Rutgers takes on Maryland on Saturday from Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium at noon. The Scarlet Knights have lost five straight games, including a 38-17 defeat to Illinois at home this past Saturday. The Terps, after a bye week, took on Michigan and fell, 42-21 this past Saturday. Last year, Rutgers upset the Terps at home, 31-24.
Rutgers can’t score or stop people
Rutgers started the season off with a lot of optimism after crushing Texas State, 35-7 at home. Then reality struck. The Scarlet Knights fell at Ohio State (52-3), Kansas (55-14), Buffalo (42-13), Indiana (24-17) and Illinois last week at home. They had three straight home games and averaged scoring 15.7 points per game and allowing 34.7 points. They’ve been outscored 149-41 in the first half of their five-game losing streak.
In their loss to Illinois, Rutgers found themselves down 24-14 at the half and were outscored 14-3 in the second half. True freshman quarterback Arthur Sitkowski threw three interceptions with just one TD (267 yards). But it was the defense that struggled, allowing 330 yards on the ground and just 89 in the air.
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) October 6, 2018
Rutgers just doesn’t have the overall talent to compete with most of the teams in the Big 10. They really have talent more suited for the American Athletic Conference, which they would probably be a lot more competitive in. It’s one thing to lose to a powerhouse like Ohio State but it’s a major concern when you’re falling to teams like Indiana and Illinois, while not being competitive. They stink on both sides of the ball as the offense averages 298.7 yards per game (126th) and rank near the bottom of every category, including points per game (16.5ppg). The defense will need to stop the run against Maryland, but they are allowing 228.2 yards per contest (117th).
Sitkowski has had his struggles, completing just 53.8 percent of his passes for 750 yards with three TDs and 11 picks. Running backs Raheem Blackshear (362 yards, 4.6ypc) and Jon Hillman (275 yards, 5 TDs) are at least having productive seasons.
The Terps need a passing game
Maryland came off a bye after beating up on Minnesota at home (42-13), but left their offense at home when they travelled to Ann Arbor on Saturday. Of course, playing the Golden Gophers at home is a lot different than playing one of the better defenses in the nation in front of 100,000 people. However, the Wolverines figured out the solution in beating the Terps and that’s to stop their running game. They forced Kasim Hill to pass and the sophomore completed just 5 of 10 for 62 yards with a pick. The running game also never got off the ground as they rushed for just 147 yards on 37 attempts.
One of the few bright spots was Ty Johnson’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. But Johnson, who has 303 yards rushing and 123 against Minnesota, rushed for just three yards on five carries against Michigan.
Ninety-eight. Nine. Eight. That's a 98-yard KO return for @TerpsFootball.
Stiff-arm at the end was just a bonus. pic.twitter.com/AWj0dqlfus
— Maryland On BTN (@MarylandOnBTN) October 6, 2018
The Terps have some of the same issues that Rutgers has. Their talent is probably mid-level Big 10 at best but they can compete with some of those at the bottom. But with the 124th-ranked passing game in the nation (127.6ypg), they aren’t going to scare the elite conference teams. Hill hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards since the opener against Texas. He’s completing just 54.7 percent of his passes for 578 yards with three TDs and two picks. He’s not even a big running threat coming off a major knee surgery (-21 yards). That’s why you’ll probably see more Tyrell Pigrome in this game, though he’s not a major passing threat either but is a better runner.
Defensively, the Terps are not bad, allowing just 117.4 rushing yards per game. But when the offense can’t sustain drives and the defense has little rest, they can be worn down.
- 20-8 ATS last 28 after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- 6-0 Over last 6 in October.
- 9-2 Over last 11 conference games.
- 1-4 last 5 overall
- 1-5 last 6 after a SU loss.
- 8-2 Over last 10 after a SU loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Yes, Maryland is laying a lot of points in this one. But there’s a reason. Rutgers is simply putrid and they can’t stop the run. That’s basically all Maryland can do right now and they hit you with jet sweeps and reverses, not just straight running from the I-formation. The Scarlet Knights will have some confidence because they beat the Terps at home last year. But that’s also revenge for Maryland, even though interim head coach Matt Canada was an OC at LSU at the time. The Terps will bounce back against a much-inferior opponent.
Prediction: Maryland -24
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither team has a great defense although Maryland is pretty good against the run. But we’re not just talking about the offense scoring. Maryland should score off turnovers against a freshman quarterback who has 11 picks on the season. The Terps put up 42 points on Minnesota at home, so don’t be surprised if they score over 50 against the Scarlet Knights, making this an easy over.
Half-Time Side Pick
The Rutgers team is pitiful. The second half might be a little different because Maryland will have built up a big lead and they may bench their key starters. But this is what the doctor ordered for the Terps after getting their butts kicked at Michigan.
Prediction: Maryland -14
Half-Time Total Bet
Maryland will put up 28 points on their own in the first half. The Terps defense is pretty good but they aren’t going to shut down the Scarlet Knights.
Prediction: Over 28 first half