COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland football team returns to College Park for its ACC home opener on Saturday as the Terps play host to Virginia for 78th time in school history, the most among any opponent all-time. Kickoff is set for 3:32 p.m. from Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Terps suffered their first loss of the season in Tallahassee on Saturday falling 63-0 to the sixth-ranked Florida State Seminoles. Despite the loss, Maryland’s four wins through five games marks the team’s best start since 2010 when the Terps also opened the season 4-1. That year, Maryland finished 9-4 and earned a spot in the Military Bowl.
LIVE Coverage on the ESPNU & the Terrapin Sports Radio Network
• Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m.. Anish Shroff (pbp) and Kelly Stouffer (color) will call the action. It can also be heard on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network – Johnny Holliday (pbp), Tim Strachan (color) and Scott McBrien (sideline) have the call. The game can also be heard on Sirius Radio Channel 135 and XM Radio Channel 191, as well as over the internet at www.umterps.com.
• On Saturday, quarterback Caleb Rowe filled in admirably after starter C.J. Brown departed in the second quarter with a concussion. Rowe completed nine of his 17 pass attempts for 119 yards. The sophomore averaged 17.0 yards per completion and found wide receiver Nigel King for his long completion of the afternoon, a 26 yarder. Prior to his injury, Brown completed 6-of-14 passes for 82 yards including a 39-yard completion to wide receiver Deon Long. Brown, Rowe and the Maryland offense continued a season trend of attacking defenses downfield. Maryland’s average completion went for 13.4 yards and on the season the Terps are averaging 14.98 yards per completion, the 12th-highest total nationally.
• Long was the Terps’ top target against the Seminoles. The junior-college transfer hauled in three passes for a team-high 77 yards and was targeted multiple times down the field. Long was among eight different Terrapin receivers to catch a pass on Saturday. King and running back Brandon Ross each caught three passes for 46 and 17 yards, respectively. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who is averaging 21.2 yards per catch this season, caught two passes for 24 yards. Amongst receivers with 20 or more receptions, Diggs’ yards per catch average ranks fourth nationally and is on pace to set a sophomore season record (19.17 ypc) for Maryland and currently ranks as the second-highest single-season average all-time.
• Through the first four games of the season defensively, the Terps averaged 4.25 sacks per game and led the nation with 17 total sacks. On Saturday, the Terps added to that total as defensive lineman Andre Monroe recorded one sack against the Seminoles raising his season total to 3.5. Maryland now has three players with 3.0 sacks or more on the season. Linebacker Marcus Whitfield leads the group with 5.5 sacks. After Monroe’s 3.5, fellow linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil has 3.0. In addition to his sack of Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston, Monroe was a consistent presence in the Seminoles’ backfield totaling a game-high three tackles for loss, increasing his season total to six. The Terps still rank as one of the nation’s top 25 defenses. Maryland is surrendering 333.8 yards per game, which ranks fifth in the ACC and 22nd nationally.
• Defensive backs Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon were the team’s top tacklers on Saturday. Davis finished with a career-best 12, nine of which were solo, while Nixon had a career-high 10 tackles. Linebacker Matt Robinson had seven solo tackles and one pass breakup. Robinson and linebacker L.A. Goree lead the Terps with 31 tackles on the season. Robinson has a team-best 21 solo tackles.
• Folliowing in the footsteps of Diggs from last season, defensive back William Likely has proven to be a dynamic threat on kickoffs for the Terps. Likely fielded four kicks for 73 yards on Saturday with the Seminoles choosing to kick away from the freshman on several occasions. Likely is averaging 28.6 yards per return, which ranks second in the ACC and 19th nationally. Likely’s average is threatening the Maryland record books. His 28.6 average currently ranks second for a single season all-time and would break Diggs’s freshman record of 28.52 yards per return.
• Despite being held scoreless at Florida State on Saturday, the Terps’ offense is still on pace to rank as one of the best in school history. The unit has totaled 2,228 yards of total offense through five games and scored 159 points. Since the 2000 season, no Maryland team has totaled more offensive yards through five contests and its point total is tied for the second most during that span. The 2001 Terrapins scored 173 points in five games and the 2010 team scored 159 as well.
• With a sack against Florida State, defensive lineman Andre Monroe increased his season total to 3.5 and raised Maryland’s total to 18. Maryland is tied for third in the ACC in sacks, fourth nationally, and is the only team in the ACC and one of three teams in the country with three players with three or more sacks (Louisville, USC). Linebacker Marcus Whitfield is third in the ACC and tied for seventh nationally with 5.5, and linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil has 3.0.
