No. 15 Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) won their fifth straight game since losing the season opener by flexing their defensive strength against Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon in Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines sent the homecoming crowd home happy with a 42-21 win behind the strength of a defense that made things extremely difficult for the Terrapins all afternoon.
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns in the win, and running back Karan Higdon rushed for 103 yards. The Michigan offense continues to look formidable as the season goes along, even after overcoming a rough start last week against Northwestern. Michigan was efficient with their third-down conversions, converting 8 of 13 in the game, but this was a story for the defense.
Maryland didn’t go over 100 yards of offense until a fourth-quarter touchdown drive of 75 yards, which took them to 122 yards of offense. Maryland had four three-and-out drives and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter the offense put any points on the scoreboard. A kickoff return of 98 yards for a touchdown by Ty Johnson was the lone score for Maryland in the first quarter until the fourth-quarter score. The Terrapins did add a third touchdown late in the fourth quarter with the game all but official.
The win moves Michigan to 3-0 in Big Ten play, and the Wolverines now sit in front of both Penn State and Michigan State in the Big Ten standings after the Nittany Lions lost last week and the Spartans went down at home on Saturday. Michigan will still have to play both of those division foes of course, as well as Ohio State, so it’s not time to start speculating about Michigan contending for the Big Ten title just yet. However, the defense remains the strength of the team and the offense continues to look consistent enough to make some noise in the Big Ten race.
Next up for Michigan is a big one. The Wolverines host Wisconsin next weekend. The Badgers will likely come to Michigan Stadium with a 4-1 record (assuming they beat Nebraska) and a top 15 ranking, The game against Wisconsin will open a challenging three-game stretch with games against Michigan State on the road and home against Penn State to follow. If Michigan gets through that stretch no worse than 2-1, it’s game on for a Big Ten title run.
Maryland will look for a rebound win next week when they host Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights lost at home to Illinois on Saturday and are now 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten.