Ann Arbor- After a much-needed bye week, the Maryland football team charges into the teeth of the BIG10 elite. The Terps are walking in to the “Big House” for Michigan’s homecoming game. Both teams bolster hard-nosed, run stopping defenses, and elite running back groups. But the Michigan Wolverines are easily the toughest opponent the Terps have faced this season, and things could quickly get out of hand.
The Maryland Terps (3-1, 1-0 BIG10) are 1-6 all time against the Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 BIG10) . Including a 35-10 drubbing in College Park last season. Maryland won their first BIG10 game against the Wolverines, in Brady Hoke’s last game as head coach back in 2014. Since then the Wolverines have ripped off 3 straight.
Key To Victory
Establish the run – Although the Terps average more than 250 yards on the ground per game (258.5ypg), they are facing a top 10 rush defense. Anthony McFarland and Ty Johnson can strike from any spot on the field behind a stout offensive line. McFarland is averaging a huge 10.8 yards per carry on 27 carries. The Maryland offensive line needs to start fast and dominate at the point of attack. The offensive line led by Damian Prince and Derwin Gray should be back to full speed after the bye week, both having missed sometime due to nagging injuries. The Wolverines defense allows a little more than 86 yards a game on the ground (86.4ypg), so this will be no easy feat.
Play mistake free football – At times the Terps have certainly looked sloppy, averaging more than nine penalties, and 90.5 penalty yards per game, the second-most in the Big Ten. With a top 10 defense like Wolverines the Terps will not be able to afford these types of mistakes.
“We can’t have penalties,” Canada said. “You can’t beat yourselves, and certainly we’ve had that happen in a couple games where we’ve cost ourselves some opportunities.”
Kasim Hill has to show up – For as explosive as the Terps offense has been the weakest link is certainly the play of sophomore quarterback Kasim Hill. The Terps offense is a feast or famine type offense they have had 15 plays for 25 or more yards, but have struggled to sustain drives. Luckily, the Terps haven’t needed to call on Hill much, with the shear dominance the run game has been able to accomplish. Back in week three the Temple Owls came into College Park with a simple yet effective game plan, STOP THE RUN. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 7 for 17 for 56 yards, and backup Tyrrell Pigrome was 1 for 4 for 7 yards. Both threw an interception. The Wolverines are going to have the same exact game plan, stop the run, and make Hill beat us. The Terps are going to need more from Kasim Hill if they want to be victorious at the Big House.
Slow down Karan Higdon – Karan Higdon has been an absolute mauler for the Wolverines this season, with 76 carries for 479 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Higdon is coming off a solid game, ripping off 31 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern. But, the Terps have a solid run defense, led upfront by transfers Tre Watson and Byron Cowart. The run defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten at 104 yards allowed per game and just 2.7 per rush. The Terrapins defense should come in with similar game plan to the Wolverines, stop the run, and make the quarterback beat you. Unfortunately i think the Wolverines have the advantage with transfer junior Shea Patterson. Much like Kasim Hill, Patterson has not been asked to do much as the offense is centered around the run game.
Michigan 33 Maryland 17
- When: Saturday October 6th, 12:00pm
- Where: Michigan Stadium, “THE BIG HOUSE”, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Radio: 105.7TheFan
- TV: ABC
Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun