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Posts Tagged ‘Terrapins’

First Look: Maryland

Thursday, November 9th, 2017


Brandon Peters got the start of his career, but last Saturday was all about the running game and the defense. Karan Higdon and Chris Evans combined for 391 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while Khaleke Hudson set a Michigan and Big Ten single-game record with eight tackles for loss, matching the NCAA record. The Wolverines will look to carry that momentum into College Park, Md. when they face Maryland this Saturday afternoon. Here’s a look at how the two teams compare so far this season.

Maryland & Michigan team stats comparison
Offense Defense
Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank
29.9 55th 27.1 73rd PPG 36.3 115th 17.1 11th
1,553 1,918 Rush Yds 1,573 923
172.6 56th 213.1 29th Rush/Gm 174.8 77th 102.6 7th
4.5 5.0 Rush Avg 4.5 3.0
1,480 1,507 Pass Yds 2,330 1,285
164.4 114th 167.4 111th Pass/Gm 258.9 104th 142.8 1st
3,033 3,425 Total Off. 3,903 2,208
337.0 112th 380.6 85th Total Off./Gm 433.7 101st 245.3 3rd
24.2 22nd 20.0 86th KR Avg 20.0 53rd 14.6 3rd
12.6 17th 8.2 57th PR Avg 11.7 108th 7.7 75th
27:27 108th 32:57 13th Avg TOP 32:33 27:03
32% 115th 33% 113th 3rd Down% 50% 127th 24% 3rd
24-124 108th 27-187 111th Sacks-Yds 15-75 88th 32-227 3rd
36 29 TDs 43 19
6-10 (60%) 14-18 (78%) FG-ATT 9-16 (56%) 7-11 (64%)
25-32 (78%) 97th 25-27 (93%) 13th Red Zone 32-37 (86%) 86th 17-20 (85%) 75th
20-32 (63%) 14-27 (52%)  RZ TD 28-37 (76%) 13-20 (65%)
2.39 48th 2.31 52nd OFEI/DFEI 2.82 107th 1.40 15th
26.8 73rd 28.6 58th S&P+ 29.7 88th 19.5 13th

If you thought Minnesota was bad last week, Maryland is even worse — statistically at least. Yes, Maryland beat Minnesota 31-24 to open Big Ten play, but they seem to have gotten worse as the season has progressed, dropping four of their last five and five of their last seven. The only wins in that span have come over Indiana (42-39) and Minnesota. Last week, they lost to Rutgers.

The offense is fairly similar to Michigan’s with a decent running game and virtually no passing game. It ranks 55th nationally in scoring (29.9 points per game), 56th in rushing (172.6 yards per game), 114th in passing (164.4 yards per game), and 112th in total offense (337.0 yards per game).

The Terrapins rushed for over 260 yards in three of their first four games, tallying 263 against Texas in the opener, 367 against Towson, and 262 against Minnesota. But UCF held them to just 42 yards on 37 carries in Week 2. Ohio State and Northwestern also held the Terps’ running game in check, combining for just 135 yards on 73 carries (1.8 yards per carry).

The passing game hasn’t topped 255 yards in a game all season and has failed to reach 175 yards in six of nine games. Against Ohio State, Maryland completed just 3-of-13 passes for 16 yards and it wasn’t because the running game was working so well. The Terps managed just 66 total yards that game.

Defensively, Maryland is one of the worst in college football. D.J. Durkin’s defense ranks 115th nationally in scoring (36.3 points per game), 77th against the run (174.8 yards per game), 104th against the pass (258.9 yards per game), and 101st in total defense (433.7 yards per game).

UCF, Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Rutgers all rushed for over 200 yards against Maryland. Three of those (UCF, OSU, and Wisconsin) have fairly similarly-ranked running games as Michigan, while Rutgers and Northwestern rank 62nd and 96th, respectively. Opponents are averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

The passing game is even worse. Much worse. Maryland is allowing almost twice as many passing yards per game as Michigan and that’s an improvement after holding Rutgers to 107 passing yards last Saturday, although “holding” may not be the right word as the Scarlet Knights threw just 18 passes and found plenty of success on the ground. Indiana passed for 410 yards and Ohio State for 303.

One of the big reasons Rutgers’ defense is so bad is that it hasn’t been able to get off the field on third downs, allowing opponents to convert 50 percent of the time. They rank ahead of only Oregon State and Eastern Carolina in that category. By comparison, Michigan’s defense allows just a 24 percent conversion rate, meaning that they get off the field twice as often as Maryland’s defense does.

Another figure that bodes well for Michigan in this one is that Maryland has given up 24 sacks this season, an average of 2.7 per game. It’s three less than Michigan’s line has allowed and that’s good news for a Wolverine defense that ranks third nationally with 32 sacks. In the past two weeks, Michigan has faced offenses that entered that game allowing a total of 14 sacks all season, and the Wolverines got to the quarterbacks 10 times themselves — five each game.

Last week’s craziness with Iowa toppling Ohio State and Michigan State taking down Penn State brought an outside shot at at least a share of the Big Ten East title into play. With Wisconsin and Ohio State looming the next two weeks, Saturday’s game at Maryland is Michigan’s best shot at another win, so expect them to take full advantage of it.

#3 Michigan 59 – Maryland 3: Speight shines as Michigan spoils Durkin’s return

Sunday, November 6th, 2016


If there was any fear of a post-rivalry win letdown on Saturday, Michigan wasted no time erasing those fears. The Wolverines found the end zone on all five first half possessions while holding Maryland scoreless and cruised to a 59-3 win.

Michigan started with the ball and drive 91 yards on 10 plays as Wilton Speight connected with Amara Darboh for a 34-yard touchdown to start the scoring onslaught.

After forcing a Maryland punt, Michigan needed only six plays to march 84 yards — most notably a 40-yard pass from Speight to Jehu Chesson. Speight capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Maryland put together a decent drive, but missed a 29-yard field goal, and Michigan took advantage with a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive. On the second play of the drive, Speight hooked up with Jake Butt for 37 yards, and a few plays later, De’Veon Smith scored from three yards out to put Michigan ahead 21-0.

Final Stats
Michigan Maryland
Score 59 3
Record 9-0, 6-0 5-4, 2-4
Total Yards 660 337
Net Rushing Yards 273 78
Net Passing Yards 387 289
First Downs 31 19
Turnovers 0 2
Penalties-Yards 6-62 6-46
Punts-Yards 0-0 2-84
Time of Possession 32:12 27:48
Third Down Conversions 3-of-5 6-of-13
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-1 0-of-3
Sacks By-Yards 3-15 1-1
Field Goals 1-for-1 1-for-2
PATs 8-for-8 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 7-of-8 1-of-2
Red Zone Scores-TDs 6-of-8 0-of-2
Full Box Score

Maryland got to midfield, but Michigan’s defense stood strong on a 4th-and-3 conversion attempt and the offense took over once again. On the fifth play of the drive Speight threw deep to Drake Harris down the sideline. Harris made a great catch inside the 10-yard line, but was flagged for offensive pass interference. On the very next play, 2nd-and-34, Speight threw a screen pass to Chris Evans, who, after bobbling the catch, scampered 56 yards to the 1-yard line. Khalid Hill finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

A Maryland three-and-out gave Michigan the ball back with 2:33 left before the half and the Wolverines went 61 yards in less than two minutes. Speight connected with Chesson for a 33-yard touchdown to widen Michigan’s lead to 35-0 at the half.

Delano Hill intercepted Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe on the first possession of the second half and Michigan’s offense quickly reached the red zone yet again. But this time the Wolverines couldn’t punch it into the end zone and had to settle for a 29-yard Kenny Allen field goal.

