COLLEGE PARK – The No. 21-ranked Michigan Wolverines scored 28 unanswered points in the opening half, providing a big enough cushion to defeat the Maryland Terrapins, 38-10, in front of 44,325 at Capital One Field on Nov. 11. For Maryland (4-5), the result is their fifth loss out of their last six games.
Redshirt sophomore walk-on Ryan Brand started as quarterback for Maryland, becoming the team’s fourth starter this season. Sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who started the past six games, was removed after an injury during Maryland’s 31-24 loss at Rutgers on Nov. 4 and was still listed as a game-time decision before kickoff.
Listed at 5-foot-11, 182 pounds, the Detroit, Mich. native struggled early against the second-best defense in the nation, going 7-for-19 for 24 passing yards and throwing an interception in the first half. Maryland only entered Michigan territory once and missed a field goal, staying shutout into halftime.
“There were some drives that we could of and should have finished,” Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin said. “And when you turn over the ball, it’s hard to win those games and we did do that at times and we have to score more points.”
Meanwhile, Michigan (8-2) methodically moved down the field, scoring in four of their first six drives of the game. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh commended the Wolverines played, calling it the team’s “our best ball game—in all three phases.”
Fullback Henry Poggi and Chris Evans scored the Wolverines’ opening two touchdowns, setting the tone while quarterback Brandon Peters focused on trying to keep drives alive with his passing and changing plays at the line of scrimmage. Michigan finished with 212 yards of total offense before halftime.
“The last two weeks, we still had an emphasis to throw the ball,” Peters said. “Last week [vs. Minnesota] obviously we didn’t need to throw the ball that much, our run game was really rolling. This week, they stopped our run a little be early so we opened up the pass game.”
Maryland attempted to use gimmick plays to help the offense while keeping the visitors on guard. Wide receiver D.J. Moore and running back each had a completed pass while Jack Funk attempted a trick fake punt pass play. However, the plays ended up backfiring on Maryland as they did not create improved scoring opportunities.
Maryland’s special teams, normally a constant source of good contributions, made matters worse. The failed fake punt attempt set up a 33-yard touchdown pass from Peters to tight-end Zach Gentry. On Maryland’s following drive, Maryland Wade Lees’ punt was blocked and recovered by Michigan inside the 20-yard line.
Three plays later, Peters rolled to his right to find tight-end Sean McKeon wide open in the end zone for Michigan’s fourth touchdown. Once the extra point was converted, the few Maryland fans still sitting the student section started heading to the exits.
"Let's call it like it is: No disrespect to [Brand], but we started our fifth-string quarterback today against one of the best defenses in the country," Durkin said. "There was a little tentativeness like, 'Can we really do this? Is this actually going to work?'"
Once the third quarter began, Maryland fought back. Both Harrison and Ty Johnson began finding holes in the Michigan defense, combining for 148 of the team’s 180 rushing yards. The defense forced Michigan to punt on all three of their possessions in the third quarter. Lastly, Brand found former Suitland High School star Taivon Jacobs for the 10-yard touchdown, reducing Michigan’s lead down to 18.
However, the mini-comeback quickly evaporated as Evans muscled his way through the middle of the Maryland defense to score a 17-yard touchdown run. Brand threw his second interception with less than four minutes remaining, confirming Michigan’s win.
“I think we fought hard all throughout the game,” Brand said. “Obviously, I want some plays back and we want some plays back but as an overall outing, the offensive line did a hell of a job, the skill guys did a did a great job. Too bad we couldn’t take home the win and score more points.”
Looking ahead, the Terrapins must win their remaining two games, including their regular season home finale against rivals Penn State on Nov. 25, to remain eligible to play a bowl game this postseason. Durkin did not talk about the prospects of playing a bowl game, instead reiterating that Maryland need to find itself as a team first before it thinks of moving forward.
“[We] just got to get back to basics,” Jacobs said. “Going to practice on Monday and just game-planning to play better. Coming out early next game and executing better.”
Team 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter Final
Maryland 0 0 3 7 10
Michigan 7 21 0 7 35