December 7, 2019

Maryland Football: Terps have one last chance to get a conference win by amending last year’s “worst loss”

When the Maryland Terrapins blew a 25 point lead to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights last year, Director of Football Operations Fran Foley called it the “worst loss” during his tenure at the time. Luckily of Maryland, Gary Nova is no longer the quarterback at Rutgers but on the other hand the Terps have lost nearly all of their offensive weapons from a year ago. The 4-7 Scarlet Knights are also out of postseason contention, so Saturday will be a game of pride between both clubs.

Last week against Indiana, things got ugly for the Terps when starting quarterback Perry Hills had to sit out of the game due to having mono. Caleb Rowe started out well for Maryland in a backup role, but the problem was compounded when recently converted fullback, Shane Cockerille, had to start the second half under center when Rowe exited with a concussion. Maryland plans for Hills to return to his starting role on Saturday as he is listed as QB1 and that could help the Terps attack Rutgers the same way they did last year.

(Photo by: Washington Post)

(Photo by: Washington Post)

Maryland’s early success last year was fueled by 215 yards on the ground split evenly between Brandon Ross and then starting quarterback C.J. Brown. With Ross coming off of a career game with 245 yards rushing to go along with three touchdowns, there is no reason why Mike Locksley should not dial up many more players for the senior back. Rutgers allows 166.5 rush yards per game, so expect to see success from the Terps on all running plays including read-options which were unable to be executed without Hills last week.

Rutgers pass defense is not as bad as the Hoosiers, but they are still around the bottom tenth of the FBS. When Hills is in the game Locksley could dial up deep balls to Malcolm Culmer or another one of the Terps young receivers, but expect Caleb Rowe, if cleared to play, to get a few plays to try and dissect the Rutgers secondary. Of course, Maryland has struggled with interceptions with an FBS leading 28 on the year, but they actually had their first week without a turnover last week.

Like Maryland, Rutgers will also like to stay away from getting into a one-dimensional passing offense. Sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano has struggled mightily in recent conference games against the likes of stout defenses of Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Laviano has a raw QBR of under 12, out of 100, with 5 interceptions and no touchdowns in his last four conference games. Laviano does still have the services of Leonte Carroo who scorched the Terps for 106 yards and two touchdowns last year, so Will Likely will still have his hands full.

Prior to Rutgers last game against Army, they had a strong three headed backfield between Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, who both played against Maryland last season, and are joined by senior back Paul James who had season-ending knee surgery prior to seeing Maryland. Now in a move by Kyle Flood that may or may not continue against Maryland, Hicks was moved to the other side of the ball to play safety where he recorded a pick against Army. Regardless, the Scarlet Knights have three different backs they can throw at the Terps, much of what former head coach Randy Edsall probably envisioned with the likes of Wes Brown, Jacquille Veii, and Albert Reid last offseason.

It was surprising that Maryland opened up as two-point favorites on the road with the possibility of starting a fullback at quarterback, but lets let Vegas do their thing. Unfortunately, Maryland has failed to have a complete game in all phases since their season opening win against Richmond and this game very well may come down to the Terps not having Lou Groza award winner Brad Craddock (wrist).

Prediction: Maryland Terrapins 30, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 33

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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  1. […] Greene missed a 29-yard field goal from the left hash wide right. As discussed at the end of the Rutgers preview, the absence of Lou Groza award winner Brad Craddock (wrist) could play a […]

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