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B1G Season Review: Maryland

2014 Recap: It was a solid first season in the Big Ten for Randy Edsall and the Terrapins, rounding out the year with a 7-5 mark and a 4-4 record in the conference. Looking through the numbers in 2014, it’d be hard to imagine this was a team that finished the regular season on the plus side of .500.

Maryland allowed 30 points per game while only scoring 28 on average. Offensively, the Terps ranked 73rd nationally in passing yardage to go along with an ineffective run game. But they found a way to win. Quarterback C.J. Brown accounted for much of the team’s offense, throwing for 2,288 yards and adding 539 on the ground while totaling 21 touchdowns on the season.

Once in conference play, the Terrapins alternated wins and losses with significant program wins over Penn State and Michigan on the road. It was a fairly successful season for a team expected to be a bottom-feeder in the conference in its inaugural year.

Unfortunately for Edsall and company, a 45-21 loss to Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl was the final memory we have of Maryland in 2014, proving that there is still plenty of room for improvement in College Park.

NCAA FOOTBALL: AUG 30 James Madison at Maryland

Randy Edsall and Maryland exceeded expectations in their first Big Ten season.

High Point: A Brad Craddock field goal with 51 seconds left was the deciding factor in Maryland’s 20-19 road win over Penn State in what Edsall coined a huge win for the program. Despite just 31 rushing yards and only 191 total yards offensively, the Terps were able to defeat one of the Big Ten’s traditional powerhouses. The game started out on a sour note with Maryland’s captains refusing to shake the hands of their Penn State counterparts, but the Terrapins were able to back it up on the field. They forced four turnovers in the game and established a presence in the Big Ten.

Low Point: There were plenty of disappointing performances for Maryland last season, getting blown out in four of its six total losses. But the lowest point for Maryland came at the end of the year, losing a home game to Rutgers before getting pummeled in the Foster Farms Bowl against Stanford.

Maryland held a 35-10 lead late in the second quarter at home against the Scarlet Knights before being held to a three-point second half and falling 41-38 to a team it should’ve beaten. Things didn’t get any better in the postseason, getting blown out by a Stanford team that ranked 80th in offensive production in 2014. It was a rocky ending to a season that showed some promise.

Best Player: Stefon Diggs was by far the most talented player on the Maryland roster a season ago, but the most important player for the Terrapins was cornerback Will Likely. The sophomore finished the season as the team’s third-leading tackler and led the conference in interceptions with six, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He also recorded four tackles for loss and nine pass break-ups on the year. He was a diamond in the rough for Maryland’s struggling defense. It’s easy to assume that without his efforts defensively, the Terps would’ve had some serious issues defensively.

2015 Outlook: The Terrapins are going to lose a substantial amount of its production from the 2014 season with Brown, Diggs, and second-leading receiver Deon Long all departing. Backup Caleb Rowe saw some meaningful field time last season with pesky injuries to Brown throughout the year, but he will have some huge shoes to fill moving forward. Edsall needs to establish some sort of running attack to give Maryland a legitimate chance next season.

Edsall has a tall task ahead of him, needing to improve with less returning talent. Ultimately, the recruiting seems to be improving at Maryland, but it will take some time. It’s hard to see Maryland getting six wins next season, and a bowl appearance in 2015 after losing so much talent would be a victory.

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