2017 football season review: Maryland Terrapins
After debuting by leading Maryland to a bowl in 2016, DJ Durkin’s program took a step back this season. Chalk it up to injury and growing pains for a young-but-promising program that teems with talent.
A series of injuries forced Durkin to use five different quarterbacks this season. As a result, the Terps watched a 3-1 start melt into a 1-7 finish. First, Tyrrell Pigrome was lost for the year with a knee injury in an opening win vs. Texas. Then, promising true freshman Kasim Hill went down with a season-ending knee injury in a 38-10 loss vs. Central Florida in the third game of the season. Then, in the fifth game of the year, Maryland had to use fourth-stringer Caleb Henderson when third-stringer Max Bortenschlager got dinged in a 62-14 evisceration at Ohio State. Even walk-on Ryan Brand saw some action later in the year. Add those offensive woes with a defense that ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring (37.1 ppg) and 13th in total defense (419.4 ypg), and you have a recipe for failure.
Record: 4-8 overall; 2-7 Big Ten/T6th East
High point: It came in the opener, when Maryland waltzed into Austin, Texas, and dumped the No. 23 Longhorns, 51-41, to spoil Tom Herman’s debut. The victory snapped a 17-game losing streak to ranked teams, as the Terps scored three non-offensive touchdowns and ran for 263 yards. But the win was costly, as starting QB Tyrrell Pigrome was lost for the season with a knee injury. It was a portend of things to come for a Maryland program that was beset with injuries at quarterback all season.
Low point: There were many in a forgettable season. There was a 62-14 pounding at Ohio State in which the Terrapins had as many total yards as penalty yards (66), with a paltry 16 yards passing. And there was a 66-3 drubbing at the hands of Penn State in the finale, Maryland’s most lopsided defeat since a 63-0 loss to Florida State in 2013. But perhaps no loss was more dubious than the 31-24 defeat at Rutgers. Maryland was forced to use walk-on quarterback Ryan Brand after third-teamer Max Bortenschlager left the game after taking a big hit.
Offensive MVP: WR DJ Moore. The lone beacon in an otherwise dreary season saw Moore earn Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors. He is the first Terp wide receiver to earn first-team all-conference since Torrey Smith (ACC) in 2010. The 5-11, 215-pound junior set the school single-season mark of 80 receptions, breaking the record of 77 held by Geroy Simon in 1994, and became only the third Maryland receiver to have a 1,000-yard season.
Defensive MVP: S Darnell Savage, Jr. A case could be made for CB CJ Jackson, as he and Savage were both consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selections. But let’s give the nod to the 5-10, 191-pound Savage, a junior who had 59 tackles with three interceptions. He ran back one pick 75 yards for a TD.