Rapid Reaction: Michigan spoils Maryland's homecoming, cruises to win after taking early lead
Final Score: #14 Michigan 38, Maryland 7
Brief Recap: Michigan led 14-0 after the first seven minutes of play. That being said, Maryland had its opportunities. The Terrapins drove the ball well multiple times in the first half, but thanks to turnovers and not converting when it mattered most, Maryland continued to be scoreless. In the first half, Maryland actually had more first downs, rushing yards and had a time of possession advantage of 18:53-11:07. Eventually the Terrapins scored, but it came when the Wolverines owned a 35-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Key Moment: With 2:00 left in the first quarter, Michigan led 14-0. Maryland had the ball on the Wolverines’ 12-yard-line and looked poised to make it a one-score game. That is until Maryland QB Josh Jackson threw an interception. The pass was picked off by Michigan’s Josh Metellus and it seemed to mark the beginning of the end for the Terrapins.
Key Stat: You can go with a few stats here. Typically in a game, though, when one team out-gains another by a significant amount, it speaks volumes as to which team was better. Michigan gained 331 yards to Maryland’s 234. The Terrapins also finished the contest by going 4-of-16 on third down.
Key Player: Michigan’s entire defense. It was a classic case of bend-but-don’t-break early. Maryland put together drives but never finished. Part of that is because of the stinginess of the Wolverines and them being opportunistic. Shea Patterson played fine. Zach Charbonnet scored twice but rushed for only 28 yards. The Michigan defense was the key in this game.
What it means for Michigan: The Wolverines look terrible against Wisconsin. For the first quarter-and-a-half against Penn State, they also looked bad. But outside of that, Michigan has actually played really well. Since that first quarter-and-a-half against the Nittany Lions, the offense looks different. The defense has been stout. It’s too late for a run to the College Football Playoff, but Michigan may once again end the season with 10 wins under Jim Harbaugh if it keeps playing at this level. A rivalry game hosting Michigan State is next (following a bye).
What it means for Maryland: Maryland looked great the first two weeks of the season. Since then, however, the Terps have gone 1-6. Mike Locksley’s first season won’t be remembered as a successful one barring a miraculous three-game winning streak to end the season. At that point, the team would be 6-6 and bowl eligible. What’s the issue? Next week, Maryland travels to take on an Ohio State team coming off a bye.