Penn State upsets Michigan, Illinois continues strong play: Big Ten Week in Review (2/12-2/17)

This week in Big Ten basketball, Penn State finally pieced it altogether and pulled off a major upset at home over Michigan, and Illinois has now won five of their last six, including wins over two ranked opponents. Joe Wisekamp also hit a huge buzzer-beater to lift Iowa over Rutgers. Let’s get into the games!

Game Scores & Mini-recaps:

6 Michigan vs. Penn State: Penn State 75, Michigan 69

Penn State built a 13 point halftime lead and fought off a late rally in an upset win over Michigan. Michigan shot 5 percent better than Penn State from the field, but Penn State drew 21 total fouls. Lamar Stevens led Penn State with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Charles Matthews had 24 for the Wolverines.

11 Michigan State vs. 20 Wisconsin: Michigan State 67, Wisconsin 59

Michigan State shot 41 percent from three and picked up another solid conference win over Wisconsin. Cassius Winston had 23 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kenny Goins and Nick Ward were also in double-figures, and Ethan Happ led Wisconsin with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

12 Purdue vs. 24 Maryland: Maryland 70, Purdue 56

Maryland held the number 12 team in the nation to just 56 points as they picked up another big win. Purdue got 24 points from Carsen Edwards in the loss, but shot a poor 8-of-27. Five Terrapins were in double figures, including Bruno Fernando who had a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double.

Rutgers vs. Northwestern: Rutgers 59, Northwestern 56

Geo Baker and Montez Mathis each had 12 points to lead Rutgers to a home win over Northwestern. Eugene Omoruyi added 11 points and seven rebounds. Vic Law had 17 points, and A.J. Turner had 11 points for Northwestern.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 62, Minnesota 61

James Palmer Jr. hit two free-throws with a second left as Nebraska survived at home against Minnesota. Palmer Jr. had 24 points on the night, and Glynn Watson Jr. had 19 points. Jordan Murphy led Minnesota with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Daniel Oturu had 16.

Illinois vs. Ohio State: Illinois 63, Ohio State 56

Ohio State was held to just 36 percent shooting at home as Illinois came into town to stun the Buckeyes and continue their strong play. Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu each had 15 points, and Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 13 points and seven rebounds. C.J. Jackson had 17 points for Ohio State, and the Wessons combined for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

24 Maryland vs. 6 Michigan: Michigan 65, Maryland 52

Despite Cassius Winston being out, Michigan still played well and got a win over a ranked Maryland team at home. Ignas Brazdeikas, Charles Matthews, and Zavier Simpson all were in double-figures for the Wolverines. Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 15 points and six boards off of the bench.

Penn State vs. 12 Purdue: Purdue 76, Penn State 64

Purdue bounced back from their poor shooting night last game to shoot 52 percent and get a win over Penn State. Carsen Edwards had 21 points to pace Purdue, and Matt Haarms had 18 points and six rebounds. Lamar Stevens had 18 points and Rasir Bolton had 17 points for the Nittany Lions.

21 Iowa vs. Rutgers: Iowa 71, Rutgers 69

Joe Wisekamp hit an improbable baseline three-pointer off of the glass at the buzzer as Iowa stunned Rutgers in New Jersey. Jordan Bohannon led Iowa with 18 points and five assists, Isaiah Moss had 17, and Tyler Cook had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ron Harper Jr. had 16 for Rutgers, and Eugene Omoruyi had 10 points and 11 boards.

Indiana vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 84, Indiana 63

Jordan Murphy had a huge 23 point, 11 rebound double-double as Minnesota blew out Indiana at home. Gabe Kalscheur also had 20 points, While Aaron Coffey had 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Juwan Morgan led Indiana with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Northwestern vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 59, Northwestern 50

Isaiah Roby had 19 points and 16 rebounds, along with five blocks to pace Nebraska in a win over Nebraska. James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. were also in double figures for the winners. Vic Law had 15 points and Derek Pardon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Ohio State vs. 11 Michigan State: Michigan State 62, Ohio State 54

Ohio State was held to just 32 percent shooting on the road as they were blown out by Michigan State. Matt McQuaid had 14 points, and Cassius Winston had 13 points and eight assists for the Spartans. Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Standings & Rankings:

