The circumstances seemed ripe. A victory would have given the Maryland-Terrapins something positive, an appropriate way to end a week of chaos. But after a chaotic series of events in which DJ Durkins served as head coach before training on Tuesday and was shot after training on Wednesday, Maryland fought Michigan State on Saturday.
The Terps' offense failed to find a sense of rhythm in the 24-3 defeat at Maryland Stadium, much as the unit has done this season against other strong defenders. Maryland (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) had only 100 assists against the Spartans (6-3, 4-2) instead of an inspired performance with a selection of cups.
Maryland fell 14 points in the fourth quarter and almost had a break. Defensive lineman Byron Cowart intercepted a pass and nearly reached the end zone, but he fumbled and Michigan State recovered for a touchback. At the next game, Spartan Connor Heyward scored a touchdown of 80 yards. What would have become a seven-point deficit after seven minutes of play, led to a lead of 21 points in favor of the state of Michigan.
"Our kids are disappointed because they did not play their best football," interim coach Matt Canada said. "And we were still there. We get that score, it's 17 to 10, still 11 minutes. We are right in the game. "
Although some members of the team were pushed back on social media and leaving a team meeting following Durkin's brief return to the post, the Saturday game was the first time this week that players really controlled the outcome of a situation. All other events of the week, which had a close impact on the life of the program participants, had been left up to 17 members of the Board of Directors and the University Administration.
Canada said he could not speak as the events this week influenced the players, and the media were not provided players after the loss.
"They had a big week, a challenging week," said Canada. "That's the great thing about this game. We went outside today and played soccer. And our boys were ready to play. "
Ellis McKennie – the offensive lineman who grew up this week by Jordan McNair and became one of the team's most prominent voices – wore the # 79 Tribute flag on the field and set the stage for a couple of hours of motivated play. But now the Terps have to wait another week to get the bowl ready.
Saturday's game was reminiscent of the street match against Iowa when the Hawkeyes deemed the Terps scoreless. Maryland opened the game against Michigan State with some spasmodic offensive series under windy conditions. The defense of the Spartans has fired Maryland's quarterbacks five times, and when starter Kasim Hill had time to throw, he missed the receivers several times. Tyrrell Pigrome came into play in the fourth quarter and offensive production did not improve.
Hill completed 8 of 21 passes for 74 yards, and Pigrome threw incompleteness on all three attempts.
Apart from the passing woes, the attack barely worked against the state of Michigan, which has the best defense in the country. Including sacks Maryland won only 26 meters on the ground. After Ty Johnson left the game last week with a calf, he no longer played on Saturday, leaving Maryland without one of the best opponents.
"We did not get in here because we think we would let the ball go over them," Canada said.
If the five sacks of the Terps counted as Runs are eliminated, Maryland had the same number of Rushing and Passing games, although he spent most of the season with a run-heavy offense.
Throughout the game, Maryland had missed out on crucial moments and did not seize the opportunity to offer a glimmer of hope.
After the Terps defended themselves, the Terps defense allowed a fourth downdown on a ride that ended with a touchdown. In the second quarter, Maryland fought for a fourth race, but retired five yards thanks to a false start and thumped.
A well-placed punt pushed the state of Michigan near its end zone later in the first half, and the Terps defense was almost certain, but the Spartans gained importance with the game. When Maryland had an optimal field position after RaVon Davis intercepted a Michigan State Pass, the Terps managed to reach third place with 18 yards and had to punt. The Terps later lost defensive lineman Mbi Tanyi after hitting a punch.
"We only need to find a way to make critical games in critical times," said Canada. ". , , When you play in a team like Michigan State, every drive is important. "
After the chaos, other students lined the field as the team went out and showed unified support for the program. At the end of the game, however, only a large contingent of fans from Michigan State remained in the stands and Maryland left the field with a loss in hand.
"I hope that our children come tomorrow as every other day, look at each other and wish that we had won," said Canada. "But we are still here together and still have 20 days to enjoy it, to be each other. That's football. "
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