Weekly Gameplan: Terps Look to Bounce Back vs. South Florida


Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; University of South Florida Bulls running back D’Ernest Johnson (32) runs the ball for a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland suffered an embarrassing home loss to Bowling Green in Week 2 and will look to bounce back Saturday against USF.

South Florida, of the American Athletic Conference, is coming off of a 34-14 loss at the hands of the Florida State Seminoles. The only difference is, no one expected the Bulls to come out victorious. The expectations were much higher for the Terps and they came up well short. But, that’s the past and now, it’s time to look ahead to their next opponent.

Game Details:

When: Saturday Sept. 19 @ 12 p.m.

Where: Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.

How to Watch: ESPNU; WatchESPN

Opposing Players to Watch:

Flowers is a dual-threat quarterback who the Maryland defensive front will certainly need to account for. He’s young and still developing as a passer, but the kid is talented. He’s played fairly well through two weeks, tossing four touchdowns to two interceptions. As vulnerable as the Terps were last week in the passing game, don’t be surprised to see the Bulls air it out.

Sep 5, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Marlon Mack (5) scores a touchdown in the second half against the Florida A & M Rattlers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Mack is the most dangerous player on this South Florida offense. The sophomore rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season and scored nine times. Through two games in 2015, he has totaled 214 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries. The Terps held Mack to 73 yards and no scores in last year’s meeting. The run defense looked decent against Bowling Green, but we’ll see how they hold up this week.

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Johnson is another impact sophomore on the Bulls’ offense. He has really emerged as a breakout star through the first two games. Johnson currently leads the team in touchdown receptions (4) and receiving yards (166). All of this coming from a running back is quite impressive. Maryland’s pass defense was exposed last week, so look for Johnson to get the ball early and often in this one.

Sanchez started all 12 games for USF in 2014, recording 65 tackles, two for loss, an interception, and a fumble return for a touchdown. Even as a sophomore, he’s one of the defensive leaders for the Bulls. Expect him to be all over the field on Saturday. If South Florida’s defense is on point, just know that Sanchez is the ringleader.

Three Things to Watch

1. How will USF handle Likely?

Why do teams continue to kick to Will Likely? That is the age-old question. He is a dynamic punt returner who has scored in both of the Terps’ games this season. South Florida’s punter, Mattias Ciabatti, was named to the Ray Guy award watch list. A player of his caliber should know better than to kick to one of the most dangerous players in the country.

2. Defense looks to rebound

Maryland’s defense did not come to play last Saturday against Bowling Green. And if they did, that’s not a good sign of things to come. The run defense was solid for the most part, not allowing the big play. On the other hand, they gave up plenty of big plays through the air. The Terps will have their hands full with the weapons that USF has in their arsenal.

3. Re-establishing the running attack

Maryland’s ground game got off to a quick start with a dominant performance in Week 1, but they were brought back down to size in Week 2, only tallying 156 yards, 94 of those coming from Perry Hills. The running backs will have to get it going again on Saturday or it could be a very long day for the Terps.


After going back and forth for a little bit, I decided that Maryland will, indeed, bounce back this week. It will be far from easy, however. The Bulls will make some plays, given their explosive weapons. But, so too, will Maryland. The Terps secondary will rebound from last week’s horrendous performance and give the run defense some help. Also, new starting quarterback, Caleb Rowe, will look fairly comfortable and be able to manage the game for Maryland.

Maryland 23, USF 20

Next: Big Ten Players of the Week

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