Turnovers and inconsistent offense continue to hurt Terrapins

After getting blown out by #20 Ohio State and a Wisconsin team that’s now ranked in the top 15, the Maryland Terrapins were looking to bounce back with a statement win in Big Ten play. They got it in Happy Valley, but appear to be reverting back to their old ways.

After Melvin Gordon ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers to a 52-7 win in Madison on Oct. 25, Maryland went to Penn State with a chip on its shoulder. A scuffle broke out during pregame warmups, with star receiver Stefon Diggs in the middle of the action. After order was restored, Diggs and the other two Maryland captains refused to shake hands with the Penn State captains at the opening coin toss, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maryland had the last laugh at the end as the defense held the Nittany Lions to 42 yards rushing, and Brad Craddock kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Terrapins a 20-19 win. However, after the game, the Big Ten fined Maryland $10,000, and suspended Diggs for the Terrapins’ next game against Michigan State.

Two weeks later, the 12th-ranked Spartans came to College Park looking to bounce back from a loss at home to Ohio State. They were welcomed by a Terps team and a Byrd Stadium crowd that was dressed in black for a cold nighttime matchup. Maryland, playing without Diggs, went three-and-out on two out of first three possessions, and C.J. Brown threw an interception, but the defense was able to hold Michigan State to three field goals. After Michael Geiger gave Michigan State a 9-0 lead with 10:33 left in the first half, Will Likely returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Spartans’ 41-yard line. Five plays and 1:52 later, Brown connected with Daniel Adams for a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull Maryland to within 9-7. However, Jeremy Langford seized the momentum back for Michigan State with an eight-yard touchdown run to make it 16-7 at halftime.

The Spartans would start to pull away in the second half. With 1:14 left in the third quarter, R.J. Williamson picked off a Brown pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan State a 23-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, after Maryland was unable to put a drive together after getting the ball at its own 48 and had to punt, Spartans quarterback Connor Cook engineered an eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended when Langford scored his second touchdown of the night on a 25-yard run with just over seven minutes left. Three minutes later, Brown hit receiver Juwan Winfree for a 31-yard touchdown pass, and then found freshman tight end Derrick Hayward for the two- point conversion to pull Maryland within two scores at 30-15. Less than a minute later, Spartans running back Nick Hill scored on a 33-yard run to close out the scoring in a 37-15 win for Michigan State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten). The Spartans held the Terrapins to just six yards rushing, and Brown had three interceptions in another game where he struggled with consistency throwing the ball. Likely had 228 return yards for Maryland (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten).

Maryland will close out the season at a struggling Michigan Wolverines team at The Big House in Ann Arbor on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against Rutgers on Nov. 29.

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