Could it be Maryland has finally turned a corner?
After years of languishing in the B1G as a bottom-feeding “Market Add”, the Terps got to a Bowl game last season and destroyed Virginia 54-10. Going 7-6 does not scream “powerhouse” but it’s a level of competence that Maryland has not shown since Randy Edsall took them to a bowl game in 2014 (also their first season n the Big Ten)
Since then they’ve done what bad Big Ten teams do. East three to four cupcakes in the out of conference portion of the season and pray you end up with Indiana and Rutgers on your schedule.
And indeed that’s soft of what they did last year, but they looked a bit better doing it than in years previous. Yes they got blasted whenever they played a top 10 team but against Minnesota and Penn State they looked somewhat solid for good portions of the game.
Mike Locksley may just be building something there.
Of course, to keep up the momentum they are going to need to beat Buffalo to start the season.
UB’s front seven is going to have their hands full. Among Maryland’s eight returning offensive starters are all five of their offensive linemen. Getting to Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa is going to prove difficult and last season he threw for 26 touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards.
Tagovailoa’s favorite target, Rakim Jarrett, is also back. The Maryland receiving corps as a whole has a good chunk of depth to it.
The Terps also welcome back seven defensive starters, but they have a new coordinator. After Maryland failed to lure Kevin Steele to the position they settled on promoting Brian Williams to take over.
The defense really struggled for Maryland last year, it was one of the worst in the Big10 and they lost more than half their starters, including some real muscle upfront.
While the Bulls defense faces a pretty experience unit the offense may have some room to maneuver if Buffalo offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery can get the pieces together in time for the season to start.
While this would be a huge win for Buffalo it’s hard to see it happening for the Bulls. The team has so many new pieces and to through that unit at a Big Ten school without so much as a tune up game is a huge ask.