7 Michigan, 23-3 (12-3)

10 Michigan State, 21-5 (12-3)

15 Purdue, 18-7 (11-3)

24 Maryland, 19-7 (10-5)

21 Iowa, 20-5 (9-5)

22 Wisconsin, 17-8 (9-5)

Minnesota, 17-9 (7-8)

Ohio State, 16-9 (6-8)

Illinois, 10-15 (6-8)

Nebraska, 15-11 (5-10)

Rutgers, 12-13 (5-10)

Indiana, 13-12 (4-10)

Northwestern, 12-13 (3-11)

Penn State, 9-16 (2-12)

 

 

 

 

Illinois upsets Michigan State: Big Ten week in review (2/4-2/10)

Illinois pulled off a crazy upset over Michigan St. this week, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a crazy buzzer-beater in a win over Northwestern to lead the story-lines of the week. Let’s get into the games!

Scores & Mini-recaps

Penn State vs. Northwestern: Penn State 59, Northwestern 52

Penn State’s 18 points from Lamar Stevens and 14 points from Rasir Bolton off the bench was enough for Penn State to pick up their first conference win. Penn State shot just 38 percent, but limited Northwestern to just 32 percent. Derek Pardon had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern.

7 Michigan vs. Rutgers: Michigan 77, Rutgers 65

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 23 points as the Wolverines were able to pick up a road win at Rutgers. Jon Teske and Jordan Poole combined for 22 points but shot a poor 8-for-23 together. Eugene Omoruyi had 21 points and Montez Mathis had 12 points for Rutgers.

9 Michigan St. vs. Illinois: Illinois 79, Michigan St. 74

Illinois pulled the upset of the week with a big home win over Michigan State. Ayo Dosunmu had 24 points, Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 16, and Trent Frazier had 15 for the winners. Cassius Winston had another big night for Michigan St., finishing with 21 points and nine assists.

19 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Wisconsin 56, Minnesota 51

Ethan Happ had a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double to lead Wisconsin to a road victory over Minnesota. Brad Davidson added 10 points, and Nate Reuvers had nine rebounds and seven blocks for Wisconsin. Jordan Murphy had a huge 16 point, 19 rebound performance for the losers.

24 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Maryland 60, Nebraska 45

Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando both had double-doubles to power Maryland past Nebraska. Maryland shot the ball 38 percent, but held Nebraska to an extremely poor 21 percent, including 0-for-10 shooting from Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska. Isaiah Roby 20 points and 1 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers.

20 Iowa vs. Indiana: Iowa 77, Indiana 72

Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 46 points for Iowa in their win over Indiana. Iowa made 10 threes and 13 free-throws on the night. Romeo Langford had 22 points and five rebounds for Indiana, and Juwan Morgan added 17.

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 74, Penn State 70

Ohio State’s 50 percent shooting helped power them to a win over the feisty Penn State Nittany Lions. Luther Muhammad had 20 points, and Andre Wesson had 15 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves each had 20 for Penn State,.

19 Wisconsin vs. 7 Michigan: Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Charles Matthews had 18 points, and Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolverines over the Badgers. Michigan shot 45 percent while limiting themselves to just five turnovers.  Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace Wisconsin.

Minnesota vs. 9 Michigan State: Michigan St. 79, Minnesota 55

Michigan State finally broke out of their three game losing streak with a blowout win over the sliding Minnesota Golden Gophers. nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds and Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists. Matt McQuaid added 18 points, and eight more assists, as Michigan State thrives off the catch-and-shoot. Gabe Kalscheur had 17 points for Minnesota.

Nebraska vs. 15 Purdue: Purdue 81, Nebraska 62

Carsen Edwards dropped 27 points as Purdue blew out Nebraska at home. Grady Eifert had 16 points, and Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas Allen led Nebraska with 18 points off the bench, and Nebraska shot just 38 percent on the night.

Rutgers vs. Illinois: Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 (OT)

Giorgi Bezhanishvilli exploded for 35 points, as Illinois took down Rutgers at home in overtime. Four total players would reach double figures for Illinois, who shot the ball 50 percent. Caleb McConnell had a big night for Rutgers with 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern vs. 20 Iowa: Iowa 80, Northwestern 79

Iowa was down 15 points with 4:30 left, but Iowa fought back and won the game thanks to a Jordan Bohannon buzzer-beater. He had 15 points, but Joe Wieskamp led with 21 points while Tyler cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Vic Law led Northwestern with 24 points and 10 boards.

Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State 55, Indiana 52

Indiana couldn’t convert in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, as Ohio State snuck away from Bloomington with a 55-52 win. The Wesson brothers combined for 25 of Ohio State’s 55 points, as the team shot 44 percent. Romeo Langford had 15 points for Indiana, while Juwan Morgan was held in-check with just three points, but still managed to haul-in 14 boards.

Standings & Rankings

6 Michigan, 22-2 (11-2)

12 Purdue, 17-6 (10-2)

11 Michigan St., 19-5 (10-3)

20 Wisconsin, 17-7 (9-4)

24 Maryland, 18-6 (9-4)

21 Iowa, 19-5 (8-5)

Ohio State, 16-7 (6-6)

Minnesota, 16-8 (6-7)

Illinois, 9-15 (5-8)

Indiana, 13-11 (4-9)

Rutgers, 11-12 (4-9)

Northwestern, 12-11 (3-9)

Nebraska, 13-11 (3-10)

Penn State, 8-15 (1-11)

 

Iowa and Indiana pull major upsets: Big Ten basketball week in review (1/29-2/3)

Another fun week of Big Ten hoops is led by Iowa dominating Michigan, Indiana upsetting Michigan St., and Wisconsin with two big wins. Six teams hit the Top 25 this week! There were 12 games, so let’s dive into it!

Results & Mini-Recaps

Ohio St. vs. 5 Michigan: Michigan 65, Ohio State 49

Zavier Simpson’s triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds helped Michigan cruise past Ohio State. Four different Michigan players got into double-figures, including 12 points off the bench for sophomore Isaiah Livers. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Northwestern vs. 21 Maryland: Maryland 70, Northwestern 52

Bruno Fernando’s 22 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Maryland to a convincing win over Northwestern. Maryland held Northwestern to just 31 percent from the field. Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds to support Fernando. Anthony Gaines had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Northwestern.

24 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin 62, Nebraska 51

Wisconsin held Nebraska to just 28 percent from the field to beat Nebraska, despite being out-rebounded. Three Wisconsin Badgers were in double figures, including Ethan Happ who also had nine rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska.

Indiana vs. Rutgers: Rutgers 66, Indiana 58

Rutgers strong effort on the boards helped them beat the struggling Indiana Hoosiers. Three Scarlet Knights were in double-figures, and they held Indiana to just 35 percent shooting. Romeo Langford led Indiana with 20 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Illinois vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 86, Illinois 75

Five Minnesota players were in double-figures as they beat Illinois by 11. Minnesota shot a strong 50 percent in the win, compared to 45 percent from Illinois. Trent Frazier had a huge 30 point performance for Illinois in the loss, and two Fighting Illini were in double-figures off of the bench.

17 Purdue vs. Penn St.: Purdue 99, Penn St. 90 (OT)

Purdue shot the lights out at 55 percent, and survived the last-place Penn State in overtime. Conference scoring leader Carsen Edwards exploded for 38 points, and teammate Ryan Cline added 20. Lamar Stevens had 24 points for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions hit 30 free-throws to counter their poor 39 percent shooting.

5 Michigan vs. Iowa: Iowa 74, Michigan 59

Iowa jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead on their home floor and used that to knock off the number five team in the country. Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp had 19 and 16 points, respectively for the winners. Iowa held Michigan to just 32 percent from the field. Three Wolverines made it into double-figures.

21 Maryland vs. 24 Wisconsin: Wisconsin 69, Maryland 61

Wisconsin used a dominating second half after trailing at halftime to beat Maryland at home. Brad Davidson had 21 points for Wisconsin, and Ethan Happ had an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double as well. Bruno Fernando had a double-double to lead the Terrapins.

Indiana vs. 6 Michigan St.: Indiana 79. Michigan St. 75 (OT)

Despite losing Juwan Morgan in the first half to a shoulder injury, Indiana ended their skid with a huge road upset over Michigan St. Romeo Langford led the winners with 19 points, and Justin Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds with the game-sealing block. Cassius Winston had a huge night for the Spartans with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 76, Rutgers 62

Ohio State shot the ball 53 percent to lead to a victory over Rutgers. Kaleb Wesson had 27 points and five assists, and C.J. Jackson had 20 points and seven rebounds. Despite the win, they trailed -11 in the rebound margin.  Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six rebounds for Rutgers in the loss.