• In addition to its ability to get after the quarterback, Maryland’s defense has totaled 39 tackles for loss averaging 7.8 per game, which is tied for fourth in the ACC and tied for 13th nationally. The Terps recorded four TFL for 17 yards on Saturday led by Monroe’s three for 15 yards. Whitfield leads the team with 6.5. E.J. Henderson holds the school record with 28 during the 2001 season.
• Maryland still ranks as one of the best teams in the country in third-down defense ranking 19th nationally holding opponents to a 34.7 percent success rate and has forced 28 three-and-outs. The Terps are averaging 5.6 three-and-outs per game, which is tied for 15th nationally and has forced the opposing offense off the field in three plays or less in 40.0 percent of its defensive possessions, which is tied for the 16th-highest percentage nationally.
• Quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe combined to complete 15 passes for an average of 13.4 yards per completion on Saturday. On the season, the Terps are averaging 14.98 yards per completion, which ranks fifth in the ACC and 12th nationally. Brown ranks fifth in the conference and ninth nationally averaging 15.63 yards per completion, which is on pace to set a school record.
• Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been the Terps’ primary downfield threat. Diggs is tied with Pittsburgh’s Devin Street averaging a league-high 21.2 yards per catch and for his career is averaging 17.2 yards per reception, the second-highest average among active players in the ACC with a minimum of 30 receptions. In addition, his 21.2 yards per catch average is tied for the fourth highest nationally among receivers with 20 or more catches.
• With 236 yards of total offense against West Virginia (9/21), Brown passed Al Neville (2,734) for 22nd all-time for total offensive yards in a career in Maryland history. Brown currently has 2,839 yards of total offense in his career and trails Scott Zolak (2,875) by 36 yards for 21st all-time. Brown ranks third in the ACC with 282.2 yards of total offense per game.
• On Saturday, the Terrapin quarterbacks spread the ball to eight different receivers, the second-highest total of the season. Against FIU (8/31), nine different receivers caught a pass. The Terps are averaging seven different pass-catching targets per game with wide receiver Deon Long averaging a team-best 4.8 receptions per game.
• Through five games Maryland’s special teams have been solid, particularly on kickoffs. The Terps are averaging 24.31 yards per return, the second best average in the ACC and 27th nationally. On coverage, the Terps rank fourth in the ACC and 23rd nationally giving up 18.54 yards per return.
• Defensive back William Likely has been the team’s standout kick returner so far this season. After wide receiver Stefon Diggs set a school record for a freshman averaging 28.52 yards per return in 2012, the second-best single-season average in school history, Likely is averaging 28.6 yards per return. His average ranks second in the ACC and 19th nationally.
• The Terps have made their mark in the first half so far this season. Maryland has outscored its first four opponents 114-44 in the opening two quarters. The Terps have been particularly strong in the second quarter outscoring five opponents, 70-24.
• Through five games, Maryland is one of the least penalized teams in the country. The Terps are averaging 3.60 penalties a game, a mark that is tied for eighth nationally. Its 18 total penalties have cost Maryland 158 yards, an average of 31.6 yards per game, an average that is the ninth lowest nationally.
Maryland Gameday Notes
Scout Team Players of the Week: Each Thursday during the season Edsall will announce the scout team players of the week. This week’s scout team players of the week are offensive lineman G.T. Harraka (offense), linebacker Jermaine Carter, Jr. (defense), and defensive back Michael Washington (special teams).
Flag Bearers: Running back Albert Reid will carry the American flag, and linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil will carry the Maryland flag during Saturday’s introductions.
Game Captains: With the establishment of the leadship council for this season, Edsall will name game captains prior to each contest. The captains for the Virginia game are offensive lineman Sal Conaboy (offense), linebacker L.A. Goree (defense), and defensive back Zach Dancel (special teams).
Maryland-Virginia Series History
• Saturday’s meeting between Maryland and Virginia is the 78th all-time meeting between the two schools, the most of any Terrapin opponent, with the first meeting coming in 1919. The Terps lead the all-time series 43-32-2, and are 20-13-2 at home against the Cavaliers.
• Maryland has won two of the last three meetings between the border rivals including last year’s matchup in Charlottesville, 27-20.
• The Cavs have won the past three meetings in College Park with the Terps last win coming in 2005, a 45-33 victory.