Three up, three down: Maryland vs. Nebraska

Maryland got out of their four-game losing skid on Saturday as they scraped out a road win vs Nebraska, 13-10. It was a pretty ugly affair from both sides as there were eight total turnovers between both teams, but a late 24-yard field goal from Jack Howes was the difference. This win was much needed as doubt was starting to creep in whether or not Maryland would even make a bowl game following 4 straight losses. It wasn’t pretty but let’s take a look at three up, three down from week eleven.

Three Up

CB Tarheeb Still

The entire secondary was fantastic in this game as they held the three opposing Nebraska quarterbacks to 10/21 passing with 86 yards and 4 interceptions. Two of these interceptions came from Tarheeb Still, and they came at clutch moments in the game. The first of which game in the second half as Nebraska was starting to put together a drive after Maryland’s lone touchdown of the day. Nebraska quarterback, Jeff Sims, began to establish the run game on the following drive. Nebraska ended up taking a deep shot towards the end zone but Tarheeb Still was there to take away momentum the Nebraska was building. His second interception was the definition of clutch as after Maryland seemingly choked the game after a Roman Hemby fumble inside the five, Still and the defense kept the team in it. New Nebraska quarterback, Chubba Purdy, was leading a nearly 90 yard drive deep into Maryland territory. They game seemed lost as time was ticking but Still had other ideas as he perfectly read a Purdy pass and jumped on the route to cause the interception. Maryland used this sudden change in momentum to kickstart a game winning drive capped off by a field goal. Still has been relatively clutch in redzone defense this year, as he also had a massive interception against Virginia earlier this year. The clutch factor alone lands Still in 3 up.

SAF Dante Trader

The other Terrapin with two interceptions was safety Dante Trader Jr. Now, Nebraska’s passing attack is far from the most lethal in the country, however it was good to see the secondary back on track. Recent poor performances against the likes of Luke Altmeyer and Drew Allar left a lot to be desired for the Maryland secondary. Taking control of a poor passing attack and making it useless is more like it and what I expected from the secondary prior to the season. Trader had the first interception of the day as he snagged an overthrown ball by Heinrich Haarberg. He added another in the fourth quarter off of quarterback Jeff Sims. Turnovers are what kept Maryland in it today. Beau Brade also caused a fumble during the game and Ja’Quan Sheppard perhaps his best game with tight coverages and a good tackling presence. A great game for the secondary.

WR Tai Felton

It is time to recognize Tai Felton as Maryland’s #1 wideout. He was often forgotten going into the season but has been arguably Marylands most reliable target all year. Felton finished with five receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown, a score coming off a big 53-yard catch from the man himself. Every time it seemed like Tagovailoa completed a big pass, it was to Felton. The play before his touchdown, Felton ran a beautiful stop and go route to get Maryland deep into Nebraska territory. He finished the play as the very next snap Tagovaiola found Felton again for the score. Felton did have an untimely fumble but his play throughout the rest of the game puts him comfortably in the 3 up category. A very solid season for Tai Felton and he deserves his flowers.

Three Down

The Turnovers

The only thing that was keeping Nebraska in the game was the turnovers by Maryland. The team accounted for three during the game and they never came at good times. Taulia Tagovailoa forced another interception when he didn’t need to early in the second half. It was just after Nebraska had taken the lead and this added extra momentum to the Cornhuskers. Roman Hemby had the most costly turnover for Maryland as late in the fourth quarter Maryland was stringing together what seemed likely to be the game-winning drive. Following a 22-yard scramble that took some magic from Tagovailoa, Hemby received the hand off and fumbled just two plays later. Fumbling inside the five seemed like it was gonna wipe any chance Maryland had to win. Even though there was 10 minutes it really did feel like next score wins. Luckily for the Maryland offense, the defense bailed them out and got them the ball back late to secure the win. The fumbling issue, especially on drives where momentum needs to be limited in the final two games.

RB Antwain Littleton

Antwain Littleton is struggling at what should make him good: short yardage situations. At 6’1 and 230 pounds you would think he be the thunder to Roman Hemby’s lightning. A big body running back that should fight for the tough yards, however Littleton has struggled to fit successfully into that role. The coaches keep giving him opportunities to get the yards in these short yardage situations, but more often than not he fails. On a 4th and 1 in the third quarter a hand off to Littleton went no where as the Terrapins turned the ball over on downs. Yes, some of this can be on the blocking but results matter. Littleton should easily be getting 1 yard at a time with his frame. It just hasn’t fully clicked for him in that setting. He only finished the day with 2 rushes for 1 yard, but the black eye of the fourth down lands him in 3 down.

The Run Defense

It was hard to brainstorm a third negative from the game as the team played well despite their turnovers. Nebraska had their way with Maryland on the ground for a majority of the game. Every long sustained drive that the Cornhuskers had was due to their efficiency on the ground. The Cornhuskers ran for 183 yards as a team which isn’t super impressive but it’s where they found a majority of their offense. The linebackers played well for Maryland but no one stood out in run defense too much with tackling numbers. It was arguably one of the defenses best performance in conference play all season.

Overall, it was great for Maryland to get a win and get the season back on track. A loss here and real doubt would loom on bowl eligibility. Their first win in 6 weeks put the Terps into bowl season for the third year in a row. Let’s see if the momentum continues as Maryland hosts #3 Michigan and the FOX Big Noon Kickoff show this Saturday in College Park.

Related Links

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