Nebraska vs. Illinois: Illinois 71, Nebraska 64

Illinois balanced scoring and strong defense led them to a win over Nebraska. Kipper Nichols had 18 points off the bench, while Illinois held Nebraska to just 36 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 22 points and eight rebounds for Nebraska, and Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Minnesota vs. 17 Purdue: Purdue 73, Minnesota 63

Purdue had five players in double-figures and shot the ball 48 percent in a win over Minnesota. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Nojel Eastern had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Amir Coffey had 22 points for Minnesota, and Daniel Oturu had 19 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.

Standings & Rankings

7 Michigan, 20-2 (9-2 )

9 Michigan St., 18-4 (9-2)

15 Purdue, 16-6 (9-2)

19 Wisconsin, 16-6 (8-3)

24 Maryland, 17-6 (8-4)

20 Iowa, 17-5 (6-5)

Minnesota, 16-6 (6-5)

Ohio State, 14-7 (4-6)

Rutgers, 11-10 (4-7)

Indiana, 13-9 (4-7)

Northwestern, 12-9 (3-7)

Nebraska, 13-9 (3-8)

Illinois, 7-15 (3-8)

Penn St., 7-14 (0-10)

What Happened In The Big Ten On The First Saturday?

The first full weekend of college football is done, and teams from the Big Ten finally kicked off their seasons with some exciting matchups. Some of them were projected from the start to be great games. Others, like Penn State versus Appalachian State, were simply a case of an underdog turning up and not bowing down to the favorite. And then there were some games that were just strange, like the 108 point clash between Ohio State and Oregon State.

What were the biggest moments from the first Saturday?

Matt Canada starts off with a win as Maryland head coach

Maryland is not the team that most would have picked to pull off an upset. Especially not over a team that should have been at least somewhat wary, after losing to the Terrapins last year. But despite all the drama around the team’s coaching staff, and the fairly recent suspension of D.J. Durkin, the team pulled together and managed an upset win in honor of Jordan McNair.

It was a close game but it was one that Texas trailed most of the time. Maryland kept Texas from gaining the lead until the later part of the third quarter, and even then, they would take it back near the start of the fourth. Their quarterback situation was lamented going into the season, and yet Maryland starter Kasim Hill had a higher completion percentage and passer rating than Texas QB Sam Ehlinger. Additionally, Hill threw for no interceptions, while Ehlinger had two.

Despite the game being stopped for over an hour because of the weather, Maryland was able to hold the lead throughout most of the fourth quarter to secure the win. It’s a win that will greatly help the resume of Matt Canada, a figure that many have mixed opinions about after his failed stint at LSU. Now, however, he has a 1-0 record while acting as head coach.

Penn State beats Appalachian State, but not in the way they wanted

The Nittany Lions did what was expected of them and they dispatched their visiting opponents from Appalachian State, but just about nobody within the Penn State fanbase would like to repeat a performance like that anytime soon. It didn’t exactly make the team look good, after all.

Trace McSorley is one of the Heisman favorites this year, and Miles Sanders should be a good enough replacement for number two overall draft pick Trace McSorley, but none of Penn State’s stars really looked like themselves for this game and the offense was sluggish for much of it. The 45 point output doesn’t tell the actual story of the game, because Penn State only did as much as they needed and not even a tiny bit more.

They only managed ten points in the first half, after all. The third quarter went Penn State’s way, but allowing 28 points in the fourth quarter isn’t going to fly when playing against conference opposition, especially elite opponents like Michigan State and Ohio State. On the bright side, the team showed a good amount of resilience to take over during the OT period and put an end to the game.

But everyone, both fans of Penn State and fans of their rivals, know that it never should have reached that point. If the Nittany Lions want to keep their spot in the rankings, they’ll certainly have to avoid letting lower ranked opponents play up to their level as the Mountaineers did.

Michigan State gets past Utah State… Barely

Penn State isn’t the only highly ranked Big Ten team to have some trouble with a nonconference opponent that everyone overlooked. Michigan State was picked by Vegas as the second most likely team to win the Big Ten East, but they had a scare at the hands of Utah State regardless.

