Maryland football takes hot start to Michigan

The bridge that lies forward this weekend for the Maryland football group is as acquainted as it’s rickety. This is a film that will match into a type of two-day TBS marathons, a repeat over and over and over. The Terrapins are 3-0. They journey to play No. 4 Michigan on Saturday. A victory might change the course of this system.

Yet rewind the films once more, simply these because the Terps joined the Big Ten.

In 2014, they have been 4-1 and gained their convention opener — then performed Ohio State and misplaced 52-24.

In 2016, they have been 4-0 and gained their convention opener — then went to Penn State and misplaced 38-14.

In 2017, they began 3-1 and gained their convention opener — then went to Ohio State and misplaced 62-14.

In 2018, they began 3-1 and gained their convention opener — then went to Michigan and misplaced 42-21.

Last 12 months, they began 4-0 — then hosted Iowa of their convention opener and misplaced 51-14.

Given all that, Michael Locksley would appear to have fairly a gross sales job to get his gamers to even start to imagine the Terrapins might beat the Wolverines.

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“The guys imagine,” Locksley stated in an interview this week, absolutely and emphatically. “I do not assume there’s anyone, after we step on the sphere, that does not.”

That’s a step, then. To cross the bridge, to change the channel, the Terps who’re on the sphere should discard all proof of what is occurred in these conditions earlier than, even when the Terps followers within the stands or on the sofa may want some convincing.

Which does not imply Locksley’s past molding the Terps’ minds to solidify that perception. To be clear about what’s forward: Michigan is the defending Big Ten champion, a program that reached the College Football Playoff final season and has designs on repeating these accomplishments this marketing campaign. The Wolverines (3-0) rank third within the nation in yards allowed per sport (194.0) and yards allowed per play (3.22), they usually simply unleashed a quarterback — sophomore JJ McCarthy — who is perhaps the most effective Coach Jim Harbaugh has had in school since he coached Andrew Luck at Stanford.

Maryland’s lone win on the Big House got here in 2014 and was so devastating in Ann Arbor that it was a think about getting then-Wolverines coach Brady Hoke fired. It was lengthy sufficient in the past that Locksley, then the Terps’ offensive coordinator, stated he would not bear in mind a lot concerning the sport.

What he may bear in mind: Since that upset, the Terps have performed Michigan six occasions and misplaced six occasions, with a median rating of roughly 43-10.

“I requested them about Grandma’s macaroni and cheese,” Locksley stated.

Locksley stated he requested his gamers whether or not Grandma’s macaroni and cheese is healthier on Christmas than it’s on a traditional Sunday dinner. The emphatic response: No.

“It’s slammin’,” Locksley stated, parroting his gamers. “It’s nice. It’s unbelievable.”

“Who we play would not change” what the Terps do, the coach stated. “It’s the consistency of how we put together to play. Which is what makes Grandma’s macaroni and cheese good on Christmas Day or an everyday Sunday after church.

“I’m attempting to get us out of this mentality of driving this wave of feelings the place we put together in a different way for Charlotte than we do Ohio State, put together in a different way for Michigan than we do SMU. Because that is not the case as a football coach. We do not go in and say, ‘It’s Michigan week. Let’s rapidly ramp up our depth,’ as a result of that is not the way you go about constructing a successful program.”

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The obstacles to constructing a successful program for Maryland within the Big Ten have been hashed and rehashed on this house. The one proper in entrance of them, Michigan, is what issues for the time being.

“It’s like they’re simply one other group,” stated junior receiver Rakim Jarrett, who caught a 48-yard landing cross within the Terps’ penalty-filled, come-from-behind victory over SMU on Saturday.

That may seem to be pressured perception. For Jarrett and an growing variety of Terrapins, it is not. He is a Prince George’s County native who performed at powerhouse St. John’s within the District and acquired scholarship affords from, amongst others, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and — you guessed it — Michigan. He is precisely the type of participant Locksley pledged to hold residence.

“I do not need to sound like one thing I’m not,” Jarrett stated, selecting his phrases rigorously. “But since I’ve been recruited by all these groups, it is like they do not actually excite me as a lot as they’d excite anyone that did not have the possibility to go to Michigan.”

That’s Grandma’s mac and cheese baked-in, proper there. Yeah, it is corny (cornbread?), nevertheless it is sensible. According to the recruiting website 247 Sports, Maryland’s previous three recruiting lessons have composite rankings of thirty first, 18th and thirty first nationally. Yeah, Michigan’s have been tenth, thirteenth and ninth at the moment. Michigan actually has extra skilled expertise and extra depth, so there is a disparity. It simply should not be a 43-10 disparity.

“Get it to the fourth quarter, and now it is who executes the most effective,” Locksley stated. “Sometimes it neutralizes the distinction in talent stage or depth stage as a result of they have strain on them, like we have now strain on us. Who’s going to deal with it the most effective? That’s why we strive to put together for strain.”

By the fourth quarter of blowouts, the strain is lengthy gone. Which will get us to this level: Through three video games — wins over Buffalo, at Charlotte and the comeback in opposition to SMU — this seems to be like the most effective of Locksley’s 4 groups because the Terps’ head coach. Fair evaluation?

“No doubt about it,” Locksley stated. “There’s little question it is the most effective tradition and the most effective gamers I’ve had since I’ve been right here — throughout the board.”

Whether that is sufficient to cross the bridge or change the channel or [insert overwrought metaphor here] will present up at midday Saturday. The gifted Terps have pledged to put together with the consistency of Grandma’s mac and cheese. At some level — be it Saturday or some date we will not but see from right here — that may have to assist change the outcomes.

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