PREVIEW: Maryland Defense

An outstanding pair of linebackers highlight a Terrapin defense that has surrendered less than 70 total rushing yards in each their last three games.

THE TERRAPINS ON DEFENSE

Players to Know

  • LB Erin Henderson - a two time All-ACC selection who is eighth in the country in tackles per game (11.1).  A semi finalist for the Butkus Award and the Terp's active career leader in tackles with 236 stops.
  • DT Dre Moore - leads the team with six sacks as he was selected to the ACC's first all-defensive team. Averaging 6.5 tackles per game in the last six games.
  • LB Dave Philistin - averages over 10 tackles a game and has a team high eight consecutive games posting double digit tackles.



Overview
The Terps rank 42nd nationally and 10th in the ACC in total defense giving up an average of 355.9 yards per game while ranking 28th in scoring defense (21.58 ppg). The statistics are a little misleading as all nine ACC teams which rank ahead of the Terps are among the top 38 in the nation in total defense.

Similar to the Beavers their strength lies with the running defense as they limited their last three opponents to 69.7 yards per rushing, including holding NC State to just 250 total yards, including 10 yards rushing, and Boston College to a measly 45 yards on the ground. The Terrapin defense has surrendered fewer than 50 yards on the ground three times this year.

While the Beavers have a trio of excellent linebackers, Maryland has a duo of excellent linebackers. The heart and soul of the team are junior linebackers Erin Henderson (pictured left) and Dave Philistin, who rank eighth (11.1) and 31st (10.1) respectively, in the nation in tackles per game.

Maryland is just one of three teams to have two players averaging 10 or more tackles a game.

Henderson, a first team All-ACC selection, has a team high 122 stops, including a team best 11 for loss. He grabbed 57 of his stops in the last four games and has led the team in tackles nine games this season.

Philistin is right behind Henderson in tackles with 121, including 6.5 for loss, along with four pass deflections. He has eight consecutive games posting double digit tackles.

Rounding out the starting linebackers is junior Moise Fokou who has 76 tackles, third on the team, including five for loss and two sacks while starting all 12 games this season.

Fokou is also a special teams standout.

Freshman linebacker Adrian Moten, who was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-ACC Football team, is one of the first off of the bench. The versatile player ranks ninth on the team with 45 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss which includes 3.5 sacks.

Clogging up the middle is defensive tackle Dre Moore, a first team all-conference member, who has a team high six sacks. Moore has been on a tear in the second half of the year averaging 6.5 tackles per game in the last six games.

Moore is accompanied in the trenches by 300-pound senior Carlos Feliciano who has 39 tackles and two pass breakups.

The ends are manned by juniors Jeremy Navarre, who sometimes plays tackle, and Trey Covington. Navarre has 35 tackles, including 4.5 sacks, good for second on the team while Covington has 34 tackles and has started 33 of the last 34 games.

Although the strength of the defense, lately, seems to lie with the ability to stop the running game, the pass defense has been solid allowing just 219.25 yards per game, 47th best in the nation.

Junior cornerback Kevin Barnes (picture left) leads the team in interceptions with four. He is a solid tackler who is tied for fourth on the team with 63 tackles. His 45 solo stops are third most among Terps.

Barnes also has a co-team high nine pass breakups.

Barnes' partner in crime is senior Isaiah Garnder, who has two interceptions and co-team high nine pass breakups. Barnes and Garnder has combined for 24 passes defender this season.

The defensive backfield is patrolled by strong safety Christian Varner, who has a team high 34-straight starts, and free safety J.J. Justice.

Varner has 48 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, to go along with three pass breakups while Justice has 63 tackles and five pass breakups, good for second on the team.

Sophomore Anthony Wiseman, a cornerback, and junior Jeff Allen, a safety, also see time in the secondary. Wiseman has 20 tackles while Allen has 28.

 

Strategy
The Beaver offensive line will have its hands full with an active defensive tackle in Moore and two ball-hawking linebackers in Henderson and Philistin.

Just like coach Mike Riley preaches each week, balance will be key. Obviously the Terrapins will stack the box to try and stop the run forcing Lyle Moevao and the passing game to beat them.

And while the Terps passing defense has been solid, the Oregon State offense should find plenty of room to throw and stretch the field.

End arounds, reverses and quick hitters should loosen up the defense as well which in turn will help the ground game get going.

 

Statistics

  • The Terrapins forced seven turnovers in the final four regular season games.
  • Between defense and special teams, the Terps have forced 18 fumbles. Last season, Maryland had just 11.
  • Maryland has 15 sacks over the last six games after notching eight over the first six contests.
  • UM has had had a first team All-ACC linebacker in five of the last seven years while a Terp linebacker has been named the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year in three of the last seven years.

 

Depth Chart


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