Maryland will make its Big Ten debut next week with a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana to play the Hoosiers. The Terps will certainly be heading into their new conference schedule on the right foot after getting the big plays to go their way in defeating Syracuse 34-20 on the road Saturday afternoon.
C.J. Brown passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns and Brandon Ross (97 yards, 1 touchdown) and Marcus Leak (93 yards, 1 touchdown) each came close to 100-yard days. Stefon Diggs may not have had a big stat game but was a key contributor as well with six catches for 56 yards and some work on special teams and the running game. The Maryland offense has shown some good things in non-conference play that should carry over to Big Ten play. But the Maryland defense is going to have to get better.
Despite losing, Syracuse piled up nearly 500 yards of offense against Maryland (roughly 115 more yards than Maryland accumulated). It was big plays that helped Maryland overcome the yardage battle. Maryland had a 90-yard touchdown (Brown to Ross) and an interception returned for an 88-yard touchdown by William Likely. Maryland avoided turning the football over and forced two turnovers in the game. For Syracuse, preventing costly mistakes will be a key area focused on in practice before getting ready to dive into ACC play.
Syracuse first needs to make sure they can count on quarterback Terrel Hunt throwing the football. He completed just half of his attempts against Maryland for 219 yards, but he also added a team-high 143 rushing yards and a touchdown. Syracuse also had a good day from running back Prince-Tyson Gulley with 138 rushing yards and an average of 9.9 yards per carry. The potential is there for Syracuse’s offense if they can put it all together.
Syracuse will face Notre Dame in MetLife Stadium next week, which sort of qualifies as an aCC game with Notre Dame’s relationship with the ACC. But the Orange will officially get started with ACC play the following week against the team that replaced Maryland in the conference, Louisville.