No. 22 Penn State Has What It Needs To Snap Losing Streak Against Maryland

Story posted November 4, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Nolan Wick

On Saturday, November 6, the No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions will face the Maryland Terrapins down in College Park, Maryland, with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m.

Penn State comes into this matchup with three consecutive losses, as it lost 33-24 against Ohio State last Saturday in Columbus. Maryland, meanwhile, defeated Indiana 38-35 at home last week after falling to Minnesota the previous week.

Both teams have identical records. Each team is 2-3 in the Big Ten and 5-3 overall. This matchup could have big implications on the final division standings as we enter the final four games of the season.

Penn State and Maryland alike have arguably had disappointing seasons so far. Despite quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa performing well, the Terps still haven’t made much of an impact in college football. Penn State, meanwhile, had a serious shot at making the College Football Playoff before losing to Illinois.

The all-time series is incredibly lopsided in Penn State’s favor. The Nittany Lions own a 40-3-1 record against the Terps.

Maryland won last season’s matchup 35-19 in an empty Beaver Stadium, and before that its last win against Penn State was in 2014, as the Terps edged the Nittany Lions, 20-19 in Happy Valley.

Saturday’s game in College Park is an ideal opportunity for the Nittany Lions to get back on track.

With Sean Clifford fully healthy, all Penn State needs to do is continue playing its game. If the Nittany Lions play the way they did against Ohio State, for example, it will likely result in a win for the blue and white.

There is no reason to believe Penn State’s defense won’t perform the way it usually does, as Maryland scores an average 29.25 points per game. Brent Pry’s defense, however, has limited opponents to an average 17.00 points per game.

Maryland has some talented players on both sides of the ball. Its best offensive player, wideout Dontay Demus Jr., was performing well until suffering a season-ending injury against Iowa. Fellow wideout Rakim Jarrett is also a threat.

Running back Tayon Fleet-Davis is not a man to underestimate, while defensive back Nick Cross leads the team in tackles and interceptions.

Maryland’s scariest weapon, however, has to be its quarterback Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa has 2,384 passing yards and 17 touchdowns, which is second in both categories in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

Tagovailoa has one major weakness, though. He has thrown eight interceptions, which is tied for first in the conference with Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell. Penn State’s secondary will be all over this.

Although Maryland has very talented players, Penn State is simply the better team. When Clifford is under center, the offense is firing on all cylinders, as wideouts Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington present challenges to every defense they face.

The defense is on an entirely different level. In 29 opponent red zone touchdown attempts, only eight have resulted in such.

Maryland is yet to beat a ranked Big Ten team while it has been in the conference. Will it finally do so with Penn State having three losses in a row? Or, will this be the game that Penn State finally snaps its losing streak and gets its season back on track?

Prediction: Penn State 31, Maryland 10


Nolan Wick is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact him, email nhw5046@psu.edu.