Scouting The Opponent: Maryland

In our weekly Scouting the Opponent feature, get a primer on Indiana’s opponent before the game. Maryland is playing in its first Big Ten game since joining the conference, while Indiana is coming off a big win at Missouri.

Maryland Terrapins

Record: 3-1

Key Players:

WR – No. 1Stefon Diggs, 6-0, 190 lbs., Jr, Gaithersburg, Md., 23 receptions, 286 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 rush attempt, 12 yards, 29.4 yards/return

Diggs is the best player on Maryland and arguably the best wide receiver in the Big Ten. He is electric with the ball in his hands and is a threat to reach the end zone on any down. He is difficult to cover, as his route running has very little limitations. He can beat the defense going deep, underneath, on the sidelines or across the middle. He also will return kickoffs on Saturday, averaging 29 yards per return. Diggs is possibly the best NFL prospect Indiana will face this season.

WR – No. 6 Deon Long, 6-0, 185 lbs., Sr., Washington, D.C., 11 receptions, 142 yards, 1 touchdown

Long is the No. 2 receiver for the Terps, and he is just about as dangerous as Diggs. The duo leads one of the best receiver corps in the conference, and together they are a formidable force with the capability to wreck havoc in the Hoosier secondary. Long has had quite the journey in his college years, playing at three different schools and dealing with injury problems, but the talent has always been there. He has figured things out this year, and his maturity is at an all time high. If Indiana puts too much attention on Diggs, then Long could make the defense pay.

QB – No. 16 C.J. Brown, 6-3, 218, r-Sr., Cranberry Township, Penn., 63-of-113 passing, 833 yards, 6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 49 rush attempts, 244 yards, 4 touchdowns

Brown is pretty much the definition of a dual-threat quarterback. He currently leads the Terps in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns, and he has more rushing touchdowns than the rest of the team combined. Running is the strength of his game, and he has a similar playing style to last year’s Heisman finalist from Northern Illinois, Jordan Lynch. While Brown doesn’t possess the most accurate arm, especially on deep balls, he has incredible playmakers around him that help get the job done. Brown capitalizes on that, executing on the short and open-field throws to the Maryland playmakers.

S – No. 21 Sean Davis, 6-1, 200 lbs., Jr., Washington D.C., 38 tackles, 27 solo, 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups

Davis leads the Terps in tackles, both total and solo. He led the team in tackles last season with 102 stops, an average of 7.8 per game. Up front, the rush defense hasn’t been spectacular for Maryland this year, but Davis is able to clean up those mistakes and not allow for big plays. Davis is one of the top safeties in the country in the open field, and it will be a good test for Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, who makes a living on getting past the second level and making long runs.

CB – No. 4 William Likely, 5-7, 175 lbs., So., Belle Glade, Fla., 27 tackles, 25 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 3 pass breakups, 27.5 yards/return, 1 touchdown

Coming into the 2014 season, one of Maryland’s biggest question marks was at cornerback. Likely answered those questions and has become the biggest surprise for the Terps. Likely leads the team in interceptions, one of which he took back for a touchdown, and is tied for the lead in pass breakups and forced fumbles. Although size is an issue for Likely, going up against the 5-7 Shane Wynn will take that disadvantage away. Likely also returns punts for the Terps and has already returned one for a touchdown this season while averaging a remarkable 27.5 yards per return. With the way Indiana’s special teams has looked this season, Likely will be looking to return another punt Saturday.

Key Win

Last week, Maryland went on the road to take on an undefeated Syracuse team. Quarterback C.J. Brown started strong for the Terps, throwing two touchdowns from 25 and 90 yards in the first quarter, giving Maryland an early 14-3 lead. Brown finished with 280 passing yards and two touchdowns .The game was put out of reach late in the third quarter when cornerback William Likely picked off a pass and took it 88 yards for a touchdown, giving the Terps a 31-13 lead. Maryland went on to win 34-20.

Head Coach

Randy Edsall is in his fourth season as the Maryland head coach. He is 15-24 in his short tenor, but much like Indiana’s Kevin Wilson, he has shown improvement every season. Edsall took over in 2011, finishing with a record of 2-10. 2012 saw moderate improvement with a 4-8 record. 2013 is when things began to click, as Maryland started off the year 4-0 and ranked No. 25 after defeating West Virginia in its fourth game. They finished the season 7-5, earning a bid to the Military Bowl where they lost 31-20 against Marshall.

Prior to Maryland, Edsall earned recognition at the University of Connecticut. Edsall was head coach when the Huskies moved to Division I-A in 2000, where he showed moderate improvement every season. In 2004, Connecticut joined the Big East Conference, a BCS-automatic qualifying conference. In the next seven years, Connecticut shared the conference championship twice and went 3-2 in bowl games, highlighted by the bid to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010, Edsall’s last season with Connecticut.

Team Stats

IU – Maryland

Points/Game: 33.7 – 36.8

Points Allowed/Game: 27.3 - 21

Total Offense Avg.: 547 - 401

Pass Yards Avg.: 236.7 – 237.8

Rushing Yards Avg.: 310.3 – 163.2

Total Defense Avg.: 414.7 – 460.5

Passing Defense Avg.: 288.7 – 261.2

Rushing Defense Avg.: 126 – 199.2

Last Meeting Between These Teams

Indiana, 13, Maryland 7, Nov. 9, 1935 in Baltimore, Md.

