PREVIEW: Maryland Offense

The Maryland offense thrives on its ground game where a pair of running backs average nearly 150 yards and 13 points per game.

Beavers (8-4) vs Terrapins (6-6)
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
5:30 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
AT&T Park (35,100)

TELEVISION:
ESPN

RADIO:
The Beaver Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
OSU by 5

THE SERIES:
First meeting

MORE STATS:
NCAA.org

THE TERRAPINS ON OFFENSE

Players to Know

  • WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - a 2006 freshman All-American, Heyward-Bey leads the team in receptions (48) and receiving yards (687) with almost half of his receptions coming in the last four games of the year. He has a team best 12 plays of 20 yards or more as the coaches like to use his exceptional speed on end arounds and reverses.
  • OG Andrew Crummey - despite missing five games with a fractured fibula still earned second team All-ACC honors
  • RB Keon Lattimore - has topped the 100-yard mark four times this season while rushing into the end zone for an ACC best 13 times.



Overview
If you thought the Beavers had it bad with injuries it is nothing compared to the Terrapin offense which featured just three players that started all 12 games. Injuries, coupled with an erratic passing game, have hampered the Terps all season long.

Maryland and Oregon State faced similar quarterback situations as neither team returned a quarterback with a collegiate start. Now each team has two capable signal callers.

Many Maryland fans expected quarterback Jordan Steffy to have a big season, but the junior was knocked out of the Rutgers game with a concussion. Backup Chris Turner (pictured right) assumed duties leading his team to a 34-24 upset of then #10 Rutgers on the road as he completed 10 of 20 passes for 149 yards while leading four scoring drives in the second half.

He was named the ACC's Offensive Player of the Week for his performance and has kept the starting spot ever since.

Turner hasn't been spectacular, but has been solid, in his 10 appearances, including seven starts, throwing for 1,753 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 64-percent of his passes. His 136.7 quarterback rating is good for third in the ACC.

The sophomore is traditionally a drop back passer, but has the wheels to move the chains with his feet as he rattled off a 41-yard gain in MU's final game of the year.  In fact, he has been playing exceptionally better as of late averaging 261.7 yards per game while completing 67-percent of his passes in the last three games.

He hasn't been helped by an injury plagued offensive line that has given up 38 sacks, good for third worst in the ACC, which comes out to 3.82 sacks a game. Center Edwin Williams is the only offensive lineman to start all 13 games in 2007 and leads the team in consecutive starts with 25.

Right guard Andrew Crummey, a second team All-ACC selection, is one the best offensive lineman on the squad and has a co-team high 35 career starts - a full 14 games behind OSU's Roy Schuening's 49 consecutive starts. The buffet busters should be the healthiest they have been this year though for the Emerald Bowl.

On the year the offensive is helping the offense average 350.6 yard per game, fifth in the ACC, but has turned it up recently averaging 424.3 yards in the final three games of the season. Similar to the Beaver offense, the Terrapin offense is quick out of the gate as they have outscored its opponents 80-40 in the opening quarter.

Maryland prides themselves on being a smash mouth football program as they are led by a solid pair of senior running backs in Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore. The dynamic duo combines to average 147.3 yards per game rushing, third in the ACC and 65th nationally, and over 13 points per game.

Lattimore is fifth in the ACC in rushing at 71.7 yards per game while scoring a league best 13 touchdowns on the ground while Ball is averaging 63.58 per game and is fourth all-time in MU history for career rushing (2,482) and rushing touchdowns (26).  Ball has 12 touchdowns on the ground, second best in the league.

Maryland is just one of four teams in the nation to feature two running backs with at least 750 yards each. When the ground game is clicking Maryland is difficult to stop as they do a great job of taking care of the ball and controlling the tempo of the game.

MU is 16th in the NCAA in time of possession holding the ball for an average of 31:31 minutes per game which has been aided by a minimal number of turnovers. Through 12 games the Terps have turned the ball over just 15 times, good for 11th best in the country.

The passing game is highlighted by the fleet footed sophomore Darrius Heyward-Bey (pictured left) who, despite being an underclassman, needs just seven receptions to become the 11th receiver in school history with 100 catches. Heyward-Bey is also set to move into the top 10 all-time in receiving yards as well.

In the last four games Heyward-Bey has 21 catches for 268 yards. He has led the team in receiving yards 12 times in his short career as he currently ranks ninth in the ACC in receiving yards per game (57.25).

Assisting Heyward-Bey in the receiving department is tight end Joey Haynos who has caught 19 of his 27 receptions in the last give games. Heyward-Bey and Haynos are the favorite targets of Turner as he has completed 35 of his last 76 completions to one of the two.

Freshman LaQuan Williams, who hauled in 15 passes for 217 yards, and junior Isaiah Williams, who is averaging 22.6 yards per game has eight receptions in the last three games, round out the receiving group.

Williams earned Sporting News Freshman All-ACC Football honors despite missing the final two games of the year with a knee injury. Williams is healthy and will play in the bowl game.

Additional players to note are tight ends Jason Goode and Dan Gronkowski, who have each started at least three games this season. Goode has 11 catches in the last four games after grabbing just three in the first eight.

 


Strategy
Maryland's offensive strength rests on its grind it out, clock eating running game which plays right into the Beaver defenses hands.

All year long teams have tried to run on the Orange and Black defense, but opponents have rarely succeeded as they have given up a measly 75 yards per game.

The Beaver defense has also seen its fair share of good running backs from Jonathan Stewart to Justin Forsett so the two-headed monster of Ball and Lattimore, although formidable, is manageable.

The key is to force Maryland to become one dimensional relying on their sporadic passing game. But, when that happens, the secondary must step up and keep big play threat Heyward-Bey in check.

Friedgen is generally regarded as one of the top offensive minds in college football so there will most certainly be trick plays.

On the year the Beaver defense has done a great of job of limiting big plays and, once again, this will be a key to keeping an opponent's offense in check.

 

Statistics

  • The Terps are third in the league in red zone offense, scoring on 44 of their 49 trips (89.8 percent). They are also third in the ACC in third down conversions (41.1 percent).
  • Maryland rolled up a season-high 472 yards of total offense against No. 8 Boston College (Nov. 10). Maryland's previous single-game high was 458, which they recorded in the upset of No. 10 Rutgers.

 

Depth Chart



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