Maryland made it to the Michigan 35, but once again Michigan’s defense stopped the Terrapins on a fourth down attempt. This time, Michigan’s offense was unable to put points on the board for the first time all game. The Wolverines made it to the Maryland 14-yard line, but Khalid Hill was stuffed on 4th-and-1. But the Michigan defense stood strong again with another fourth down stop as Jabrill Peppers and Ben Gedeon combined to tackle running back Lorenzo Harrison for a 5-yard loss on 4th-and-2.

With a short field, Michigan’s offense needed eight plays to find the end zone right at the end of the third quarter. Smith crossed the goal line for the second time in the game to put Michigan ahead 45-0.

On Maryland’s first possession of the fourth quarter they finally ended the shutout with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that ended in a 37-yard field goal.

Michigan answered right back with a 53-yard Ty Isaac run on the first play of its ensuing possession. Two plays later, Smith scored from two yards out to make the score 52-3.

Delano Hill recorded his second interception of the game and John O’Korn led another Michigan scoring drive. The drive started with a 16-yard completion to freshman receiver Kekoa Crawford and ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Crawford — the first touchdown of his career.

Michigan’s offense piled up 660 total yards, their most in a game this season. Speight had the best game of his career, completing 19-of-24 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. De’Veon Smith topped 100 yards for the first time this season, finishing with 114 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries for an average of six yards per carry. Chesson led the way through the air with five receptions for 112 yards and a score. Butt had five for 76 and Darboh had four for 77 and a score. For the second game this season Michigan didn’t have to punt.

Michigan’s defense surrendered 367 total yards to Maryland’s offense, but just three points. Quarterback Perry Hills, who entered the game tops in the Big Ten in pass efficiency, completed 4-of-4 passes but was knocked out of the game in the second quarter. His replacement, Rowe, completed just 12-of-23 passes for 203 yards — mostly on screens — and two interceptions.

Now 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play, Michigan visits Iowa next Saturday for a primetime matchup against the Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3). Iowa lost to No. 12 Penn State, 41-14, on Saturday.

Game Ball – Offense

Wilton Speight (19-of-24 for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 carries for 16 yards, 1 touchdown)
Speight gets the game ball for the third time this season after his best performance of the year. The redshirt sophomore started fast and never let up, completing 79.2 percent of his passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns. He looked cool and calm in the pocket, evading defenders like a seasoned veteran, and even saw an open running lane up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After the game, Jim Harbaugh called his first half — in which he went 13-of-16 for 292 yards and two touchdowns — the best half of football he’s ever seen by a Michigan quarterback. Harbaugh also brought Speight’s name into the Heisman conversation. In reality, it’s too late for that, but if Speight keeps up this play, there’s no reason to think Michigan can’t win out and he’ll set himself up for Heisman consideration entering 2017.

Week 1 — Chris Evans (8 carries, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 2 — Wilton Speight (25-of-37 for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Week 3 — Jake Butt (7 receptions for 87 yards)
Week 4 — Grant Newsome, Ben Braden, Mason Cole, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson (326 rush yards, 0 sacks allowed)
Week 5 — Amara Darboh (6 receptions for 87 yards, 1 touchdown)
Week 6 — Khalid Hill (2 carries for 2 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions for 19 yards and 1 touchdown)
Week 7 — Wilton Speight (16-of-23 for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 8 — Amara Darboh (8 receptions for 165 yards)

Game Ball – Defense

Delano Hill (6 tackles (5 solo), 0.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions)
It seems like every week Ben Gedeon could be deserving of the defensive game ball, but narrowly misses out. This week was no different as he led the team with 11 tackles and three for loss. But strong safety Delano Hill gets the nod for his first two interception game of the season. The senior also recorded six tackles — five of them solo — including a half of a tackle for loss. His play in the secondary is important to Michigan’s defensive success as one of the unheralded stars. The defensive line gets a lot of hype, as do Peppers and Jourdan Lewis, but if Hill can consistently ball hawk from his spot, it makes the defense that much better.

Week 1 — Mike McCray (9 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
Week 2 — Rashan Gary (6 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks)
Week 3 — Jabrill Peppers (9 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 kick ret. for 81 yards, 4 punt ret. for 99 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — Maurice Hurst (6 tackles, 3 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack)
Week 5 — Channing Stribling (2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups)
Week 6 — Taco Charlton (2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks)
Week 7 — Mike McCray (3 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 quarterback hurries)
Week 8 — Jabrill Peppers (7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 two-point conversion fumble recovery for touchdown)

M&GB staff predictions: Maryland

Friday, November 4th, 2016


Previously this week: First Look, Five-Spot Challenge, Tailgate Tuesday, Big Ten power rankings, The Numbers Game, game preview

Fresh off a win over rival Michigan State, Michigan returns home to host former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s Maryland Terrapins. Maryland comes in with a 5-3 record, but has lost three of its last four. Could Durkin shock his former boss? Or will Michigan stay focused on the task at hand and take care of business?

Justin won our weekly predictions last week for his first win of the season with his prediction of Michigan 33 – Michigan State 13. Here are this week’s picks:

Justin (1)
Staff Predictions
Michigan Maryland
Justin 45 17
Derick 48 13
Sam 38 3
Josh 38 17
Joe 42 7
M&GB Average 42 11

Four straight opponents have rushed for at least 200 yards on Maryland’s defense — Indiana (414), Michigan State (270), Minnesota (229), and Penn State (372) and there’s no reason to believe Michigan will end that streak. Look for Harbaugh to give the ball to Michigan’s stable of backs over and over and over again with some jet sweeps mixed in. Of course, Durkin will know that Harbaugh will do this, but his defense won’t be able to stop it consistently.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland will probably hit a few explosive runs. Remember, the Terps actually have nine more explosive runs (10 or more yards) than Michigan does so far this season — which ranks sixth nationally — and Johnson and Harrison average 8.6 yards per carry. They won’t have consistent success against Michigan’s stout defense, especially without a major passing threat, but they’ll bust a few.

But it won’t be enough as Michigan is simply more talented and experienced on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines top 300 yards rushing and score pass just enough to keep the defense honest. Michigan’s defense gets to Hills a few times, but surrenders a few big plays and a couple of touchdowns. Michigan has the game in hand by halftime and cruises to a comfortable win.

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17


Michigan hasn’t covered two weeks in a row after covering easily throughout most of the first half. D.J. Durkin is returning to the Big House with a much-improved Maryland team and a reinvigorated Perry Hills at quarterback. But Michigan’s defense is a completely different monster, and the toughest test Hills will face all season. I think Michigan will handle the Terps’ defense fairly easily and cruise to a big win

Michigan 48 – Maryland 13

Sam (1)

On paper, this game looks a lot like the Illinois game to me. Sure, Maryland has been playing a bit better than the Fighting Illini, but they don’t have the players or schemes to give Michigan much of a challenge. Expect the Wolverines’ ground game to be on full display yet again while Speight throws a couple first half touchdowns before packing it in after halftime. Give me the Maize and Blue in yet another snoozer.

Michigan 38 – Maryland 3

Josh (1)

I haven’t seen Maryland play this year. I mean, why would I want to watch that? But from what I can glean from some breakdowns and the traditional and fancy stats, they’re a spread-y team in the mold of Ohio State — except without freak athletes. This should be a good test to see how Don Brown handles the power-spread that D.J. Durkin could not. As we saw in this week’s The Numbers Game, Maryland is better on the ground than through the air and very good at generating explosive run plays, averaging 9.13 per game (6th nationally). But they’re not so good at explosive pass plays, ranking 111th. On defense, their run defense isn’t very good but their pass D is, so it could be interesting to see what Harbaugh has in mind. Michigan should have their way with the Terrapin defense, especially on the ground.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about Maryland. It’s a classic trap game, sandwiched between a rival and a brutal away game at night. Plus, last year’s OSU game looms large in the back of my mind and Colorado had some great success early on against Michigan with their spread-y ways.

