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2021 Maryland Terrapins: Offense Good, Defense Not so Good
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Maryland Terrapins: Offense Good, Defense Not so Good

This will be year four of the Mike Locksley era at Maryland and we are finding out what some of us already knew that just because you coached for Nick Saban and had enormous success at Alabama doesn’t mean it’s going to happen at places like Maryland. Can there be a turnaround in 2021? There is hope as the Terps had the 4th best recruiting class in the Big Ten.

Offense: The QB situation is a plus for the Terps as Taulia Tagovailoa returns and will make the offense exciting to watch. He averaged almost 300 yards total offense per game and has his entire receiving corps back, led by Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett. Tayon Fleet-Davis takes over and running back and has the ability to run and catch the ball. The offensive line is a work in progress and worked on moving the pocket in the spring to take advantage of Tagovailoa’s talents. Maryland should be able to score points.

Defense: New coordinator Brian Stewart inherits a defense that took some hits in the offseason as the two starting linebackers transferred. So, highly touted Terrence Lewis and Brandon Jennings will probably play as true freshmen. They are very talented but also very inexperienced. The defensive line returns three starters and they will need to step up and play better. The secondary is the strength of the defense led by safeties Nick Cross and Jordan Mosley. This unit gave up almost 6 yards per rushing attempt last year and that has to change.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/4 West Virginia

9/11 Howard

9/25 Kent State

These games are all winnable with two of them absolute must wins. I bet the folks at College Park wish the West Virginia game was third in line instead of the opener. The MtNeers will be decent as always and that will be an interesting game that will tell us a lot about Maryland.

Conference Schedule:

9/18 at Illinois

10/2 Iowa

10/9 at Ohio State

10/23 at Minnesota

10/30 Indiana

11/6 Penn State

11/13 at Michigan State

11/20 Michigan

11/27 at Rutgers

The road conference schedule features three games that will make or break Maryland”s season. Games at Illinois, Michigan State, and Rutgers are so important. If the Terps win all three of them they will probably be bowl eligible. They probably will lose at Minnesota and they might as well play Ohio State in Columbus because they aren’t beating them no matter where they play. The home schedule is very tough and doesn’t have any gimmes. Iowa, Indiana, Penn State, and Michigan all figure to be formidable and Maryland might lose all of them.

Summary: There is reason for optimism in College Park. The offense will be exciting and should put up some points and the defense looks to be improving. If they can win all three non-conference games and play well on the road, they have a chance to reach a minor bowl game.

Predicted Finish: 6th Place in Big Ten East

Overall Record: 5-7

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