Maryland’s 42-21 loss to Michigan on Oct. 6 saw the Terps completely vulnerable on the offensive end. Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) was only able to registered 220 total offensive yards, while starting quarterback Kasim Hill managed to throw for 62 yards and an interception.
Going into Maryland’s homecoming matchup against Rutgers (1-5, 0-3), interim head coach Matt Canada is looking for the team to step up on offense especially the receivers, who he feels need to get the ball more.
“We’ve got to get them the football more,” Canada said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “In the three games we’ve won, everything was good. In two games we’ve lost, everything was bad.”
When you look at the Terps’ two losses against Temple and Michigan, their receivers played a small role and Hill threw for less than 100 yards. Grant it, Michigan has one of the best defenses in college football, and it was hard for Hill to get the ball out of his hands without being sacked.
Even though Maryland’s strength for the past few seasons has been its running game, having a solid passing game allows the Terps to be more versatile and hard to defend.
“We’ve got very good talent at wideout and we want them to play,” Canada said. “I think one of the good things about our offense is a lot of guys touch the ball. I mean if you look at the stats—I don’t know what the number is because I don’t—but a lot of guys have touched the ball both catching and running.”
Maryland’s receiving core, which consist of freshman Jeshaun Jones, junior D.J. Turner and graduate student Taivon Jacobs has shown flashes of potential during the season. Jones tallied a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown in Maryland’s season opening win against Texas. Turner, a DeMatha product, averages 12.2 yards per reception.
“We’ve got to play better at times,” Canada said. “Our receivers are working hard, I’m excited to see them touch the ball more, which we can say is all on me, but we’ve all got to do our job. They’re playing well and we’ve just got to get them more involved in the game.”
Maryland won’t have worry about competing against a top ranked defense as Rutgers–who has lost its last three games–has allowed 36 points per game. The Scarlet Knights even gave up 50 plus points twice this season. One thing Maryland will be looking to do is control the ball and strategizing against Rutgers’ special teams.
“We have to take care of the football and that’s always something I’m going to answer first,” Canada said. “The turnover margin is always a really big deal, so we have to take care of the football. Their special teams jumps off the film, they play extremely hard in special teams as far as blocking kicks, their kickoff coverage team is amazing they are flying down the field so when you look at that, that’s where you start when you see a team that does that you see how well coached they are how hard they play.”