Maryland football’s Week 3 win over Virginia wrapped up what’s become a yearly routine: beating up on inferior nonconference opponents.

The Terps are 3-0 for the third straight year and boast impressive numbers across the board. Maryland is second in the Big Ten in points per game, and its defense has allowed only two touchdowns.

But all those numbers come with a caveat. Michael Locksley’s team has beaten a Football Championship Subdivision squad, an American Athletic Conference team with a new head coach and perhaps the worst Power Five team in the country.

Ahead of Big Ten play, let’s take a look at some Maryland stats and where they rank in the conference to answer a simple question: Is this real?

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Will Maryland finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten in sacks (currently ninth)?

The hope here would be that the Terps are dominating the line of scrimmage against inferior talent and just not finishing. Another theory is that three blowouts have given Maryland’s best pass rushers time to rest on the bench with backups playing the bulk of snaps.

The Terps rank 10th in the Big Ten in pressures, per Sports Info Solutions. That comes despite score differentials that should create pass-heavy situations. Virginia quarterback Anthony Colandrea threw 39 passes against Maryland and was sacked just twice.

He was pressured on just 11 of 45 drop-backs (24.4%). The Cavaliers allowed pressure on just over 37% of drop-backs through their first two games, according to SIS.

Diving into individual player stats yields similar results. Pro Football Focus’ pass-rush productivity stat combines sacks, hits and hurries, and weighs them relative to the number of pass-rush snaps players get.

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No Maryland player ranks among the Big Ten’s top 10 in the metric for players with at least 20 pass-rush snaps. Only one, Isaac Bunyan at No. 13, is in the top 20.

The top three Terps in pass-rush snaps rank as follows:

“We can still work on a few things,” linebacker Donnell Brown, who’s 23rd in the stat, said. “We can just rush better as a team and just keep perfecting our craft as far as moves and different tactics.”

Freshman four-star edge rusher Neeo Avery has yet to play due to injury. Locksley called him an “impact player.” But as of now it looks like opposing quarterbacks will have plenty of time when they face the Terps.

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VERDICT: REAL

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Will Maryland be in the Big Ten’s bottom five in sacks allowed (currently tied for fifth)?

Maryland’s much-maligned offensive line has not imploded — yet. The Terps are still shuffling that unit; center remains an open battle between Aric Harris and Mike Purcell, while Gottlieb Ayedze played his first game against Virginia and split snaps almost evenly at right guard and right tackle.

“We gave up some pressures,” Locksley said. “Fortunately for us, our quarterback has the ability to be elusive in the pocket.”

That escapability has been a defining trait for Taulia Tagovailoa this year. He has routinely made free rushers miss and escaped the pocket. Just 6.9% of his pressures have turned into sacks, per PFF. He was at 23.8% in 2022 and hovered around the 20% mark in his first two years as a starter.

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That figure’s regression to the quarterback’s career average, along with the sheer volume of pass attempts — he’s third in the Big Ten despite being subbed out in multiple games — means sacks are likely coming.

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VERDICT: NOT REAL

Will Corey Dyches finish in the top five nationwide in receiving yards among tight ends (currently first)?

Dyches, the unquestioned top tight end after splitting time with CJ Dippre last year, ranks fourth among Terps in pass-play snaps and is second in targets, per PFF.

He’s the only tight end and one of just two pass catchers in the country with at least 16 targets who has turned each of those opportunities into catches, according to PFF.

Among the 18 tight ends with at least 16 targets, Dyches is first in receiving yards, yards per route run and passer rating when targeted.

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The Terps have had issues with drops all year. Tagovailoa has had nine passes dropped through three games, tied for the fourth-highest mark in the nation, per PFF. None has been by Dyches. That’s a perfect way to develop your quarterback’s trust. Expect the tight end to continue contributing.

VERDICT: REAL

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