Film Review: Maryland Struggles on Both Ends Against No. 15 Michigan

By: Eddie Hobbs

Maryland traveled to the Big House over the weekend and were routed by a tough Michigan team 42-21. The Terps struggled to get anything going on offense, gaining just 11 first downs compared to 24 first downs from Michigan.

Maryland looked like they would put up a tough fight after a Ty Johnson 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown followed by a Darnell Savage interception in the first quarter. Both plays offered Maryland opportunities to jump on Michigan early in the game, yet the Terps offense sputtered, and weren’t able to stay on the field to give the defense time to recover.

Maryland’s defense did all it could, but only held up for so long until Michigan’s signal caller Shea Patterson turned it on after the first quarter.

In this week’s film review, I will show some missteps from both sides of the ball for the Terps, while also highlighting a few bright spots.

Patterson 12-yard completion on third down

Early in the first quarter, Maryland’s defense did a nice job of forcing Michigan into a third-and-long situation. The Wolverines brought Grant Perry in motion and lined up behind Zach Gentry. The play call here is great and forces Savage to cheat to the outside, resulting in an open lane in the middle of the field.

After the play, Savage was visibly upset with RaVon Davis, so it is unclear if the two had a miscommunication about who the other was supposed to be covering. Regardless, the play moved the chains for Michigan.

Maryland’s fourth-and-1 stop

Later in Michigan’s second drive on a third-and-6, Maryland stopped Sean McKeon short of the first down marker. The Wolverines then decided to go for it on a fourth-and-1 on the Terps’ 24-yard line.

Patterson handed the ball off to his fullback Ben Mason, who was stuffed at the line. Michigan’s left side of the offensive line moved the pile to create a hole, but Tre Watson quickly read the play and stopped Mason for no gain, giving Maryland’s offense an opportunity to seize momentum.

Hill third-down incompletion

Third downs have been a thorn in Maryland’s side all season on the offensive side of the ball and that continued in Saturday’s contest against Michigan. On this play, Maryland was in a third-and-long situation. Michigan sent in an extra pass rusher as the ball was snapped, but Maryland’s offensive line—and Anthony McFarland—withstood the pressure from Michigan.

Hill moved through his progression, as he went from Jahrvis Davenport on the left side of the field, back to a streaking Taivon Jacobs. Michigan’s Jaylen Kelly-Powell was beaten right off the jump by Jacobs, and if thrown in stride could have resulted in a huge chunk on third down. Instead, Hill’s pass sailed out of bounds and gave the ball right back to Michigan.

Savage Interception

Defensive lineman Keiron Howard gets his hands on Michigan’s left guard Ben Bredeson to get into the backfield and force Patterson out of the pocket. Patterson needs to decide on where he wants to go with the ball, and chooses to throw into a tight window to Gentry.

Gentry was blanketed by Antonie Brooks Jr. who deflected the ball and left Savage with a perfect opportunity to catch the ball in bounds. With the Savage interception, Maryland had momentum after Johnson’s 98-yard kick return.

Patterson 51-yard completion

Up to this point, Maryland’s defense had a bend but don’t break mentality. Michigan’s offense had run 21 plays and racked up 132 yards after the first quarter, but scored just three points to show for it. Something had to give eventually, and on a second-and-7, Michigan ran a play-action pass. Patterson had a seven-step drop back and had all day in the pocket because Maryland only rushed three players, with Jesse Aniebonam used to spy on the quarterback.

Patterson was patient in the pocket and launched a ball down field to Nico Collins who hauled in the 51-yard pass, giving Michigan great field position on a drive that eventually ended in a touchdown.

Patterson 22-yard touchdown completion

Michigan was moving up the field with ease, moving the chains on third down four times on its 12-play, 64-yard drive. On this play in particular, the play design called for Patterson to move out of the pocket after a faking a handoff.

Patterson scanned the field and found Ronnie Bell for the 22-yard touchdown pass. Savage and Rayshad Lewis collided as Bell caught the pass and dove into the end zone. This play was a difficult one for Savage and it’s hard to say what more he could have done. It was a dangerous throw from Patterson that ended up working out. However, Savage could have been more aggressive towards the ball to either get another interception or break up the pass, but he would have run the risk of a penalty.

Patterson 34-yard touchdown completion

Maryland’s offense failed yet again to do much on the first two drives of the second half. Both were three-and-outs and on the Terps second drive Johnson fumbled the ball on a kickoff and had the awareness to at least bring it out of the end zone, but just to the two-yard line.

On this play, Maryland got into the backfield thanks to a blitz by Isaiah Davis. It was one of 11 blitzes that the Terps deployed against the Michigan offense. The Michigan play-caller eluded Maryland’s pressure all game and finished 8-of-9 for 102 yards and one touchdown when blitzed against according to 247Sports.

Patterson got out on the run and found a wide-open Donovan Peoples-Jones, who was escorted into the end zone by a pack of Michigan receivers. The Maryland defenders were unable to shed blockers and paid dearly for it.

Kasim Hill Pick-Six

With the game out of hand by this point, Maryland had no choice but to throw the ball. The Terps started this drive with Pigrome and after an incomplete pass on second-and-4, interim head coach Matt Canada decided to throw Hill into the game on a third-and-short situation.

Michigan welcomed Hill back into the game with a huge blitz package, and Hill awkwardly got off a throw to Jacobs. The Wolverines forced Hill to throw off his back foot and it was a pass he should have thrown away. Brandon Watson undercut Jacobs by the time Hill got the pass off and was out to the races for the pick-six.