Maryland doesn’t have the athletes that Michigan does but spreading out the defense and going with three wide receiver looks opens the middle up for big runs, which they are very good at and Michigan has traditionally struggled with. Yes, Michigan does have Don Brown and Jabrill Peppers, but I think Maryland will find some success running the ball much like MSU did last week.

I expect them to dink and dunk down the field and get a big gainer here and there on their way to double digit points. I have a sneaky feeling this game will be uncomfortably close for longer than Michigan fans would like, thus refueling the concern against OSU, despite them appearing to be mortal.

Maryland puts up 400 yards and a fair deal of points, relatively speaking, due to busts on big runs up the middle. I’m looking at you Dymonte Thomas. Michigan wins but it’s close enough where the media, and fans, will start to question the elite status of Michigan’s defense.

Michigan 38 – Maryland 17

Joe (5)

We’re in the home stretch and everything is going as planned. I’m intrigued with this game only because we’re facing a former coach who knows Harbaugh and our boys fairly well. Durkin knows that the only way to keep things close is by draining the clock and keeping the Michigan offense on the sidelines. Maryland and their top 15 rushing attack will rely on a strong ground game and ball control. The defensive front will be tested but will also be out to prove the fourth quarter from last week is not going to happen again. I see Michigan coming out pumped and looking to bury the Terps quickly, which they do starting in the second quarter. Michigan wins this one big.

Michigan 42 – Maryland 7

#3 Michigan vs Maryland game preview

Friday, November 4th, 2016

um-maryland-game-preview-header(Isaiah Hole, 247 Sports)

Michigan dropped a spot in the national rankings after beating Michigan State last week. Ah, the universe has returned to normal. But really, Michigan remained second in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll, but opened third behind Alabama and Clemson in the first College Football Playoff poll of the season.

Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 3:30p.m. ET – ESPN
MSU Head Coach: D.J. Durkin (1st season)
Coaching Record: 6-3 (5-3 at Maryland)
Offensive Coordinator: Walt Bell (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Buh (1st season)
Last Season: 3-9 (1-7 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UM 28 – Maryland 0
All-Time Series: Michigan 4-1
Record in Ann Arbor: Michigan 3-1
Jim Harbaugh vs Maryland 1-0
Last Michigan win: 2015 (28-0)
Last Maryland win: 2014 (26-13)
Current Streak: Michigan 1
Maryland Schedule to date
Opponent Result
Howard W 52-13
at FIU W 41-14
at UCF W 30-24 2 OT
Purdue W 50-7
at Penn State L 14-38
Minnesota L 10-31
Michigan State W 28-17
at Indiana L 36-42

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter one bit. Second and third are essentially interchangeable since they play each other in the CFP semifinal. But there are also still four games remaining, plus a conference championship game standing in the way. In other words, there’s a lot of football left to play.

For Michigan, it starts with Maryland tomorrow. The Terrapins enter with a 5-3 overall record and 2-3 in the Big Ten. They won their first four games of the season over Howard (52-13), FIU (41-14), UCF (30-24 in 2OT), and Purdue (50-7) but have lost three of their last four. The only win in the past month was a 28-17 victory over Michigan State two weeks ago. The losses came against Penn State (38-14), Minnesota (31-10), and Indiana (42-36).

Head coach D.J. Durkin is in his first season as a head coach after spending last season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. He’s the fifth first-year head coach Michigan has faced in nine games, but he’s far from unknown to Jim Harbaugh.

“I follow all the coaches that we work with and pull for them, when they’re not playing us,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a happy-for-the-other-guy’s-success attitude that we have here at Michigan. Personally I like it, I like it a lot, professionally to see guys develop, reach their goals, especially when you know going in what their goals are because you ask them, you talk about it. You want to see your friends have success and be good. He definitely has been at every job that he’s had. He goes all out, does things at a very high level with a lot of enthusiasm. Kindred spirit, so I’m very happy for him.”

Durkin played linebacker for Bowling Green from 1997-2000 and then began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He worked his way up through the ranks to defensive coordinator at Florida in 2013-14. When the Gators fired head coach Will Muschamp prior to the Birmingham Bowl in 2014, Durkin assumed the interim head coaching responsibilities and picked up the first win of his career over East Carolina. Harbaugh snatched him up to run his first Michigan defense last season, but when the Maryland job opened up, Durkin couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take his first full-time head coaching gig.

Now, he looks to upset his former boss. Will Michigan suffer a post-rivalry win letdown? Or will Harbaugh keep the Wolverines focused to improve to 9-0? Let’s take a look at the matchups.

When Maryland has the ball
S&P+ Rush S&P+ Rush SR Rush IsoPPP Pass S&P+ Pass SR Pass IsoPPP Avg FP
MD Off 65 18 47.8% (31) 13 81 40.7% (69) 106 29.5 (71)
UM Def 1 2 24.2% (1) 100 1 21.4% (1) 50 27.0 (16)

While Durkin has always been a defensive guy, he needed to hire a good offensive mind, so he looked to Arkansas State for an up and coming offensive coordinator. Walt Bell guided the Red Wolves to the nation’s 12th-best scoring offense a year ago, averaging 40 points per game. His high-tempo offense topped 300 yards in 24 of his 26 games, 400 yards 18 times, and 500 yards 11 times. Prior to ASU, he coached tight ends at North Carolina where he developed Eric Ebron into a first team All-American in 2013, and prior to that he coached wide receivers at Southern Miss when they set a school record for total offense and went 11-2 in 2011.

Through eight weeks, Bell’s Maryland offense ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 45th nationally in scoring (32.6 points per game), second and 13th in rushing (252 yards per game), 11th and 110th in passing (171.8 yards per game), and fifth and 52nd in total offense (423.8 yards per game).

His quarterback, senior Perry Hills, leads the Big Ten with a pass efficiency of 149.9, but he has thrown just 140 passes all season. By comparison, Wilton Speight, who is right behind him at 149.2, has thrown 207 passes. The past two weeks, however, he has been solid, completing 43-of-60 passes (71.7 percent) for 448 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. But he fumbled twice in the fourth quarter last Saturday, one leading to an Indiana touchdown.

Sophomore D.J. Moore leads the team in receiving with 400 yards and five touchdowns on 28 receptions. He had a big game against FIU in Week 2 with 147 yards and two scores but then three straights games with less than 20 yards. But he has scored a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and has nine receptions for 142 yars combined in the past two. Senior Teldrick Morgan has the same number of receptions as Moore (28) but 316 yards and three touchdowns. He has been pretty consistent all season with three or more catches in six of eight games and around 40-60 yards per game. Senior Levern Jacobs has 26 receptions, but the lowest yards per catch average of just 7.9. After catching just three passes through the first five games, Jacobs has exploded with 23 in the last three.

The running game is what powers Maryland’s offense, lead by the duo of sophomore Ty Johnson and freshman Lorenzo Harrison, who have combined for 1,199 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. Johnson leads the way with 624 yards, but has been hot and cold. He had 204 yards on just seven carries against Purdue and has topped 100 yards each of the last two weeks, but managed just 11 against Penn State and 23 against Minnesota — two defenses that are relatively comparable to Michigan’s. Harrison gets more carries and is more consistent with just one game all season below 60 yards. Minnesota held him to 35, and he had a season-high 105 yards against Michgian State, but in the other six games he has been between 64 and 78 in each one. Hills is also a capable runner with 283 yards gained and four rushing touchdowns, though he has been sacked 19 times.

