Big Ten: Yannick Ngakoue

Season report card: Maryland

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
Grades for the 2014 season are now past due, so we're handing them out as quickly as possible. The Maryland Terrapins are up next following their first season as a member of the Big Ten.

How did Maryland fare?

[+] EnlargeStefon Diggs
AP Photo/Nick WassReceiver Stefon Diggs helped Maryland achieve a winning season in its first season in the Big Ten.
Offense: C+

Some offenses are good. Some are bad. Maryland's was just strange in 2014. The Terps ranked 109th nationally in yards per game, 108th in rushing and tied for 116th in third-down conversions. But they put points on the board, finishing fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (28.5 ppg). Wide receiver Stefon Diggs brought explosive ability, but quarterback C.J. Brown and the offensive line struggled at times, and the overall unit didn't show much consistency in any area.

Defense: C

Like the offense, Maryland's defense could be a strength or a weakness, depending on the game (or sometimes the quarter). The Terrapins were terrific against Indiana, Penn State and Michigan, but hemorrhaged points against the Big Ten's better teams -- Ohio State (52), Wisconsin (52) and Michigan State (37). Cornerback Will Likely (six interceptions, two touchdown returns), defensive end Andre Monroe (10.5 sacks) and linebacker Yannick Ngakoue (13.5 tackles for loss, six sacks) stood out, but the overall unit was unpredictable.

Special teams: A-

The kicking game undoubtedly proved to be Maryland's strength in 2014. Kicker Brad Craddock won the Lou Groza Award after connecting on 18 of 19 field-goal attempts, including all 16 from inside 50 yards. Punter Nathan Renfro had a solid season, and Likely had both a punt return touchdown and a kick return touchdown, leading the Big Ten in kick return average (31). Maryland's coverage teams were the only drawback (105th in kickoff coverage, 101st in punt coverage).

Coaching: B-

Expectations outside College Park were fairly low for Maryland entering its first Big Ten go-round. Randy Edsall guided the Terrapins to a 7-4 start before a blown lead against Rutgers and a bowl no-show against Stanford left Maryland at 7-6. Andre Powell did a tremendous job with the special teams units, a reason why new Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi quickly added him to his staff.

Overall: B-

Despite no obvious strength other than special teams, Maryland was on the cusp of an 8-4 regular season before squandering a 35-10 lead against Rutgers. The Terrapins struggled against the Big Ten's elite but secured wins at both Beaver Stadium and Michigan Stadium. The injuries weren't quite as overwhelming but still significant, as four starters were lost for the season. It's a decent first step, but Maryland must improve on both sides of the ball to stay afloat in a challenging Big Ten East Division.

Video: B1G shoes to fill, Maryland

February, 24, 2014
PM ET Big Ten reporter Brian Bennett talks about how Maryland will try to replace linebacker Marcus Whitfield.