After a loss to Temple on Sept. 15 that made you want to look away for most of the game, Maryland football responded with a convincing 42-13 win over Minnesota to open Big Ten play on Saturday.

The offense got its groove back, with the Terps rushing for 321 yards between nine different ball carriers, but it was the defense that really impressed in the victory over the Gophers.

Maryland held Minnesota to only 263 total yards, and the Gophers passing attack was nowhere to be found. True freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad went 14-for-32 passing for only 169 yards and two interceptions.

The picks may have come from Ravon Davis and Tre Watson, but the real star Maryland’s defensive backfield was junior cornerback Tino Ellis.

Ellis had a season-high five pass breakups on Saturday, matching the five he had all of last season, and bringing his season total up to seven. Annexstad decided to test Ellis, and it did not work out in his favor.

Annexstad first threw at Ellis on his team’s second drive, but the former DeMatha star timed his closeout perfectly and gave a little finger-wag after his big play.

The next time he was targeted was on a throw to the end zone. Ellis did a perfect job of just using his body to run the receiver out of bounds.

The next Ellis breakup was called a completion on the field, but the review showed that the former wide receiver got his hand in there to force the incompletion on an important early third down.

Ellis was then able to pick up a tackle for loss, reading a screen pass all the way and timing it perfectly to make the takedown.

The Terps corner then made his best play of the day, running with his receiver down the sideline and turning to almost make a spectacular interception.

Although he couldn’t quite force the turnover, Ellis showed on this play why he has so much skill, and why he was rated as the best cornerback in college football in week one by Pro Football Focus.

Ellis allowed only two catches on the day. One was a great one-handed catch, and the other was this touchdown that he was beaten on.

But this was really the only blemish on a great performance from Ellis against the Gophers.

The junior out of Reisterstown, Maryland has been great through four games this season, and has highlighted a much-improved Maryland defensive backfield.

Despite the loss of JC Jackson to the NFL, transfers Marcus Lewis and Rayshad Lewis and senior RaVon Davis have combined with Ellis to shut down the opposing passing game. Maryland’s opponents have thrown for only 209.8 yards per game this season, the lowest mark against the Terps since 2012.

Ellis has been the star of the secondary thus far. If he continues this high level of play, the Terps could see a cornerback leave a year early for the second straight season.