These two teams haven’t played since the Great Depression, and Indiana went to Maryland and pulled out a victory. That season, Indiana had a record of 4-3-1 with Bo McMillin as its head coach.

Offensive Style

Last season, Maryland’s offense was shut down by Indiana defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and his defense at Wake Forest. However, Maryland was missing wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, so Knorr was able to focus on the rush attack. That won’t be the case this Saturday, so Maryland will use its spread attack to get open up space for the rush attack. They run a lot of zone-read option with quarterback C.J. Brown, using it to get the Indiana defense to overcommit and make mental errors.

The offense runs through Brown completely, whether it is a pass or a run. Brown will try to tuck the ball and run wild on the Hoosiers, or will drop back and find his playmaking receivers on quick patterns. Maryland played a Syracuse team that is high-pressure and blitz heavy, so the Terps will be ready for Indiana’s attacking 3-4 defense.

What They’re Saying

Head Coach Kevin Wilson:

"We'll have a huge challenge this week for Maryland. They've got great athletes. They've impacted every game, and the kicking game. So it will be a huge game in conference to win a game like we did last week and have success, and have a chance this week.

"Lot of vibe around town. Lot of guys not jumping on the bandwagon, but just giving the team the positive energy it needs to keep building. Maryland is coming in at 3-1. They've played a very strong schedule. They've played two road games they won. The one loss to West Virginia, 40-37 at home. West Virginia was up 28-3 in the second quarter. It shows the team that Coach Edsall has for those guys to come back and have a chance to win.

"Coach Edsall does an awesome job and has a bunch of veteran coaches that we respect. Led by the quarterback, C.J. Brown. Dynamic player, six-year player. Think he took over when Boomer graduated, and I played in '84. He's been there a long time. He's their leading rusher and makes a lot of plays throwing the football. He makes them to some very, very dynamic receivers. As good as there is collectively on any college team. Very impressive receivers, very impressive offense. They'll stress you out and score a bunch of points.

"Defensively, very athletic, multiple, very aggressive. Last week a pick six. They've created ten turnovers. We've had seasons I don't think we've created ten. They've got ten in four games. They battled for four quarters. It's evident in how they played those games. They won a game, and they had seven turnovers. They had eight for the year, and I think they had six in one game and yet they won. So it shows their team has a lot of resolve, a lot of fight. They played really strong in the scoring zone. I think 40% of the time you score a touchdown on them, they might give up yards, but they don't give up points. Kicking game, like I said is very impactive in what they do.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin Johns:

“They’re very similar to the defense we’ve faced all preseason camp, which is our own. They’re based on an odd front, which means they can bring pressure from all over the place. They’re a tough, physical defense with big guys. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge.

“I think (William Likely)’s the best perimeter player we will have seen up to date. I think he’s phenomenal, very athletic, very fast, quick, can change direction. He’s relentless and he makes plays all over the field, so he certainly has our attention right out of the gate. We’re going to do what we do, but our players realize the challenge we have ahead of us. We need to be aware of where he is.”

Defensive Coordinator Brian Knorr:

“Maryland, having faced them in the past in the ACC, Maryland’s very talented. C.J. Brown is very talented, 6-foot-3, very fast, saw him one night run for about 250 yards against a good Clemson defense. He’s a dangerous quarterback with flat out straight-line speed, can really run away from people and has a lot of targets. Stefon Diggs is one of the highest recruited receivers in all the country. He’s a very talented receiver, No. 1, and Deon Long is another one. They really have as good a receiving corps as we’ll probably see this year.”

S Mark Murphy:

“They have a very talented wide receiver and skill group as a whole, and they’re going to try to get the ball to those guys in space, allow them to make plays. They have a talented quarterback as well, similar to Maty Mauk. He’s mobile, he can run around, and they have an emphasis on the quarterback run game, so it’s going to be important to be really sound in our assignments and know where we need to be.”

LB Tegray Scales:

“They have a balanced game, they’re good all over the ball, so we’ve just got to play fast and play defense like we do. Maryland’s a good team, and much respect to them, we’ve just got to bring it.”

OT Ralston Evans

“Coach told us last night that no team that started 0-1 in the conference has ever gone on to win it, so we realize how big of a game this is and how we need to start out on the right foot. So, we aren’t coming in complacent, we’re just getting back to work and continuing to show people what we do.”

Key Matchup

Maryland features a group of fantastic wide receivers, headlined by Stefon Diggs, an NFL-caliber talent. They have more speed and open-field ability than anyone the Hoosiers have played to date, which gives them the potential to pick apart Indiana’s secondary. The Hoosiers allow an average of 288.7 passing yards per game, plus there’s the poor performance in the loss to Bowling Green two weeks ago when quarterback James Knapke drove 88 yards on 12 plays to clinch the victory. The secondary struggled to hold Bowling Green’s receivers and committed a couple of big pass interference calls down the stretch that helped put Bowling Green into the red zone. The Hoosier secondary, led by cornerback Tim Bennett, will need to be solid for four quarters on Saturday if they want to win the Big Ten opener.

Follow Ben Faunce on Twitter.com/ben_faunce


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