Josh Jackson's recent struggles are sinking the Terrapins
The third-year transfer from Virginia Tech began the season strong, leading the University of Maryland Terrapins to a 2-0 start. He routed Howard and the 21st-ranked Syracuse by a combined score of 142-20. Though he was not perfect, he made the plays when he needed to and was developing into the quarterback that Maryland's head coach Mike Locksley expected him to be.
During that time, Jackson completed 58 percent of his passes, threw for 541 yards and seven touchdowns. It was clear that he was finding a rhythm with sophomore receiver Dontay Demus Jr. His development was also aided by a strong running attack led by sophomore running back Anthony McFarland Jr and junior running back Javon Leake. The offense was playing well before the team hit a snag.
Jackson's accuracy dropped significantly, completing only 44 percent of his passes in the following five games. During that stretch of going 1-4, he passed for only 524 yards and had a touchdown-interception ratio of 3:4. Although the blame to his accuracy woes could go on that ugly-looking ankle injury he suffered in the 48-7 loss to Rutgers, it was not significant of an injury to hinder his performance by so much. He is getting his running backs involved in the passing game but he needs to find a way to rediscover that rhythm with his receivers again to get the offense rolling.
After Demus (32 receptions), the player second on the team in catches is sophomore tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (18). Everyone else on the team has less than 15 catches. The Terrapins got blown out by Michigan and Penn State by a combined score of 97-7. If Jackson does not find a way to improve his accuracy and be more effective in the vertical game, Maryland's season will be lost.
There is no guarantee Jackson will remain the starter as both him and junior quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome have taken first-team reps during practice this week. The Terrapins will be on the road in their next matchup with the No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday at 12pm EST.