The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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192 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW 11 MARYLAND • NOV. 22 BY RYAN TICE After Maryland fired former head coach Ralph Friedgen following a 9-4 campaign in 2010, it was a long and winding road back to the postseason for the Terrapins under Randy Edsall. The program was 2-10 in its debut under the new mentor, then improved to 4-8, and finally returned to bowl eligibility with a 7-6 ledger last year. The Terps were inconsistent last season, but a large part of that was due to injuries. They were so unlucky with their health that they lost their top two receivers — Stefon Diggs and Deon Long — in game seven, both to broken legs. The two still combined for 66 catches and 1,076 yards before they were lost for the year. Diggs, who ranked eighth nationally with 172.4 all-purpose yards per game as a fresh- man in 2012, is back for his junior campaign while Long enters his final year of eligibility. In their absences, junior Levern Jacobs, red- shirt junior Nigel King and redshirt sopho- more Amba Etta-Tawo each posted at least 30 receptions and 450 receiving yards. The quintet should form one of the Big Ten's deepest groups of pass catchers for sixth-year senior C.J. Brown, who is a true dual-threat quarterback that has greatly im- proved as a passer. He threw for 2,242 yards and 13 touchdowns against seven intercep- tions last year, while also rushing for 576 yards and a team-best 12 scores. Continuing the theme of experienced re- turners at the skill positions is a loaded back- field. Last season's leading rusher, Brandon Ross, started all but one game in 2013 and led the team with 776 yards on the ground. He also hauled in 18 passes for 173 yards. Redshirt sophomore Wes Brown may be even more talented, but was suspended last year after rushing for 382 yards and two scores in seven games as a true freshman. Maryland does not return as much expe- rience up front, but some contributors are back this fall. Fifth-year senior Sal Conaboy started all 13 games at center last year and is the veteran with 27 appearances. Redshirt junior Ryan Doyle and redshirt sophomore Michael Dunn have moved around, but both started every game in 2013. The defense returns key contributors at every level, and each of last year's top five tacklers have eligibility remaining. The three-man front is anchored by fifth-year senior end Andre Monroe, who is undersized and started only four times last year but fin- ished with 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks — both marks led the squad. The other three who started every game up front in 2013 also return, led by fifth-year senior nose tackle Darius Kilgo and junior end Quinton Jef- ferson, who combined for 14 tackles for loss and five sacks. A trio of senior starting linebackers is back — Matt Robinson, Cole Farran and L.A. Goree each opened at least eight con- tests and tallied more than 73 tackles. Rob- inson, a former safety, notched 10 tackles for loss last year and should combine with class- mate Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, who notched three sacks in just six games, for a nice pair of playmakers on the outside. Leading tackler Sean Davis, who notched 102 tackles and paces all returners with two interceptions, leads the back line from his safety position. Sophomore cornerback Will Likely checks in at just 5-7, but notched 70 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, to rank fifth on the team in 2013. Likely also led the way with seven passes defended. Juniors Brad Craddock and Nathan Renfro are back to handle kicking and punting re- sponsibilities again, respectively. Craddock led the ACC with 1.62 field goals per game, but should not get as many opportunities if the offensive weapons stay healthy. There's no questioning that Maryland has talent on its roster, and it is experienced. The mystery is how healthy will they be and how does a mid-tier ACC squad translate in the Big Ten? We'll find out this fall. Notes Maryland ranked in the nation's top 20 in tack- les for loss (eighth, 7.8 per game) and sacks (tied for 18th, 2.85) last year … The Terps return 87 percent of their two-deep from the end of last year … Athlon lists Maryland's wide receivers and tight ends as the sixth-best group in the land, while its linebacker ensemble checks in at No. 20. ❑ Improved Terps Make The Move To The Big Ten Stefon Diggs, who missed half of last season with a broken leg, ranked eighth nationally with 172.4 all-purpose yards per game as a freshman in 2012. PHOTO COURTESY MARYLAND 2014 SCHEDULE Date Opponent 2013 Result Aug. 30 James Madison — Sept. 6 at South Florida — Sept. 13 West Virginia W, 37-0 Sept. 20 at Syracuse L, 20-3 Sept. 27 at Indiana — Oct. 4 Ohio State — Oct. 18 Iowa — Oct. 25 at Wisconsin — Nov. 1 at Penn State — Nov. 14 Michigan State — Nov. 22 at Michigan — Nov. 29 Rutgers — QUICK FACTS All-Time Series: U-M leads 3-0 First Meeting: U-M 20, Maryland 0 (Sept. 28, 1985, at Ann Arbor) Last Meeting: U-M 45, Maryland 17 (Sept. 29, 1990 at Ann Arbor) Head Coach: Randy Edsall, 13-24 at Maryland (4th year) and 87-94 overall (16th year) Off./Def. Systems: Multiple/3-4 2013 in Review: 7-6 overall, 3-5 ACC (5th Atlantic Division) Final 2013 Ranking: Unranked Returning Starters: 20 (9 offense, 9 defense, 2 specialists) Last Bowl Appearance: 2013 (Military, vs. Marshall, L 31-20) Big Ten Conference Championships (last): 0 (9 ACC Championships, last in 2001) RETURNING LEADERS Passing: C.J. Brown (2,242 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT) Rushing: Brandon Ross (776 yards, 4 TD) Receiving: Levern Jacobs (640 yards, 3 TD) Tackles: Sean Davis (102) Sacks: Andre Monroe (9.5) Interceptions: Sean Davis (2) PLAYERS TO WATCH Offense: C.J. Brown, 6th-Sr., QB — After missing the 2012 campaign with a torn ACL, he returned to be named team MVP last fall … Be- came the first player in program his- tory to pass for at least 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 yards in a single season. D e f e n s e : A n d r e M o n r o e , 5th-Sr., DE — Was named the Terps' Lineman of the Year after he ranked fifth in the ACC with 17 tackles for loss and tied for sixth with 9.5 sacks … Started only four times last year and missed the 2012 campaign with a knee injury … Was a Fresh- man All-American in 2011, but also battled injuries then. 182-193.Opponents.indd 192 6/19/14 1:12 PM

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