Tough stretch will put Terps to test

Baltimore Sun - - WEATHER - Don.markus@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sport­sprof56

3.5 de­grees above nor­mal about go­ing back to Ann Ar­bor, Durkin seemed to chuckle.

“Uh, no,” he said. “Just fo­cus on try­ing to get our team bet­ter and im­prove on what we need to come out of the game.” The Terps have a lot to im­prove on. A de­fense that had shut down Michi­gan State the pre­vi­ous week in the sec­ond half of a 28-17 home win got run over by In­di­ana for 414 of the of­fense’s 650 yards in Satur­day’s 42-36 loss. Three Hoosiers ran for over 100 yards each.

“We’ve got to do a bet­ter job of ex­e­cut­ing what’s called and play­ing within the scheme,” Durkin said Mon­day. “Ob­vi­ously we’re young in spots and didn’t ex­e­cute within the scheme. If we did, I think it could have been a whole lot bet­ter for us.”

An of­fense that made sev­eral key plays down the stretch against the Spar­tans — par­tic­u­larly by fifth-year quar­ter­back Perry Hills — missed a few early chances on long passes and then Hills fum­bled twice in the fourth quar­ter.

“There were some great catches on that film,” Durkin said. “D.J. Moore’s touch­down play [late in the first half to give Mary­land its first lead of the game] was one of the best that I’ve seen. There were def­i­nitely a lot of pos­i­tives.

“We had a cou­ple of times we had guys 10 yards be­hind cov­er­age. We just have to fin­ish when we ex­e­cute those plays. If we did, then it’s prob­a­bly a dif­fer­ent game. The pos­i­tives are that we’ve been able to cre­ate some ways to get guys open.” It’s not go­ing to be easy. Un­der for­mer Mary­land de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Don Brown, Michi­gan ranks first in scor­ing de­fense (11.6 points a game) in the Big Ten, with Ohio State third and Ne­braska fourth. The Wolver­ines are first in over­all de­fense (231.3 yards a game) with the Buck­eyes sec­ond and the Corn­huskers fourth.

Durkin seemed an­noyed af­ter Satur­day’s game when a re­porter asked him about the “next phase” of the sched­ule.

“The next phase is the next game, it al­ways will be,” Durkin said. “Game1, Game 12, game what­ever. That’s how you have to func­tion. That’s how our guys will func­tion. So I will con­tinue to answer that ques­tion the same way. We’re cer­tainly not go­ing to look at things big pic­ture-wise. Satur­day, 3:30 p.m. TV: ESPN Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: Michi­gan by 311⁄ more than Quar­ter­back Perry Hills gets sacked in Satur­day’s loss to In­di­ana. As the Terps head into a tough three-game stretch, coach D.J. Durkin is still try­ing to fig­ure out the per­son­al­ity of his team. “We’re a team that’s still find­ing who we are and learn­ing how to win,” he said.

“This game will be a loss be­cause they’re re­ally good and we’re not as good as them. No, we’re go­ing to fig­ure out the best way to win the next game. The next game is at Michi­gan next Satur­day, a week from to­day. So we have a week to get our team ready to play that game.”

The last time the Terps played ranked teams in three straight games was 2004, when Mary­land beat No. 5 Florida State at home and then lost at No. 12 Vir­ginia and No. 15 Vir­ginia Tech.

The 20-17 win over the Semi­noles that year was the only time in the pro­gram’s his­tory that Mary­land beat a team ranked in the top 5 when the Terps were un­ranked.

Michi­gan is the first ranked team Mary­land has played un­der Durkin.

While Mary­land won its first two road games against Florida In­ter­na­tional and Cen­tral Florida — need­ing dou­ble-over­time to beat UCF on Sept. 17 — the Terps have not fared well on the road in the Big Ten.

In losses to Penn State (38-14 on Oct. 8) and In­di­ana, Mary­land fell be­hind dou­ble dig­its in the first half. Though the Terps came back to take the lead Satur­day on Moore’s 23-yard touch­down catch with 30 sec­onds left in the first half, they were out­played badly for much of the sec­ond half.

Durkin is still try­ing to fig­ure out the per­son­al­ity of his team.

“We’ve had games on the road this year where I felt we’ve been very en­er­getic and played well and re­sponded well to ad­ver­sity, and then also ob­vi­ously had games when we haven’t,” he said Mon­day. “It’s hard to put your fin­ger on ex­actly what that is, but we’re a team that’s still find­ing who we are and learn­ing how to win and learn­ing how to con­sis­tently per­form.

“What­ever our max level is, we need to con­sis­tently per­form at that. We’re not do­ing that right now. It’s part of the pro­gres­sion in learn­ing how to build a pro­gram. We’re go­ing to keep at it, keep ad­dress­ing it and talk­ing about it un­til our guys un­der­stand it and re­al­ize it. We’ve got to get it cor­rected.”

ANDY LYONS/GETTY IM­AGES

By Alex Sos­nowski, Ac­cuWeather se­nior me­te­o­rol­o­gist The batch of Cana­dian air that brought al­low for the un­sea­son­able warmth sea­son­able tem­per­a­tures at the start lin­ger­ing over the South Cen­tral of the week will be pushed out to sea. states to ex­pand north­east­ward. Tem­per­a­tures are fore­cast to re­bound Tem­per­a­tures will climb into the 70s on to near-sea­son­able lev­els by Tues­day Wed­nes­day and may chal­lenge record af­ter­noon as winds be­gin to blow highs, within a few de­grees of 80 F, on from the south. Dur­ing Wed­nes­day Thurs­day. The record in Bal­ti­more on and Thurs­day, south­west winds will Thurs­day is 82, set in 1990. Late in the week, the jet stream will dive to­ward the south in North­east­ern states. This path­way for weather sys­tems high in the at­mos­phere will di­rect more sea­son­able air across much of Mary­land and Vir­ginia.

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