Bob Wojnowski and John Niyo are joined by former running backs Nick Hill of MSU and Chris Howard of UM to talk about this weekend's big games, and Matt Charboneau breaks down his AP Top 25 vote. Detroit News
VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Roman Stubbs, who covers Maryland for the Washington Post, breaks down the Terrapins for The Detroit News, answering five questions heading into Saturday’s Michigan-Maryland game.
You can follow him on Twitter @romanstubbs.
Question. Another week and, it seems, another potential quarterback issue at Maryland. It apparently will be a game-time decision on Max Bortenschlager, and if he can’t go, Detroit-native Ryan Brand will start. How do you see this playing out?
Answer. I get the sense Bortenschlager will be ready, although nothing at this point would surprise me. I think there is a real chance we could see multiple players play, including Brand, who is the most mobile of the remaining healthy quarterbacks and adds a dimension in that regard. I think we could also see some Wildcat packages, with either running backs Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison operating, or junior wide receiver DJ Moore, who is the team’s best offensive player.
Q. How has D.J. Durkin handled this season being hit so hard by quarterback injuries?
A. He admitted to slight frustration about the situation earlier this week, but he’s obviously remained largely publicly stoic about it throughout the year. It’s magnified by the fact that the other ten offensive starters have started all nine games and have been largely healthy, but Durkin has vowed not to change his system and to limit his quarterbacks from scrambling as much as they do.
Q. Durkin is a defense guy and yet the Terps are at or near the bottom in the Big Ten in most defensive categories. How has this happened?
A. The most glaring issue is their front seven; there has been next to no sack production and marginal pass rush. It’s clear that the priority in recruiting and player development is finding better players up front and at the linebacker position, both of which are thin at this point.
Q. Maryland needs to win two of its final three to make a bowl but for the second year in a row the Terps face a brutal three-game stretch. After Michigan, they face Michigan State and Penn State. Do you see them making a bowl?
A. I don’t see them making a bowl. I think the more pressing question is whether they can finally make a competitive game out of any of these final three; Maryland has yet to win a Big Ten game against a ranked team in four seasons, and they were outscored 100-27 against Ohio State and Wisconsin earlier this year. Closing that gap in any form would be viewed as progress.
Q. Year 2 under D.J. Durkin — hard to evaluate because of the quarterback issues, but is he taking the program in the right direction?
A. I think Durkin has the program moving in the right direction, although it remains to be seen whether this team can make up any kind of ground in the Big Ten East. There will be patience here because of the way he has recruited over his first two years, and he certainly has a sparkling new indoor facility to work with, but taking the next step on the field in his third season will be crucial.
TERRAPINS TO WATCH
■ DJ Moore, WR: The junior leads the Big Ten with 59 receptions and needs 19 to break the single-season Maryland record for receptions set in 1994 by Geroy Simon (77). Moore is averaging 6.6 catches per game, which would put him on pace for 79 catches with three regular-season games remaining. Moore leads the conference in reception yards (820) and has caught a pass from four different quarterbacks this season.
■ Ty Johnson, RB: Johnson, a junior, needs just 43 yards to become the 13th player in Maryland history to surpass 2,000 career rushing yards. He ranks 14th in Maryland history in the category. Johnson is also looking to become the 14th player in Maryland history to record 3,000 all-purpose yards — he needs just 17 yards to reach the milestone. Johnson leads the Big Ten with 531 total kick return yards. He had a 100-yard kickoff return against then-No. 10 Ohio State.
■ Jermaine Carter Jr., LB: The senior needs just one more tackle to reach 300 for his career, and he will be the first Terp to reach that mark since Demetrius Hartsfield had 339 from 2009-12. Carter has a team-leading 59 tackles and is hoping to become the fifth Maryland player to lead the team in tackles in three consecutive seasons since 1969. He has six tackles for loss this season, and has 29 tackles for loss in his career, which ranks 13th in program history.
FACTS AND FIGURES
■ Tough tough tough: Maryland is on pace to play the toughest schedule in the country with its cumulative opposition currently posting a 58-29 record (.667). Notre Dame ranks second in the category with a .652 opposition record. Maryland closes its regular season with three-straight opponents ranked in the AP Top 25: Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
■ QB carousel: Maryland and Michigan are the only two programs in the Power 5 to have a different quarterback start in three wins this season. The Terps earned wins with Tyrrell Pigrome (Texas) and Kasim Hill (Towson), before both were lost for the season with injuries. Sophomore Max Bortenschlager has started every game in the Big Ten schedule, winning games against Minnesota and Indiana. Bortenschlager has thrown 10 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
■ Keeping the turnovers at a minimum: The Terps are one the top programs in the turnover-margin department, ranking second in the Big Ten Conference with a plus-6 turnover differential. The Terps have lost the turnover battle just once (UCF) in nine games this season, despite playing five different quarterbacks. Last season, Maryland had a minus-7 turnover differential.