Senior left tackle Michael Dunn and junior left guard Mike Minter form a solid run blocking duo on the left side of the line. Dunn was an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer last season and has 45 career starts. Sophomore center Brendan Moore is just another guy, while the right side is made up of true freshman right guard Terrance Davis and redshirt sophomore right tackle Damian Prince. They’re better in pass protection than Dunn and Minter, but msot of the running game goes to the left side. Maryland has allowed 24 sacks — worst in the Big Ten — and a big part of that is the pass-blocking weakness of the left side.

When Michigan has the ball
S&P+ Rush S&P+ Rush SR Rush IsoPPP Pass S&P+ Pass SR Pass IsoPPP Avg FP
UM Off 15 21 47.3% (33) 55 9 46.6% (23) 31 36.3 (1)
MD Def 72 127 48.4% (113) 87 31 40.0% (58) 3 30.6 (90)

Instead of hiring a young, up-and-comer like Durkin did on offense with Bell, he picked 18-year veteran Andy Buh to run his defense. Buh has served as a defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada, and Cal prior to his stint in College Park. In Jim Harbaugh’s first season at Stanford, Buh was the linebackers coach, but was then promoted to co-defensive coordinator for the 2008-09 seasons. From there, he took the DC position at Nevada, where he turned around one of the nation’s worst defenses and made it a top-50-ish one. He was the linebackers coach at Wisconsin in 2012 before getting another coordinator gig, this time at Cal, where he didn’t have much success. Last season, he coached outside linebackers at Kentucky.

Buh’s defense ranks eighth in the Big Ten and 36th nationally in scoring defense (23.3 points per game), 12th and 109th against the run (220.1 yards per game), fourth and 18th against the pass (181.4 yards per game), and 11th and 63rd in total defense (401.5 yards per game).

The defensive tackles, junior Kingsley Opara and senior Azubuike Ukandu have nine combined tackles for loss and two sacks, but haven’t been very effective in stopping the run. Fifth-year senior end Roman Braglio has 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Juniors Shane Cockerille and Jermine Carter Jr. are the linebackers in Buh’s 4-2-5 system. Cockerille was a fullback last season and played the second half of the Indiana game at quarterback when starter Caleb Rowe was injured. Now being asked to stop the run as one of two linebackers is a tall task. He does lead the team with 73 tackles and ranks third on the team with five tackles for loss. Carter ranks second on the team with 64 tackles and has four for loss, three sacks, and an interception.

The secondary took a huge hit when first-team All-Big Ten corner and first-team All-America punt returner Will Likely tore his ACL against Minnesota, effectively ending his career. Cornerbacks Alvin Hill — a senior — and J.C. Jackson — a sophomore — have three of the team’s four interceptions and have combined for 11 passes defended and eight pass breakups. Junior strong safety Josh Woods is the team’s third leading tackler with 38 tackles, while free safety Darnell Savage has 28. However, Savage missed last week’s game with an injury and freshman Qwuantrezz Knight made his first career start.

The other third

Junior kicker Adam Greene has made 6-of-8 field goal attempts, but his long so far is 36 yards. He has tried just two field goals longer than that and missed both (38 and 51). Freshman punter Wade Lees in an Australian League Football veteran from Melbourne but he averages just 39.8 yards per punt with 15 of 43 downed inside the 20 yard line.


Four straight opponents have rushed for at least 200 yards on Maryland’s defense — Indiana (414), Michigan State (270), Minnesota (229), and Penn State (372) and there’s no reason to believe Michigan will end that streak. Look for Harbaugh to give the ball to Michigan’s stable of backs over and over and over again with some jet sweeps mixed in. Of course, Durkin will know that Harbaugh will do this, but his defense won’t be able to stop it consistently.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland will probably hit a few explosive runs. Remember, the Terps actually have nine more explosive runs (10 or more yards) than Michigan does so far this season — which ranks sixth nationally — and Johnson and Harrison average 8.6 yards per carry. They won’t have consistent success against Michigan’s stout defense, especially without a major passing threat, but they’ll bust a few.

But it won’t be enough as Michigan is simply more talented and experienced on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines top 300 yards rushing and score pass just enough to keep the defense honest. Michigan’s defense gets to Hills a few times, but surrenders a few big plays and a couple of touchdowns. Michigan has the game in hand by halftime and cruises to a comfortable win.

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17

First Look: Maryland

Monday, October 31st, 2016

dj-durkin-maryland(Maryland Athletics photo)

Michigan got the Michigan State monkey off its back with a win in East Lansing on Saturday. Although the final score says the Wolverines won by just nine, the Wolverines were well in control by halftime. Michigan State scored a couple times in the fourth quarter and moved the ball better than most teams have against the Wolverines defense this season. All that means is that they’ll have plenty to improve upon and not get complacent or overconfident.

This week, they return home to face Maryland. It’s easy to predict a letdown game after a road win against your rival, but I think that already happened in the fourth quarter. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare so far this season.

Maryland & Michigan statistical comparison
Maryland | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 32.6 | 46.6 45 3
23.2 11.6 36 1
Rushing Yards 2,016 1,992 1,761 889
Rush Avg. Per Game 252.0 249.0 13 15
220.1 111.1 109 15
Avg. Per Rush 5.7 | 5.4
4.8 3.3
Passing Yards 1,374 1,825 1,451 961
Pass Avg. Per Game 171.8 228.1 110 72 181.4 120.1 18 1
Total Offense 3,390 3,817 3,212 1,850
Total Off Avg. Per Game 423.8 | 477.1 52 31 401.5 231.2 63 1
Kick Return Average 18.2 17.2 114 119 18.4 20.7 29 | 71
Punt Return Average 6.4 17.9 83 5 5.0 | 8.8 31 | 85
Avg. Time of Possession 28:23 33:48 89 14 31:37 | 26:13
3rd Down Conversion Pct 39% | 48% 68 | 19
36% | 16.0% 42 1
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 24-169 | 11-83
112 | 19
20-130 | 27-184 42 | 9
Touchdowns Scored 35 49
25 | 12
Field Goals-Attempts 6-8 | 9-14
5-8 | 3-7
Red Zone Scores (28-30) 93%|(42-46) 91% 9 | 22
(21-30) 70%|(7-12) 58% 8 1
Red Zone Touchdowns (22-30) 73%|(33-46) 72% (17-30) 57%|(6-12 50%
Off. S&P+/Def. S&P+ 29.6 39.1 65 15 29.8 1.7 72 1

Statistically, Maryland is better than Michigan State and they also beat the Spartans on the field two weeks ago, but entering this week’s matchup it’s hard to imaging the Terrapins giving Michigan much of a fight. It feels like a chance to exhale after a big rivalry win on the road.

Maryland’s offense ranks among the top half of the Big Ten in most categories. The Terps feature the conference’s second best rushing offense behind only Ohio State, averaging 252 rushing yards per game. It’s the one area that ranks higher than Michigan, but only by three yards per game. They’ve eclipsed 200 rushing yards in six of eight games, 300 yards twice, and reached exactly 400 yards against Purdue. Minnesota’s 30th-ranked rush defense held Maryland to a season low 130 rushing yards and no touchdowns on 3.6 yards per carry. However, they bounced back with 247 yards and two touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry against Michigan State. Michigan managed just 192 against the Spartans on 4.6 yards per carry.

The passing game, however, is a much different story. Maryland ranks 11th in the Big Ten and 110th nationally in passing with just 171.8 yards per game. This past Saturday’s win over Indiana yielded their best passing game of the season with 248 yards. They’ve been held below 200 yards passing four times with a season low of 96 yards against Purdue. The offensive line hasn’t given the quarterbacks much time to throw, allowing a Big Ten worst 24 sacks.

