Northwestern-Maryland Preview

COLLEGE PARK –  With both teams coming off their worst loss of the season, Maryland (3-2) and Northwestern (2-3) will face off in their first ever meeting this afternoon at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.

The game marks the midpoint of the season for both teams, each at a critical juncture heading into the second half.

Northwestern currently sits in last place in the Big Ten West, without a conference victory.

Following this afternoon’s matchup, the Wildcats face a three-game stretch against Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska.

Maryland is fifth in the Big Ten East behind perennial powerhouses Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State.

Northwestern, along with Indiana and Rutgers, represent the Terrapins best chance to accumulate the six wins necessary to become bowl eligible.

Maryland also has road games at Wisconsin and Michigan State and home games against Michigan and Penn State to close the season.

Complicating matters further, both teams received their bye week early in the season, leaving no time to heal injured players.

If any team could really use a bye right now, it’s Maryland.

Max Bortenschlager, already the third quarterback to start a game for the Terrapins this season, left last week’s game against Ohio State with a concussion, and remains a game time decision.

If Bortenschlager can’t go, Caleb Henderson, a junior transfer from North Carolina, will make his first career start.

Henderson came in following the injury to Bortenschlager, and finished the game 1 for 1 for no yards and no touchdowns.

Maryland will need to rally around whoever starts at quarterback in order to bounce back from a 66-yard performance against the Buckeyes.

The Terrapins offensive line failed to protect Bortenschlager, who was sacked six times a week ago, or create holes for a running game that amassed 262 yards on 47 carries two weeks ago against Minnesota.

Northwestern has quarterback issues of their own, and Coach Pat Fitzgerald has speculated backup quarterback Matt Alviti could see extended playing time if starter Clayton Thorson fails to impress.

Thorson struggled against the Nittany Lions last weekend, and was pulled in favor of Alviti, who led the Wildcats on their only scoring drive of the game.

Northwestern is also likely to rely on standout running back, Justin Jackson, who comes into today’s game averaging 4.2 yards per carry this season, along with four rushing touchdowns.

The Wildcats enter the game as 3-point favorites.

Game Notes

  • The two teams will not meet again until October 17, 2020 at Ryan Field in Evanston.
  • Pat Fitzgerald began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1998.
  • After the game, the Terrapins will have played every team in the Big Ten except for Illinois. The Illini travel to College Park next October.

Prediction

Northwestern 24, Maryland 18

 

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Preview: Maryland-Ohio State

COLUMBUS – Coming off a second straight Big Ten opening win, the Maryland Terrapins are on the road again this week as they take on the 10th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Terps (3-1) and Buckeyes (4-1) are both coming off impressive road victories.

Ohio State routed Rutgers, 56-0, while Maryland picked up its first conference road win since 2015, defeating Minnesota, 31-24.

Third-string quarterback, Max Bortenschlager, will make his second straight start for Maryland following season ending injuries to starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome and backup Kasim Hill.

Last week, Bortenschlager went 18 for 28 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, running backs Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson combined for 201 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries.

Their ability to run the ball effectively against Ohio State’s defense would likely take some pressure off Bortenschlager.

In addition, the Terrapins must contain the Buckeyes fourth-ranked offense, led by quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Barrett, the Buckeyes all-time leading passer, threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns against Rutgers, while running for an additional 89 yards.

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 564.8 yards per game, through the first six weeks of the season.

Wide receivers, Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon, will look to capitalize on a Maryland secondary that gives up an average 248 yards passing, tied with Illinois for 11th in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes enter as 30 ½ -point favorites, and while Maryland has never beaten Ohio State, the last time the two teams played in Columbus, the game was tied after three-and-a-half quarters.

The question is, can the Terps compete with the Buckeyes all four quarters on Saturday afternoon?

Game Notes:

  • Maryland’s last win over an AP Top 10 team came in 2007 against 8th ranked Boston College.
  • The Terrapins haven’t beaten multiple ranked opponents the same season since 2008 when they knocked off California, Wake Forest, Clemson and North Carolina.
  • Ohio State is 3-0 all-time against Maryland. The Buckeyes beat the Terrapins, 62-3, in College Park last November.

Prediction:

Ohio State 45, Maryland 13

Just Win Skins: Washington upsets the Raiders on Sunday Night Football, 27-10

LANDOVER, Md. – Behind a strong defense that held the Oakland Raiders to 128 yards of total offense, the Washington Redskins upset the Oakland Raiders, 27-10, at FedEx Field on Sunday night.

That 128 total yards is the lowest managed against a Redskins defense since the Denver Broncos put up the same total in October 1992.

After lighting up the New York Jets for 230 yards and three touchdowns last week, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr managed only 3.8 yards per completion, for 118 yards and a touchdown.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, completed 25 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

Both teams are now 2-1.

On the second play of the game, Carr was intercepted by Redskins cornerback, Montae Nicholson, who jumped in front of a deep pass intended for Amari Cooper.

Cousins then an eight play, 67-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 22-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Thompson.

Filling in for an injured Rob Kelley, the fourth-year back from Florida State caught six passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for an additional 38 yards on eight carries.

Carr, who hadn’t throw an interception in the Raiders’ first two games, was picked off again in the second quarter, this time by Kendall Fuller on a pass intended for Seth Roberts.

Cousins then drove Washington on an 11-play, 72-yard drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis.

The Raiders offensive line not only struggled to protect Carr, who was sacked four times, but failed to create holes for running back Marshawn Lynch to run through.

The Oakland backfield managed only 32 total yards. Lynch ran for 18 yards on six carries.

Leading 14-0 at halftime, the Redskins began the third quarter with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Josh Doctson.

The Raiders would get on the board following a muffed punt by Jamison Crowder that Oakland recovered on the Redskins 18-yard line and converted two plays later into a 21-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Jared Cook.

Another Redskins fumble two drives later led to an Oakland field goal.

Game Notes:

  • Oakland has not started 3-0 in a season since 1990 when the team was in Los Angeles.
  • Washington has now won consecutive home Sunday Night Football games for the first time in its history.
  • Cousins did not throw an interception or fumble the ball for the first time since Week 16 of last season against Chicago.

Up Next:

WASHINGTON: The Redskins travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs next Monday night before their bye in Week 5.

OAKLAND: The Raiders head to Mile High as they face 2-1 division rival Denver next Sunday before welcoming the Baltimore Ravens to the Black Hole in Week 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#18 USC rebounds against Oklahoma, 3-1

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – The USC women’s volleyball team defeated Oklahoma Friday afternoon at the Xfinity Center, 3-1, to close out the Maryland Challenge behind a strong performance from senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie.

USC got off to a slow start in game one, thanks in part to an impressive performance from Oklahoma junior opposite hitter Madison Drescher (six kills) in game one.

Her kills weren’t enough to undo her three errors, including an attack that was rejected by USC’s Brittany Abercrombie and Brittany Welsh, helping the Trojans climb back in the game.

Abercrombie and sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier combined for nine kills and two assists as they rallied the Trojans over a Sooners squad that was dispatched by Maryland, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-23), earlier in the day.

Drescher redeemed herself with a strong game two, finishing clean while tacking on five more kills to her total.

Junior outside hitter, Alyssa Enneking, added six kills of her own as Oklahoma rallied late to take game two, 25-23.

The Sooners came out strong in game three before their coach, Santiago Restrepo, received a red card for arguing over the pace of play with his team leading by one.

His red card tied the game, gave Southern California the ball and momentum to go on a 5-1 run.

From there the Trojans pulled away to win game three, 25-20, behind a strong offense led by Lanier (six kills), senior middle blocker Jordan Dunn (two kills and a block) and sophomore opposite hitter Daley Krage (three kills).

Game four was an opportunity for those in attendance to see just how truly dominate USC’s star opposite hitter, and 2015 All-Pac 12 selection, Brittany Abercrombie, can be.

The senior from Carlsbad, California scored the Trojans first two points as the Sooner defense had no gameplan to repel her punishing attacks.

Abercrombie (four kills), Lanier (seven kills) and junior outside hitter Alyse Ford (three kills) accounted for 60% of the Trojan offense in game four as the Women of Troy saught to end their part in the Maryland Challenge on a high note.

Oklahoma managed to claw their way back into the game late behind Drescher (three kills) and Enneking (four kills).

But it wasn’t enough as Abercrombie stepped up and ended Oklahoma’s short lived comeback, finishing off the Sooners with USC’s final two points of the game.

USC saw three players (Lanier, Abercrombie and Krage) finish with double digit kills, while two others, Reni Meyer-Whalley and Cindy Marina, finished with double digit assists.

After the game, Abercrombie said how glad she was to come away with a win, especially after the let down performance USC had against Maryland.

Ever the team leader, she also commented on her desire to cut down on errors over the remainder of the season as a way to personally help the team perform better going forward.

Game Notes:

  • USC finished non-conference play with an identical 8-3 record last season.
  • The win marked USC’s first on the East Coast since defeating Coastal Carolina in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament in Chapel Hill.
  • Oklahoma’s 3-9 start marks the program’s worst since 2008 when the Sooners began the season 3-6.
  • The Maryland Challenge marks the end of a four year rotating series between Maryland, USC and Washington. Wisconsin participated in year one of the tournament before dropping out. Oklahoma replaced the Badgers the last three seasons.
  • Oklahoma lost all three games to USC, Maryland and Washington as well in last year’s Pac 12 Challenge in Los Angeles.
  • The Women of Troy are now 6-0 all time against the Oklahoma Sooners.