Like Penn State, the Spartans did enough to win the game but didn’t do enough to please their fans and critics, their pass defense failing to close out Utah State and quarterback Brian Lewerke throwing an interception that would be returned for a touchdown. The running backs didn’t have the best game either, with top back L.J. Scott finishing with less than 100 yards on 23 carries.

Furthermore, the winning run didn’t come until there were about two minutes left in the game. That kind of close margin just isn’t what any top team wants out of a nonconference game like this, and you can be sure the Spartans will make some tweaks going into their next game.

Will they have a better defensive performance over an Arizona State team that put up 49 points in their season opener? That’s a question that will loom large going into their west coast road trip this Saturday.

Maryland Football: Will The Terrapins Clean House Following McNair Death?

When Maryland Terrapins offensive lineman Jordan McNair died in June, most assumed that it was a tragically random incident, the kind of thing that can be chalked up to bad luck. Maybe McNair had hidden medical problems that the team wasn’t aware of. Maybe it was an honest mistake and the medical staff didn’t take enough precautions for practicing in the heat.

Diving into the Maryland Terrapins’ Jordan McNair situation:

Now, however, we know more about the situation. The story is still developing, and there may be more twists and turns before a full conclusion is reached, but it looks like the real answers are darker than those alternative theories. An ESPN article recently shed much more light on what things may be like inside the University of Maryland football program, and if everything in the article is true, it’s quite damning for a number of people within the program.

Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court will stand out as one of the figures that will likely be axed, but head coach D.J. Durkin played just as much of a role in what happened and was placed on administrative leave by the school shortly after the article was released. Usually, administrative leave is only used when a coach is in danger of imminent firing.

It’s a complex situation, because tough coaching is something that happens all over football. In a violent game, aggressive coaching is expected. But the Maryland football staff under D.J. Durkin went above and beyond strict coaching, conducting psychological warfare against their own players as well as pushing players to continue training up to and beyond the point of injury.

Durkin’s no-nonsense approach was one of the reasons why Maryland fans were initially excited about the hire. But not many could have predicted the dark side that would come with that. “They’re joined at the hip. They’re the same. They use the same language and the same classification,” a source told ESPN, speaking about strength coach Rick Court and head coach D.J. Durkin.

Court, as well as trainers Wes Robinson and Steve Nordwall were placed on administrative leave not long before Durkin himself was. Assuming no new details come up to exonerate anyone, all of them are as good as fired. However, it’s less than a month before the season, so who should the Terrapins turn to now?

Matt Canada was on Durkin’s staff, but only arrived as offensive coordinator this year and likely didn’t have the time to pick up many habits from Durkin. He was named the interim head coach, but like all interim coaches, it’s not a guarantee that he keeps the job permanently.

Previously working as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU, Pittsburgh, NC State, Wisconsin, and other schools, Canada has had mixed results but performed especially well in Pittsburgh. In contrast, he struggled more at LSU and appeared to not be a great fit for the preexisting scheme.

Most importantly for Maryland, though, Canada is already on the staff and can serve as head coach this season if the athletics department can’t bring in someone more experienced before the start of the season. However, he lacks ties to the state and that doesn’t spell good results in local recruiting going forward. It’s not easy to talk local families into sending their sons to Maryland, after everything that’s happened.

Another potential option is Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo, who already coaches in the state of Maryland and has found success with one of the toughest jobs in all of college football. Navy went 11-2 under Niumatalolo in 2015, and had a winning record in each of the last two seasons, winning the Military Bowl in 2017 after going .500 in the American conference.

It also seems that Niumatalolo isn’t averse to looking for a bigger job, as he was in the running to become the coach of the Arizona Wildcats before player protests shot that idea down. His triple option would work better at Maryland than it would at Arizona, though, and would take advantage of the athleticism of the Terrapins’ two top quarterbacks this year, Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill.

Will Maryland even make a coaching change, though? The investigation is still ongoing, and while the report from ESPN looks like the nail in the coffin for the current staff, everyone doesn’t see things the same way as the article does. A number of fans within the Maryland fanbase have accused ESPN writer Heather Dinich of having a bias against the team, and even if those claims are dismissed, there’s a statement from Will Muschamp that counters the testimonies from the article.

