Maryland, behind its stingy defense, has started the season 3-1. But the football program has gotten far more coverage for the worst possible reason. On May 29, rising sophomore lineman Jordan McNair suffered heatstroke at a workout. On June 14, the 19-year-old died from those symptoms. Head coach D.J. Durkin, formerly Michigan’s defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh, has been on administrative leave since Aug. 11.
New information on the tragedy continues to come out. Maryland’s athletic director said this week he received “inaccurate information” in the immediate aftermath of McNair’s death. A McNair family attorney wants the Maryland board of regents to take responsibility for the death.
Meanwhile, Durkin, who coached at Michigan for the 2015 season before landing the top job at fellow Big Ten East school Maryland, remains on leave. First-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada is the interim head coach.
Maryland will visit Ann Arbor next Saturday (noon, ABC) for Michigan’s homecoming game.
The Terrapins beat Texas, a top-25 team then and now, in a thrilling opener. They won at Bowling Green 45-14. They lost to Temple 35-14, but bounced back with a 42-13 thumping in their Big Ten opener against Minnesota. Maryland was off this weekend, Michigan’s third opponent already this season that will have extra time to prepare.
The Wolverines improved to 4-1 on Saturday with a comeback victory at Northwestern for their fourth straight victory. Michigan trailed 17-0 early in the second quarter but took its first lead on a touchdown with 4:06 left and won 20-17.
Michigan held Northwestern to just 202 yards. Maryland’s defense has been very good this season as well. Heading into this weekend’s games, the Terrapins were 15th in the country in yards per play allowed. Offensively, they ran all over Bowling Green and Minnesota. They were shut down by Temple. Three running backs have between 27 and 40 carries on the season. Sophomore quarterback Kasim Hill is 42 of 76 (55 percent) with three touchdowns and one interception.
Since Maryland won in Ann Arbor in 2014, the school’s first year in the Big Ten. Michigan has outscored the Terps 122-13 in the three meetings since, including a 35-10 victory in College Park last November. Brandon Peters was the starting quarterback for Michigan that day. The Wolverines led 28-0 halfway through the second quarter.