Defensively, Maryland’s strengths are flip-flopped. They’re solid against the pass, but have a hard time stopping the run. In fact, the 220.1 rushing yards Maryland allows per game is better than only Purdue and Rutgers in the conference. Indiana gashed the Terps with 414 rushing yards and six touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. Penn State rushed for 372 yards on six yards per carry. Yes, the same Penn State that managed just 70 rushing yards on 28 carries against Michigan. And the only reason Maryland’s rush defense doesn’t allow a higher average is because they got the fortune of facing Purdue’s rush offense that can barely run forward. Maryland held the Boilers to just 10 rushing yards.

Maryland’s pass defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 18th nationally, giving up 181.4 yards per game. Only three of eight opponents have thrown for 200 or more yards on the Terps, lead by UCF’s 260. Indiana passed for 236 on its way to 650 total yards.

Maryland’s special teams are nothing to write home about, especially with their best return man, Will Likely out for the season.

Overall, Maryland is a solid, middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team that shouldn’t pose a threat to Michigan’s conference title hopes. Unless Michigan’s former defensive coordinator, D.J. Durkin — now Maryland’s head coach — can figure out a way to stop the Michigan running game, the Wolverines should cruise to 9-0.

#6 Maryland 86 – Michigan 82: Wolverines come up short of Maryland sweep

Sunday, February 21st, 2016


A loss is always a tough pill to swallow, whether inevitable or unexpected, in blowout fashion or nail-biting.

Today’s 86-82 Michigan loss to Maryland stings just a little more though. Perhaps that’s better than the numbness felt after some of the blowouts handed to the Maize and Blue earlier this year.

Few Wolverine fans were giving the visitors much of a shot at even competing on the Terrapins’ home floor this afternoon – let alone stealing a victory – but Michigan fought valiantly despite missing Caris LeVert once again. A win would have all but guaranteed a berth in the NCAA Tournament while a loss pushes Michigan ever closer to the bubble.

For the better part of the first half, it seemed that another lopsided, lightly contested loss was in order for a Michigan squad that’s been drubbed a bit too often this season. Before 10 minutes had passed after the tip, the Wolverines trailed by double digits and couldn’t get a shot to fall. A couple minutes later and the deficit had ballooned to 16 points on a Robert Carter and-1, completing a 17-1 run for Maryland that brought back nightmares of Indiana’s similarly devastating 25-0 first half blitz not long ago.

Michigan had every reason to fold this afternoon as they did against the Hoosiers. They were close to double digit underdogs and not supposed to be able to battle with the top-10 Terps.

But Derrick Walton didn’t want any of it. After trailing by 16, the junior orchestrated a 17-6 run for the visitors with some unlikely help from Kam Chatman.

Seemingly dead in the water midway through the first half, Michigan clawed back to make it a five-point deficit at the break.

Four Factors
Michigan Maryland
58 eFG% 50
22 OReb% 35
13 TO% 19
25 FTR 19

After halftime, the Wolverines continued to chip away at Maryland’s lead and eventually tied things up at 47 three minutes into the second half. What Walton had started, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Mark Donnal were finishing.

The redshirt sophomore Donnal (officially listed as a junior on Michigan’s roster) started dominating all over the floor, scoring 20 points less than 13 minutes into the second half while true sophomore Abdur-Rahkman sneakily dished out five dimes in the same time period while pouring in a few points of his own.

Still, Maryland would use their offensive firepower to take an eight-point lead just a few minutes after Michigan had tied things up. The Wolverines battled back yet again to take a 75-72 lead (tying their largest lead of the game) with just 5:51 to play, but the Terps finished the fight with a 14-7 finishing spurt to KO Michigan.

It’s not a loss to be disappointed in to be sure, considering Maryland is one of three teams in the country to be ranked in the top 10 for the entire season to date, but it’s a tough one to see slip away – even if it was never fully within Michigan’s grasp.

We saw tenacity from the Wolverines today that’s been all too absent in other losses, and we saw the offense get back on track following a rough shooting stretch over the last few games and in today’s first half. We also saw the reemergence of Donnal, who nearly matched his career high set in the first game of the Big Ten season with 25 points today on 10-of-13 shooting against an excellent Maryland front court. Donnal has now clearly separated himself from a shaky big man rotation after losing his starting job in each of the past two seasons to Ricky Doyle, who has struggled mightily this year, and is finishing bunnies, competing on the boards (two offensive/three defensive rebounds today), and providing some defensive resistance for a team sorely lacking on that end of the court (career high five blocks today). The Ohio native also showed off the three-point shot this afternoon that made him a four-star high school recruit with three straight triples to stretch the defense.

Walton’s 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals were also crucial to keep Michigan afloat, but his five turnovers were costly and his fifth foul late sealed the Wolverines’ fate.

That foul, which came on a push-off while driving to the rim with 18 seconds remaining and Michigan trailing by three, is not one you see called often, especially down the stretch in a close game. It wasn’t the strangest whistle of the afternoon though, unfortunately. That came a few minutes earlier with a one-point Maryland lead when Zak Irvin was chasing after a loose ball side-by-side with a Maryland player around halfcourt and puzzlingly called for a push as he reached to pick up the ball. It felt like a big momentum swing even though no free throws were involved, as did an earlier call on Walton for slapping at the ball – and getting what looked like all ball – against a big man.

Michigan’s bench play also left plenty to be desired. The six Wolverines to get minutes off the bench combined to score six points on 2/8 shooting with one rebound, two assists, a steal, and a turnover in 25 minutes. All those points came from Chatman, as did the rebound, the steal, and the assists.

The starters, meanwhile, all finished in double digits while playing between 29 and 39 minutes.

And the shots started falling, with 13 made threes on 27 attempts. But ultimately, Michigan’s 16 turnovers, 17 fouls (leading to 19 Maryland free throw attempts, of which they made 17), and porous defense were too much to overcome.

The loss certainly stings, and a giant opportunity was lost. I still think there’s reason for some hope and excitement, however, and a win over Northwestern at home on Wednesday would keep the Wolverines in the projected Big Dance field.

Quick Hitters

• Derrick Walton’s five fouls make him the first Wolverine to foul out all season.

• The loss today marks the only game John Beilein has ever lost at Michigan when the Wolverines scored 80 or more points, ending the streak at 50 games.

• Aubrey Dawkins played only four minutes, tying his season low, and did not take a shot for just the third time all season.

Michigan’s Three Stars

***Mark Donnal***
25 points (7-of-9 2pt, 3-of-4 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), five rebounds (two offensive), five blocks, one turnover in 29 minutes

**Derrick Walton Jr**
14 points (2-of-5 2pt, 3-of-7 3pt, 1-of-3 FT), six rebounds (three offensive), five assists, three steals, five turnovers in 37 minutes

*Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman*
16 points (4-of-8 2pt, 2-of-5 3pt, 2-of-3 FT), nine assists, two rebounds, three steals, one turnover in 39 minutes

Season Three-Stars Standings

Derrick Walton Jr – 29
Duncan Robinson – 17
Caris LeVert – 15
Zak Irvin – 15
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 9
Mark Donnal – 8
Aubrey Dawkins – 5
Spike Albrecht – 1
Moritz Wagner – 1
Final Game Stats
34 Mark Donnal* 10-13 3-4 2-2 2 3 5 3 25 0 1 5 0 29
10 Derrick Walton* 5-12 3-7 1-3 3 3 6 5 14 5 5 0 3 37
21 Zak Irvin* 5-12 1-5 0-0 0 2 2 3 11 4 4 0 1 33
22 Duncan Robinson* 4-10 2-4 0-0 3 6 9 2 10 2 3 0 1 37
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 6-13 2-5 2-3 0 2 2 3 16 9 1 0 3 39
03 Kam Chatman 2-5 2-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 6 2 0 0 1 8
05 D.J. Wilson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+
11 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
13 Moritz Wagner 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
32 Ricky Doyle 0-2 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 10
Totals 32-68 13-27 5-8 12 18 30 17 82 22 16 5 9 200
Maryland 31-57 7-16 17-19 9 24 33 12 86 11 18 7 7
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: #6 Maryland

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Michigan at Maryland
Sunday, Feb. 21 | College Park, Md. | 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Line: Maryland -9
76.0 Points/gm 75.7
(724-1,520) 47.6 Field Goal % 48.9 (710-1,452)
(272-685) 39.7 3-pt FG % 35.8 (195-544)
(331-448) 73.9 Free Throw % 75.5 (429-568)
12.3 FT Made/gm 15.9
32.3 Reb/gm 36.3
15.1 Assists/gm 14.0
9.6 Turnovers/gm 13.1
66.3 Points/gm 64.3
(658-1,498) 43.9 Field Goal % 39.6 (635-1,604)
(190-548) 34.7 3-pt FG % 30.6 (171-558)
32.4 Opp. Reb/gm 32.0
5.6 Steals/gm 5.8
2.2 Blocks/gm 5.7
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (16.5), Derrick Walton (12.1) Points/gm Melo Trimble (14.0), Diamond Stone (12.8)
Derick Walton (5.7), Caris LeVert (5.3) Reb/gm Robert Carter (6.9), Diamond Stone (5.4)

Michigan didn’t help its NCAA Tournament case on Tuesday when the Wolverines turned in a lackluster effort in a 10-point loss at rival Ohio State. But what happened the next night may have been a worse development. Maryland, playing without freshman big man Diamond Stone, handed Minnesota its first win since beating Chicago State on Dec. 16. The humiliation in Minneapolis will leave the Terrapins in a foul mood when they host Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

Still, Maryland is 22-5 overall and 10-4 in Big Ten play, but they’re not a game behind Indiana and Iowa for the conference title hunt with just four games remaining. One more slip-up and they’ll have to settle for a second- or third-place finish.

Maryland is led by sophomore guard Melo Trimble (6-foot-3, 185), who averages 14 points and 5.3 assists per game. Michigan limited him to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the Wolverines’ 70-67 win in Ann Arbor on Jan. 12, but he does have seven games of 20-plus point on the season.

Stone (6-foot-11, 255) was suspended for the Minnesota game for a flagrant foul against Wisconsin last weekend. The true freshman is the team’s second-leading scorer (12.8 points per game) and rebounder (5.4 rebounds per game). Michigan had no answer for him the first time around, as he scored 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also made 8-of-9 free throws. He hasn’t scored that many points since, but he is averaging 12.4 points over his last five games.

Junior forward Robert Carter (6-foot-9, 235) leads the team in rebounding (6.9 rebounds per game) and averages 12.5 points per contest. He scored 15 points in the first meeting on 7-of-11 shooting and has a season high of 25 points against Ohio State the following game. But he went just 3-of 12 from the field for eight points in the loss at Minnesota last week.

Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon (6-foot-4, 190) averages 12 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. The senior guard is the team’s best three-point shooter at 46.7 percent, averaging just under two per game. He scored eight in the first matchup on 2-of-6 three-point shooting, but has been hot in February, averaging 18.6 points over his last five games on 9-of-21 three-point shooting.

The fifth player averaging double figures is senior forward Jake Layman (6-foot-9, 220), who averages 10.3 points per game. He scored 18 in the first meeting on 7-of-10 shooting, but has scored in double figures just five of the 10 games since. He’s a capable three-point shooter (35 percent), but has made just eight of his last 29 attempts (27.6 percent).

Beyond those five, there’s a big drop-off in production for the Terps. Sophomore wing Jared Nickens (6-foot-7, 205) averages five points and junior forward Damonte Dodd (6-foot-11, 250) averages 3.3. No other player averages double-digit minutes per game. In the loss to Minnesota, the Terps got just two points off the bench, by sophomore forward Michael Cekovsky (7-foot-1, 250). In the first meeting, Stone — who came off the bench — provided the team’s only bench scoring.

Maryland has the Big Ten’s third-best scoring defense, allowing 64.3 points per game. They are the fourth-best shooting percentage defense (39.6 percent) and three-point defense (30.6 percent) and lead the conference in blocked shots (5.7 per game).

Michigan survived the first meeting, but has struggled against good defensive teams since then, losing to Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, and Ohio State by an average of 12.5 points. Maryland needs this win to stay in the Big Ten title race and Michigan needs to pick up a fourth quality win to feel good about its NCAA Tournament chances. Expect Michigan to put up more of a fight than it did in Columbus on Tuesday, but come up short on the road once again.

Michigan 70 – #3 Maryland 67

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Walton vs Maryland(

With seven minutes and 33 seconds left on the clock last night, Michigan came face-to-face with its season. The Wolverines could see the opportunity right in front of them, they could taste it in the beads of sweat running down their faces, they could feel it in their thumping hearts and hear it in the deafening roars of the crowd.

With 7:33 left against No.3 ranked Maryland, Michigan was tied up at 54 on their home floor. They had let the Terrapins chip away at a 13-point second half lead, but the victory could still be wrested from the hands of their foes.

They almost let it slip away. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman would re-take the lead 33 seconds later before Maryland’s freshman sensation Diamond Stone muscled his way to an and-1 – and Maryland’s first lead of the second half – on the other side of the floor.

Down their star senior, Caris LeVert, and struggling to keep their legs under them after a comfortable cushion was so quickly removed, the Wolverines had every reason to give up.

Instead, juniors Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton embraced their squad’s “Next Man Up” mantra, put the team on their shoulders, and led the Maize and Blue to a nerve-racking, season-defining 70-67 win.

When the going got rough, Irvin and Walton stepped up like John Beilein hadn’t seen before to ensure that this game would not fall through the cracks and be another “so close” in the loss column.

A few minutes after Stone’s three-point play, Walton swished a gutsy step-back triple from the right wing to give his team a five point edge, then Irvin took matters into his own hands on the following possession with a no-no-no-YES triple off the bounce from the top of the key to bring the lead to eight. Rasheed Sulaimon quickly nailed a three for Maryland before Walton hit another difficult jumper – this time a two – to go up seven with 2:11 to play.

Another three from Sulaimon would start the serious jitters in the crowd at Crisler, and a missed front-end of a one-and-one from Irvin felt like pandemonium waiting to break out.

Four Factors
Michigan Maryland
58 eFG% 50
22 OReb% 35
13 TO% 19
25 FTR 19

Mark Donnal wouldn’t allow it. After getting called for a questionable shooting foul on Stone, who hit two free throws to make it a two-point game, Donnal secured a crucial offensive rebound off a missed layup from Walton with fewer than 20 seconds to play. Walton corrected his mistake by calling a heads-up timeout to secure an inbounds play, which went to Donnal, who immediately was sent to the line for a one-and-one opportunity of his own. For all those free throws stood for, Donnal remained calm.

“Basically I just gotta focus on making it. You shoot free throws every day in practice and I basically just shut everything out.”

He hit the all-important first free throw and missed the second, but was able to play good enough defense on Sulaimon in the closing seconds off a defensive switch that the Duke transfer couldn’t hit a tying three.

Michigan held on and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Irvin, who finished with a game-high 22 points on 14 shots and made three of his seven triples, was the star of the night, while Walton’s 12 points all seemed to come at the perfect time despite a poor shooting night inside. Duncan Robinson chipped in with what’s becoming a routine game of five triples to help him pour in 17.

Without LeVert, taking down Maryland seemed like a very tall task. But the defense and distance shooting were just good enough to slay the giant.

That defense, which struggled against an array of bigs from Mark Turgeon’s team, limited star Maryland point guard Melo Trimble to two points on seven shots and forced four turnovers from the First Team All-Big Ten lead man. Perhaps more impressive, however, was the Wolverines’ ability to keep Trimble off the free throw line, where he does plenty of damage. It was just the fifth time in his career that the sophomore did not get a single freebie attempt. Equally impressive was Michigan’s defense on Sulaimon, who needed 10 shots to reach eight points despite being one of the best shooters in the country.