“There is no credibility in anonymous sources. If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that? I think that’s gutless. In any football team, especially right here in August, you can find a disgruntled player that’s probably not playing. I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources. I know D.J. Durkin personally. I know what kind of man he is,” said Muschamp, who was the head coach at Florida back when Durkin was the defensive coordinator.

It’s also worth looking beyond the coaching staff and examining the people who hired Durkin in the first place, regardless of if Durkin is fired or not. Durkin has coached Maryland since 2016, and Jordan McNair’s death came in June. But it’s only just now that the school is doing something. If the allegations against the coaching staff are true, it’s hard to believe that Athletic Director Damon Evans as well as others in the upper ranks of the university knew nothing about what was going on.

“The athletics director and the head coach are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of our student athletes. For there to be reports of purposefully unsafe conditioning practices built on the foundation of verbal abuse, fear, and humiliation, even after the death of a teenager in their care, is the definition of inexcusable,” said Ben Jealous, who is currently in the running to become the Governor of Maryland.

Whether the full coaching staff is axed over the findings of the ongoing investigation into McNair’s death or not, the entire situation isn’t a good look for Maryland football. It’s unlikely that the statements from former players are entirely fabricated, even if it turns out that some details were exaggerated. Additionally, recruiting will be much harder following the death of a player.

It seems impossible that every loose end will be tied up in this case before the season starts next month, and one can only hope that those in charge at the University of Maryland can bring about the best outcome for the ones that are the most affected by it all, the players.

Big Ten: The Maryland Quarterback Race Will Resume Where It Left Off Last Year

Maryland was in an interesting place last year. They finished with a 2-7 record in the Big Ten, but they didn’t have any help from luck. Things actually started off good for them, and devolved as the season continued for a bit. The first game of the season was a 51-41 victory over the Texas Longhorns, in Austin nonetheless.

However, the Terrapins only went three quarters before they lost their starting quarterback. After completing nine out of his twelve passes and throwing for a 75% completion percentage, along with 175 yards and two touchdowns, Tyrell Pigrome tore his ACL and ended up out for the season with that injury.

A quarterback that could change the narrative for Maryland football:

Enter Kasim Hill, the backup that would help Maryland hold onto the win despite only throwing three passes. It looked like the starting job had fallen into his lap, and Hill did good enough in the Texas game and scored a rushing touchdown to help ensure the win, but he didn’t have the best of fates either.

Hill completed 13 of 16 passes and threw for two touchdowns against in state opponent Towson in the second game of the season, but would only have a chance to complete two passes in the Terrapins’ loss to UCF. It looked like a routine hit, but it turns out Hill had torn his ACL after being flushed out of the pocket and brought down by a couple of UCF defenders.

Now, both quarterbacks that played in the upset against Texas are in the same position, rehabbing from the same injury and competing for a starting spot once again. Hill is the favorite to win the job, according to the odds from BetsDSI. While Pigrome was the starter coming into the season, he’s not necessarily the more experienced player. The Texas game was his second career start, after all.

Neither QB is going to win by just throwing the ball, even though Pigrome did get two passing touchdowns in the Texas game. He’s an option quarterback at heart and only attempted one more pass than rush. However, his use of his legs means that for him to be most effective, he needs a good offensive line opening up lanes and keeping linebackers out of the backfield. That’s something that Maryland doesn’t have, at least not when they’re facing high level opponents within the conference.

Kasim Hill is the bigger and heavier of the two, and if Maryland uses an offense this year that features designed running plays for the quarterback, it looks like he’s the better option. There’s not much reason to prefer Pigrome over the larger Hill in that kind of offense, especially when Maryland doesn’t have the blocking to keep their quarterbacks from being hit early on running plays.

Throwing the ball is what you think of when you rank quarterbacks, but they’re about even on that front. If anything, Hill showed his willingness during the Towson game to throw the ball at a variety of ranges rather than running as a first option. But Towson isn’t an FBS defense, let alone one of the better ones in the Big Ten East.

It looks like Maryland’s quarterback this year will be Hill, just because he can likely do a bit more in the kind of offense that the Terrapins might run this year. But unlike some of the other teams in the conference, Maryland isn’t one that’s ready to have a huge jump after finding their man at QB.

No, they’re on a journey rather than a sprint. This is just one piece of that larger puzzle.