The University of Maryland Terrapins football team squeaked their way into the AP Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 16, 2008, earlier this week. After going only 4-8 in 2012 under third-year head coach Randy Edsall, the Terps have already managed to match that total in 2013.
Maryland has really stepped up their game on both sides of the football this season. The Terps have a healthy starting quarterback this season in sixth-year senior C.J. Brown. Last year, the Terps could not keep a quarterback healthy and had to resort to a true freshman linebacker. Brown has made a tremendous difference running Edsall’s offense.
Maryland is averaging 39.8 points a game. Brown is the fourth leading passer in the ACC completing 66 percent of his passes, which average 10.5 yards a completion with slinging seven touchdowns and only one interception. Brown is the second leading rusher on the team with 283 yards and six touchdowns. Brown is also the eighth leading rusher in the ACC, the only quarterback in the top 10 rushers in the conference.
Brown is not doing it all by himself, though. Sophomore wideout Stefon Diggs is also helping out the Terps’ offense. The speedy Diggs has snagged just 18 passes but for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs averages 22.2 yards per catch and is the fifth-leading receiver in the ACC. Diggs helps take some of the pressure off of Brown by being a reliable deep threat and consistent on shallow cross patterns that are easy to complete and let him run after the catch.
The Terps defense has been solid as of late, too. Maryland is third in the NCAA in points allowed giving up only 10.3 points per game. They posted a shutout last week against the University of West Virginia. Senior outside linebacker Marcus Whitfield has helped keep opposing teams out of the end zone. Whitfield, a Northwest High School graduate, is third in the ACC with 5.5 sacks.
It looks like the Terps are on the rise in 2013. Some critics may say that they have not played any quality opponents with wins over Florida International, UConn and Old Dominion. The Terps will have their chance to silence the critics come Saturday afternoon in their first ACC match-up, when they travel down to Doak Campbell Stadium to take on the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles.