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The Most Surprising Stat Of All: Maryland Ranks Last Nationally In Kick Returning

Coming into the season Torrey Smith was undoubtedly the best player on the Maryland roster. He was coming off an All-ACC selection and there was nothing that led us to believe that he wouldn't challenge some of the records he had just set.

He is a game breaker at wide receiver but his biggest contribution over his career has come as a kick returner where he ranked among the best in the Nation last year. With an inconsistent defense and a rebuilding offense the special teams, more specifically Smith's kick return unit, was something we looked at as a guaranteed strength heading into the season. That as they say, is why they play the games.

After five games this season Maryland is sitting at a pretty impressive 4-1 considering they only won two games all of last season. But the kickoff return game isn't contributing at all. In fact it could arguably be the Maryland's worst unit. Eric Prisbell of Terrpins Insider at the Washington Post points out that Maryland ranks dead last nationally in terms of yards per kickoff return with just 17.17.

For comparison Smith averaged 25.7 yards per attempt while amassing more than 1,300 yards on kickoff returns last year.

The fact that they are relying on things other than what they are best at means that success might be harder to find when they start to face other opponents. That's why Ben Broman called their 4-1 record fools gold and ranked them eighth in our inaugural ACC rankings.

Of course Smith has been fighting nagging injuries so production could spike when he becomes healthy, but it is still a surprising stat to see. If you had told me to guess which stat Maryland would be the worst nationally in I would have never guessed kick returning.