 

Up Next:

The Women of Troy open up conference play against crosstown rival UCLA (6-2, 0-0) this Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion. Game can be seen at 8 p.m. PDT on ESPNU.

Oklahoma begins conference play at McCasland Field House in Norman against the Kansas State Wildcats (6-5, 0-0) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CDT.

Trojan Takedown: Unranked Maryland shocks #18 USC 3-0

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – In a rematch of last year’s game between USC and Maryland women’s volleyball, the score and intensity remained the same. The winner didnt, as Maryland pulled off an early season upset over the 18th ranked Women of Troy, 3-0 on Thursday night at the Xfinity Center.

The game marked the first for each team in the Maryland Challenge, featuring two Pac 12 schools, USC and Washington, and members of the Big 10 (Maryland) and Big 12 (Oklahoma).

Earlier in the day, the Huskies swept the Sooners, 3-0 to kick off the two day tournament in College Park.

Maryland opened strong, taking the first game, 25-22, behind freshman outside hitter, Erika Pritchard, who finished the game with 12 kills and 9 digs.

USC mounted a late comeback, rallying to within two, before the Terrapins pulled away, snapping the Trojans consecutive games streakshut out streak at seven, dating back to a 3-2 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 8th.

Game two began well for the Trojans, who got off to a 7-3 start before everything fell apart.

Slowly the Terrapins crawled back and tied the game at 18 on the back of freshman outside/opposite hitter, Sam Dreschel, who finished the night with six kills.

The Maryland comeback left USC coach Mick Haley visibly angry on the sidelines.

From there, the Trojans failed to put the Terps away and Maryland took game two, 25-23.

Game three didn’t start any better for USC, as they fell behind early 9-4.

USC’s senior opposite hitter, Brittany Abercrombie, had 10 kills and 4 digs on the night, helping to keep game three within striking distance. USC managed to tie the game at 16, before the Terrapins finished off the Women of Troy in front of a raucous home crowd that supported Maryland from start to finish.

After the game, Maryland coach Steve Aird put the game in the rearview mirror saying that while he was impressed by the Terrapins victory, he was already, “onto Oklahoma.”

Game Notes:

  • Maryland football head coach, DJ Durkin, and Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese were in attendance for tonight’s game.
  • Maryland had lost their previous four meetings against USC, including last season’s 3-0 sweep in the Pac 12 Challenge at the Galen Center.
  • The Terps 10-0 start, marks their best opening to a season since the 2005 team won 14 in a row to start the season.
  • USC made its first ever visit to College Park to take on the Terrapins and Sooners.
  • While Maryland and Oklahoma will play three games each over the two day tournament, USC and Washington will only play two as they play each other in conference play on October 1st and 27th.

Up Next:

Maryland plays Oklahoma tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. and Washington at 7 p.m. to close out their non-conference schedule before beginning conference play next week at Ohio State.

The Women of Troy close out their non-conference schedule with Oklahoma tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. before returning to Los Angeles this weekend. They open up Pac 12 play on the road against crosstown rival UCLA Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

 

 

Tiger Talk: Maryland 63, Towson 17

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – Making his first start following a season ending injury to starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome, Kasim Hill led the Maryland offense over the Towson Tigers on Saturday afternoon, 63-17.

Hill, a true freshman from Washington, D.C., passed for 163 yards and two touchdowns, before he was pulled in the fourth quarter after the game was safely put away.

All week long, Towson coach Rob Ambrose remained confident in the Tigers ability to travel down I-95 and come home with a win.

But the Maryland offense picked up where it left off a week ago in Austin, driving 62 yards for an opening drive touchdown.

On the next drive, Kasim Hill drove the Terps 60 yards in 99 seconds, culminating in a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver D.J. Moore.

Maryland’s running game followed up a 263-yard performance against Texas with a 367-yard day, including a 74-yard touchdown run by Ty Johnson on the Terrapins third possession of the game.

With 5:56 left in the first quarter, the scoreboard read 21-0 Maryland.

After Maryland’s third touchdown of the game, Towson put together a sustained 11 play, 81-yard drive, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Stover to Jabari Allen that cut the Terps lead to 14.

Stover, making his first career start in place of injured starter, Morgan Mahalak, made two critical mistakes that left Coach Ambrose incensed on the Towson sidelines.

On Towson’s next possession, the freshman from Pennsylvania threw a pass down the right side of the field that was intercepted by Maryland’s Darnell Savage Jr., who returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, increasing Maryland’s lead to 28-7.

Stover later missed a wide open tight end Joe Green in the end zone on a pass he admitted to rushing after Maryland’s defense broke through the Towson offensive line.

While the Tigers front seven struggled to stop Maryland’s running backs all afternoon, Towson’s pass defense improved from a week ago when they gave up 185 yards through the air to Morgan State.

After the game, Coach Ambrose who said he was, “on a different continent than happy,” did express his admiration for the offense’s ability to move the ball, something they struggled to do against Morgan State.

Ambrose was also pleased with punter Pat Toomey, who averaged five yards more a kick compared to a week ago, including a 65-yard punt in the fourth quarter.

Prior to the game, Maryland coach DJ Durkin demoted placekicker Adam Greene over his struggles to start the season, replacing him with graduate transfer, Henry Darmstadter, who converted all nine extra point attempts.

The home crowd at Maryland Stadium trickled in throughout the first quarter, but the student section was full before kickoff for the first time in years.

Noon starts usually signal poor student attendance which hinders Maryland’s home field advantage, as the student section is strategically located behind the visitor’s bench.

It remains to be seen if Maryland’s blowout victory will be enough to catapult them into the AP Top 25 on Sunday, but Towson coach Rob Ambrose believes if they aren’t, they’ll be there soon.*

GAME NOTES:

  • Towson QB Morgan Mahalak was scratched with an upper back injury. Coach Ambrose told media after the game he knew Thursday afternoon his red shirt junior quarterback would not play against the Terrapins.
  • Towson defensive coordinator, Lyndon Johnson, made his return to College Park where he served as an assistant coach the last five seasons.
  • Maryland wide receiver Jacquille Veii and backup placekicker Danny Sutton both transferred to College Park from Towson.
  • Maryland wide receiver Avery Edwards was ejected after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

UP NEXT:

  • Maryland: Bye Week. The Terrapins return to action September 23 at home against Central Florida.
  • Towson: The Tigers travel to St. Francis (PA) next Saturday night to take on the 2-0 Red Flash in Loretto, PA.

*Updated 10:30 p.m. September 10, 2017: Maryland remains out of the Top 25, coming in 31st (AP) and 32nd (Coaches).

 

Tiger Talk: University of Maryland preview

Game 2: Towson Tigers at Maryland Terrapins (-36)

When: 12:00 PM EDT

Where: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium

Series: Maryland leads the all time series 1-0

When the Tigers run onto the field this Saturday at Maryland Stadium, they’ll do so as 36 point underdogs.

But don’t bother telling them that; especially Coach Rob Ambrose.

Following Wednesday afternoon’s practice, Ambrose reiterated the point he made following Towson’s victory over Morgan State, that as many great players as Maryland has, only 11 can be in on any one play.

While Coach Ambrose and the team remain optimistic, Towson has its work cut out for them.

Not only has Maryland never lost to an FCS Team, they are coming off their greatest game in seven seasons following a shlacking of the Texas Longhorns in Austin last weekend.

Maryland will be without quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome for the remainder of the season after it was revealed he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the third quarter against Texas.

The Terrapins now turn to Kasim Hill, a freshman pro-style quarterback from Washington, D.C. who completed all three of his passes after replacing Pigrome last Saturday.

Hill represents a tough challenge for the Towson defense as he is more likely than Pigrome to leave the pocket and take off if a play breaks down than Pigrome was.

Towson cornerback Monty Fenner isn’t worried though, and likens facing Hill to last weekend’s matchup against Morgan State quarterback Elijah Staley.

“We didn’t expect what we’d know from Morgan’s quarterback…all we see on paper is 6’6″, 250 pounds, not what can this kid do.”

Fenner continued, “[Hill] is able to get out [of the pocket] more, but at the moment I feel like our defense is playing a lot faster than before.

Towson’s home opener drew just over 6,500 fans last weekend.

Maryland’s opener tomorrow is expected to draw over 50,000, but again the powers that be in Baltimore County aren’t worried.

They’ve been here before.

Last season the Tigers opened up on the road against South Florida at Raymond James Stadium (home of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers).

In 2014, they played in Morgantown against West Virginia, and in 2012 the Tigers competed well against LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

But all the confidence in the world won’t do much good if Towson’s offense performs as poorly as it did against Morgan State, only eclipsing 100 yards of offense on the final drive of the game.

In the two teams only previous meeting, a 28-3 Maryland win, Towson outgained the Terrapins by 43 yards, ran nine more plays and had one more first down than Maryland, reminding everyone games are won and lost in the trenches, not on paper.

Blue Ring Sports will have live team coverage from College Park tomorrow afternoon.

Game Notes:

Towson: Quarterback Morgan Mahalak was under the weather on Wednesday afternoon and missed practice. Coach Ambrose fully expects him to start on Saturday, However if Mahalak is unable to go, Ryan Stover would make his first career start.

Maryland: The Terrapins were 4-2 at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium last season and have won their last 11 home openers. Their last home opening loss in College Park came against No. 25 Clemson in 2005.