Hale
A year ago, Maryland used five quarterbacks and finished with just four wins. This season, the news has been far better on both fronts.
Yes, C.J. Brown did get banged up against Florida State -- a game the Terrapins would love to forget altogether -- but he was stellar before the injury, accounting for 13 touchdowns and just one interception, and Caleb Rowe filled in nicely last week against Virginia. The result of the increased stability at the position has been a markedly more potent offensive attack. The Terrapins are averaging 11 more points and 164 more yards of offense per game this year than they did in 2012.
The defense, meanwhile, has been solid, pitching a shutout against West Virginia in Week 4 and ranking fourth overall in the ACC in yards allowed per play.
That's all added up to a 5-1 start that has Maryland poised for a bowl game in its final ACC season and 10 wins well within reach. That hasn't happened at Maryland since 2003. Yes, the Terps lost to FSU 63-0, putting a quick end to their time in the AP Top 25 and undermining some of the early enthusiasm following a hot start to the season, but there's no question Maryland has made significant strides this year.
Offensive MVP: Brown. Maryland has enjoyed its share of offensive playmakers, including Stefon Diggs (734 all-purpose yards) and Brandon Ross (5 yards per carry average), but Brown has been the difference -- at least when healthy. His athleticism was never a question, and not surprisingly, he's rushed for nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns. But he's been much improved with his arm, too, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns in only four and a half games of action.
Defensive MVP: Marcus Whitfield. The senior linebacker leads the team in sacks (5.5) and TFLs (8). He's racked up 25 tackles and forced a fumble and has been Maryland's most consistent defender all year.