Game Preview: Maryland
Saturday’s matchup between No. 10 Penn State and Maryland marks the season finale to the 2017 regular season. Penn State is looking to finish 10-2 and virtually lock up an appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl. Meanwhile, Maryland is looking to upset the Nittany Lions and gain some momentum going into next season.
Penn State is coming off a big Senior Day win over Nebraska. While the score says it was relatively close, the Cornhuskers scored three touchdowns late to make the game look more respectable. The Nittany Lions tied a season high with 56 points.
Saquon Barkley returned to his dominant-self against Nebraska as he racked up 224 total yards and three touchdowns. He also broke the Penn State career touchdown record with 39 rushing touchdowns in his illustrious career. Trace McSorley added 325 yards and four total touchdowns.
The Terrapins are coming off a tough 17-7 loss to Michigan State that eliminated them from bowl game contention. Maryland did a great job of holding Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke to 20 yards, but their offense couldn’t do enough against a tough Spartan defense.
Penn State is entering this matchup as overwhelming favorites as they are listed as 21 point favorites on the road. The explosiveness of Barkley and McSorley could make this game a blowout in the first half.
Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014 and actually beat the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in their first matchup in the Big Ten. If history is any indication, the Nittany Lions look to be huge favorites. Penn State holds a 37-2-1 record over the Terrapins, with Maryland’s only wins being in 1961 and 2014.
Last year, Penn State dominated Maryland from the second quarter in route to a 38-14 win. This year has the look of a similar result even though the Terrapins have been competitive in several games this season, including a big win over Texas to open the season.
For Maryland to have any chance of winning this game, they are going to need to play much better on defense. The Terrapins rank No. 13 in the Big Ten in scoring defense (34.5 PPG). Maryland will need to get pressure on Trace McSorley and hope to force him into some mistakes.
But the key for the Terps has to be stopping Saquon Barkley. Barkley has been dominant against Maryland in his career, including 202 yards in last year’s matchup. Maryland has struggled against the run and it won’t get any easier this week facing Saquon Barkley.
Maryland has dealt with several injuries to the quarterback position and that has played a major role into their lack of offensive success. Max Bortenschlager will need to make plays against a tough Penn State defense in order to keep the Terrapins in the game this Saturday.
Penn State is looking to finish the season strong at 10-2, while Maryland wants to finish the season with a big upset over a top 10 team when these team’s matchup at 3:30 p.m. at Capital One Field.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.