Maryland among top teams nationally in turnover margin

Maryland already entered Saturday among the top teams in the country in turnover margin (+4), but several game-sealing plays from Maryland’s defense against the Spartans has now vaulted the Terps even higher.

Heading into week five, Maryland is tied with Fresno State for the second-best turnover margin (+8) in the country, trailing only Penn State (+11).

“Defense came up big early on with the turnovers. We were able to convert those to scores,” head coach Mike Locksley said following the win. “Any time you come up with turnovers like we did today, it really helps you on the offensive side of the ball.”

Maryland won the turnover battle for the second consecutive week, moving to 2-0 this season when doing so. In fact, Maryland’s last loss when they still won the turnover battle? Nov. 19, 2022, when fourth-ranked Ohio State needed all sixty minutes to outlast the Terps in a thrilling back-and-forth game.

Maryland turned in five turnovers in Saturday’s win in East Lansing, starting out with an interception from Beau Brade on the game’s opening kickoff. Sean Greeley, who opened the game with his first career touchdown, also recorded a fumble in the second quarter to give the offense a short field. The forced fumble made the fifth-year senior just the third player in the FBS since 2012 to force a fumble and catch an offensive touchdown in a game, one of multiple records Greeley broke on Saturday.

Glen Miller also added an interception on the Spartans’ opening drive of the second half, while linebacker Kobi Thomas recovered a fumble on a kickoff in the closing minutes of the game. Tarheeb Still also added his third interception in two weeks, including his second redzone interception, while head coach Mike Locksley noted it could’ve been an even bigger play.

“I saw him not having field awareness and I would’ve loved to see him finish it and stay in-bounds and go score, but it came up big because we gave up some yardage today,” Locksley added. “But as we got down to that red area, we buckled down and we’re able to kind of keep them out of the end zone perse. So it was [a] big interception there by Heeb and a big play by our defense.”

Still, generating turnovers had been a point of emphasis for the Terps’ secondary despite losing a pair of cornerbacks who did well breaking up passes one season ago. After posting nine interceptions in 2022, Maryland is already up to seven through four weeks as cornerbacks coach Henry Baker develops the next wave behind Still and Ja’Quan Sheppard.

Maryland will look to ride the defense’s strong start back at home next weekend against Indiana for a 3:30 PM.

“I hope our fans show up for these kids,” Locksley said postgame. “They’ve earned the right to have you guys there to support them. And our student section has done their part. Now everybody’s got a part to do in there. I know we’re excited with the opportunity to go 5-0 at home in The Shell and the players are excited about that as well.”

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