Irvin in particular came up huge offensively with an array of mid-range jumpers, threes, and a few assists as well, prompting Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to call him “unguardable”, and helping him continue to forget about his shooting struggles in the non-conference season.

Asked about where his confidence stands now, Irvin admitted, “I had a little rough patch at the beginning of the season, but I definitely think it’s coming back, especially beating Maryland tonight was huge for us,” as he cracked a smile.

It’s hard to understate the importance of just how huge it indeed was. The Wolverines had a handful of decent wins before turning the calendar to the New Year, but none was of the hat-hanger variety.

Now, they have one locked up in their back pockets.

Another opportunity is right around the corner with a difficult road trip to Iowa City coming this weekend. For now, though, the Wolverines can take a breath and smile. The season has begun.

Quick Hitters

• I thought this was the best Michigan has played as a team in any real game this season. Without LeVert, multiple players needed to step up – and they did just that. In addition to the three stars, I thought that Rahk played within his game despite only posting five points, Donnal had another solid, if unspectacular, performance, and Aubrey Dawkins played spot minutes and got a couple momentous buckets in 12 minutes of action.

Rahk was also tremendous on defense, and his four assists tied a career high. On one fast break, he did an excellent job of cutting to the middle of the floor as soon as he saw Duncan Robinson wide open on the wing, which served to give him a better passing angle that he used perfectly to record a beautiful dime. In a similar fast-break opportunity, Derrick Walton could have found a slasher or Robinson open on the wing and instead bumbled his way right into the defense to give the Terps a fast break the other way.

Additionally, Donnal kept up his solid play. He’s clearly the best option at the five on both ends of the floor right now, and he’s finishing inside better than he ever has before. I was surprised to see him miss two open threes (that was really his forte in high school), but his effort on the glass was spectacular against a ferocious frontline. At the end of the first half, he had a sequence in which he blocked two sure-thing Maryland layups that erased four points and then got his fingers on a tip-in at the buzzer to give Michigan an eight-point lead at the break.

• Against Maryland’s tall and big front line, Beilein said he inserted three different double-down packages into the game plan to help Irvin, Robinson, and Donnal deal with their matchups, but the Wolverines got confused as to who to double-down on at different times, so they eventually scrapped the plan and went all man-to-man down low.

Michigan’s Three Stars

***Zak Irvin***
22 points (5-of-7 2pt, 3-of-7 3pt, 3-of-6 FT), three assists, two rebounds, two steals, one turnover in 37 minutes

**Derrick Walton Jr.**
12 points (1-of-6 2pt, 3-of-7 3pt, 1-of-2 FT), 10 rebounds (one offensive), four assists, one steal, two turnovers in 38 minutes

*Duncan Robinson*
17 points (1-of-1 2pt, 5-of-9 3pt), one rebound, one assist, one steal, one turnover in 35 minutes

Season Three-Stars Standings

Caris LeVert – 15
Duncan Robinson – 13
Derrick Walton – 10
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 3
Zak Irvin – 3
Aubrey Dawkins – 2
Spike Albrecht – 1
Moritz Wagner – 1
Final Game Stats
34 Mark Donnal* 3-7 0-3 2-3 3 6 9 4 8 0 0 2 2 33
10 Derrick Walton* 4-13 3-7 1-2 1 9 10 1 12 4 2 0 1 38
21 Zak Irvin* 8-14 3-7 3-6 0 2 2 1 22 3 1 0 2 37
22 Duncan Robinson* 6-10 5-9 0-0 0 1 1 3 17 1 1 0 1 35
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 2-3 1-1 0-0 1 2 3 1 5 4 1 0 0 34
03 Kam Chatman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
05 D.J. Wilson 0-2 0-2 2-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 2 0 5
11 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
24 Aubrey Dawkins 2-4 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 1 12
32 Ricky Doyle 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Totals 25-53 12-29 8-13 7 20 27 12 70 12 8 4 7 200
Maryland 26-58 6-24 9-11 11 25 36 16 67 8 12 2 3 200
Full Stats
Beilein Tie Watch
Beilein vs Maryland

(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

Michigan hoops preview: Maryland

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Michigan vs #3 Maryland
Tuesday, Jan. 12 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 9 p.m. EST | ESPN
78.7 Points/gm 78.4
(457-913) 50.1 Field Goal % 50.9 (441-866)
(174-408) 42.6 3-pt FG % 38.6 (129-334)
(171-237) 72.2 Free Throw % 75.8 (244-322)
10.7 FT Made/gm 15.3
33.1 Reb/gm 35.9
16.5 Assists/gm 14.8
9.9 Turnovers/gm 13.3
62.6 Points/gm 63.6
(360-873) 41.2 Field Goal % 40.9 (380-930)
(111-314) 35.4 3-pt FG % 31.0 (99-319)
31.6 Opp. Reb/gm 29.4
6.1 Steals/gm 6.1
2.4 Blocks/gm 5.3
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (17.6), Duncan Robinson (11.8) Points/gm Melo Trimble (14.8), Diamond Stone (13.1)
Caris LeVert (5.4), Derrick Walton (5.2) Reb/gm Robert Carter (6.9), Diamond Stone (5.4)

Coming off its first conference loss of the season, Michigan returns home for a date with the best team in the Big Ten Tuesday night. Since a close road loss to North Carolina on Dec. 1, Maryland has won nine straight games heading into its first trip to the Crisler Center.

Last season, Michigan lost its only matchup with the Terrapins, a 66-56 final in College Park. Now the Wolverines face an even greater test as the No. 3 team in America comes to town.

Here are three thoughts on Tuesday night’s matchup.

1. Efficiency is the key

Basketball fans who tune into the Michigan-Maryland game are sure to see plenty of made baskets. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the country in shooting percentage, Michigan shooting 50.1 percent and Maryland shooting 50.9 percent.

Fortunately for Maryland, the Terps’ shooting is better distributed throughout their roster. Each of Maryland’s top five scorers shoots over 48 percent and averages more than 10 points per game. Michigan will need a great shooting night from Duncan Robinson, who makes 55.7 percent of his three-point shots, to combat Maryland’s depth.

Diamond Stone and Robert Carter will prove especially troublesome for Michigan, which has yet to establish an inside presence this season. Stone and Carter combine to average about 25 points and 12 rebounds per game. If Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal can’t somehow rise to the occasion, John Beilein’s defense will be in big trouble.

2. No Caris, no problem…for Maryland

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Caris LeVert’s absence is a crippling blow to Michigan on both ends of the court. The senior leader averages 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, all tops on the Wolverine roster.

Even if Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin accept greater offensive roles, they can’t fill the void left by LeVert’s injury.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman is playing his best basketball to lessen that blow. He scored 39 points in two road games without LeVert, shooting over 65 percent from the floor and committing zero turnovers. MAAR looked like the odd man out of the rotation early in the season, but LeVert’s injury seems to have given him new life. He’ll be a major X-factor, especially on defense, against Maryland’s electric backcourt.

If Michigan knocks off a loaded Maryland team without its best player, it’ll be one of Beilein’s most impressive single-game coaching jobs at Michigan.

3. The clock is ticking

The Big Ten season just started, and Michigan is on a much better track than last season, but it’s nearing danger time for a team without a single eye-catching win on its resume.

Michigan’s back-to-back wins over Texas and N.C. State added some substance to its resume heading toward the new year, but now those wins look far less impressive. Texas lost three of its last four games and sits at just 9-6 on the season. Meanwhile, N.C. State is dead last in the ACC after losing three straight games and falling to 10-6.

The Wolverines don’t have any bad losses, but they haven’t been remotely competitive against tournament competition. In four games against would-be tournament teams (assuming SMU would make the field if it was eligible), Michigan has lost by a total of 71 points. Three of those games were over before the halfway point of the 2nd half.

Tuesday night offers another chance to earn a statement win for Michigan. Maryland is coming off an emotional buzzer-beating win, Michigan is coming off a blowout loss and it’s a Tuesday night game in Ann Arbor. If there was ever a time to pull an upset, tonight is the night for the Wolverines.

If it falls short once again, Michigan will fall to 0-5 in its five toughest games and miss another opportunity to boost its resume. Sunday’s road game in Iowa City pins even more importance on tonight’s game, as Michigan doesn’t want to flirt with a three-game losing streak that would largely sink any distant thoughts about conference contention.

Tuesday’s circumstances suggest to a possible upset for Michigan, but without LeVert, and without any evidence that the Wolverines can hang with elite teams, I expect it to be Maryland’s night.

Michigan 28 – Maryland 0: Defense dominates Terrapins

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Michigan D vs Maryland(

The threat of Hurricane Joaquin moving up the Atlantic coast moved kickoff up eight hours, and perhaps Michigan’s offense didn’t get the memo for the first 30 minutes. But the defense did its part and when the offense woke up Michigan polished off its second straight shut out with a 28-0 win over Maryland on Saturday afternoon.

Maryland looked like it was going to be able to move the ball to start the game, picking up first downs on an 11-yard pass, a 10-yard pass, and an 18-yard run into Michigan territory. The drive stalled at the 47, but Michigan’s offense was unable to get anything going on its first possession.

The teams traded turnovers four of the next five possessions as Jeremy Clark and Desmond Morgan both intercepted Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe and Jake Rudock and Ty Isaac each coughed up fumbles. On Michigan’s first possession of the second quarter, which started with the Morgan interception, the Wolverines advanced to the Maryland 24, but an intentional grounding penalty killed the drive and Kenny Allen missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Final Stats
Michigan Maryland
Score 28 0
Record 4-1 (1-0) 2-3 (0-1)
Total Yards 378 105
Net Rushing Yards 198 29
Net Passing Yards 180 76
First Downs 14 7
Turnovers 3 3
Penalties-Yards 7-65 5-66
Punts-Yards 6-242 13-473
Time of Possession 34:19 25:41
Third Down Conversions 5-of-17 1-of-18
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-2 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-20 2-11
Field Goals 2-for-3 0-for-0
PATs 2-for-2 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 0-of-0
Full Box Score

After a Maryland three-and-out, Michigan finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a Jabrill Peppers 29-yard punt return that set the Wolverines up at the Maryland 39. Michigan got as far as the 10 but had to settle for a 30-yard Allen field goal. Allen tacked on another, from 32 yards out, at the end of the quarter to put Michigan ahead 6-0 at the half.

The second half started similar to the first with neither team able to move the ball. Rudock was intercepted by defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson at the Michigan 44 on Michigan’s first possession. But the Wolverine defense forced a three and out. Two possessions later, Michigan finally got its first touchdown of the game when Drake Johnson took a screen pass 31 yards and dove for the pylon. Rudock connected with Khalid Hill for a two-point conversion to put Michigan ahead 14-0.

After forcing another Maryland punt, Michigan wasted no time finding the end zone again. Jehu Chesson took an end-around and raced 66 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown.

Michigan added a final score midway through the fourth. Maryland punted from its own five, but was called for kick catch interference as Peppers caught the punt, which gave Michigan the ball at the Maryland 24. Johnson carried the ball for runs of two and 20 yards, and after a Sione Houma one-yard run, Johnson polished it off with his second touchdown of the game to reach the final score of 28-0.

Despite three turnovers, Michigan’s offense racked up 378 total yards of offense, 198 on the ground. Rudock completed 16 of 32 passes for 180 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Johnson led all rushers with 68 yards on 13 carries (5.2 yards per carry), while Jake Butt led all receivers with 61 yards on 4 receptions.

Michigan’s defense held Maryland to just 105 total yards — the same total BYU reached a week ago. Maryland gained just 35 yards on 46 plays (0.76 yards per play) after its first two possessions of the game. Rowe completed just 8 of 27 passes for 47 yards and three interceptions. Brandon Ross rushed 14 times for 44 yards as Maryland was held to just 1.1 yards per carry.

Morgan led the Michigan defense with nine tackles in addition to his interception. Matt Godin recorded 1.5 sacks, while Maurice Hurst and Willie Henry added one apiece and Mario Ojemudia notched a half a sack. Unfortunately, Ojemudia left the game in the second half with an Achilles injury that may end his season.

The shutout marked the first time Michigan has recorded back-to-back shutouts since the 2000 season.

Michigan improved to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play and will host Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) for Homecoming next Saturday. The Wildcats are currently ranked 16th, but may move up in the rankings after topping Minnesota 27-0.

Game Ball – Offense 

Drake Johnson (13 carries for 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec for 31 yards, 1 TD)
Johnson emerged in the second half of last season as Michigan’s top running back and had a spectacular game against Ohio State before tearing his ACL for the second time. As this season began, he was buried on the depth chart and didn’t play in the opener at Utah while still recovering from the injury. But he has slowly been working back over the last four weeks, and when De’Veon Smith was ruled out of this one with an ankle injury and Ty Isaac struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half, Johnson was called upon to carry the load. He showed the talent and vision of last season, taking a screen 31 yards for a score, reeling off a 20-yard run, and scoring a rushing touchdown.

Week 1 – Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)
Week 2 – De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
Week 3 – Ty Isaac (8 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards and 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Desmond Morgan (9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU)
Like Johnson, Morgan suffered a major injury last season, but it caused him to miss the entire year. The good news is that it gave him a fifth season to be a part of this team and he hasn’t disappointed. Today, he had his best game of the young season, leading all defenders with nine tackles, picking off a pass, and breaking up two passes. He was all over the field and played a major part in holding a second straight opponent to just 105 total yards.

Week 1 – Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 TFL)
Week 2 – Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 3 – Jourdan Lewis (3 tackles, 4 PBU)
Week 4 — Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 16-32 180 5.6 1 1 44 2
Caleb Rowe 8-27 47 1.7 0 3 13 3
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
Drake Johnson 13 68 5.2 1 20
Jehu Chesson 1 66 66.0 1 66
Brandon Ross 14 44 3.1 0 18
Derrick Green 7 26 3.7 0 9
Jake Rudock 4 19 4.8 0 20
Ty Isaac 6 17 2.8 0 7
Sione Houma 2 12 6.0 0 11
Wes Brown 5 8 1.6 0 4
Amara Darboh 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2
Ross Taylor-Douglass 3 -3 -1.0 0 1
Caleb Rowe 1 -8 -8.0 0 -8
Daxx Garman 6 -15 -2.5 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Jake Butt 4 61 15.2 0 44
Jehu Chesson 4 41
10.2 0 16
Drake Johnson 1 31 31.0 1 31
Amara Darboh 3 27 9.0 0 15
Wes Brown 2 26 13.0 0 22
Levern Jacobs 3 20 6.7 0 11
D.J. Moore 2 17 8.5 0 10
Sione Houma 2 14 7.0 0 9
Kenneth Goins Jr. 1 13 13.0 0 13
Drake Harris 1 6 6.0 0 6
Taivon Jacobs 1 1 1.0 0 1
Freddy Canteen 1 0 0.0 0 0
Brandon Ross 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 2/3 66.7 32 2/2 8
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 6 242 40.3 0 2 59
Nate Pritchard 10 360 36.0 0 1 46
Brad Craddock 3 113 37.7 0 1 52
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 1 21 21.0 21 0
William Likely 4 91 22.8 31 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 3 38 12.7 29 0
William Likely 3 23 7.7 12 0