Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#183 Maryland 55 vs.
#184 Minnesota -16
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#183 University of Maryland, College Park
#184 University of Minnesota
3-4
7-0
4-3
4-2-1
4-2-1
4-3
35
36
25
21

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Maryland takes on No. 17 Minnesota on the road on Saturday. The Terps have lost five of six games since opening up the season at 2-0. They are 1-3 in the Big 10, while the Golden Gophers are undefeated overall. Last season, Minnesota was dominated by the Terps from College Park, 41-13.

Good news for the Terps

It's been a tough first season for head coach Mike Locksley. He desperately needed a quarterback and appeared to find one in Virginia Tech grad transfer Josh Jackson. But after playing well in their first two games in wins over Syracuse (63-20) and FCS Howard (79-0), he struggled against Temple (20-17 loss) and Penn State (59-0). Jackson suffered a sprained ankle in the first half against Rutgers (48-7 win) on Oct. 5 and missed their last two games.

The Terps were blasted by Purdue on Oct. 12, 40-14 and then lost at home last week to Indiana, 34-28. That was with backup quarterback Tyrell Pigrome, who struggled with turnovers and accuracy. Running back Javon Leake led the Terps with 158-yard rushing and two scores, but the Terps' defense continued to struggle. They allowed 334 yards in the air and 189 on the ground to the Hoosiers.

For Maryland to beat Minnesota, they need to control the ball on offense. Getting Jackson back along with star running back Anthony McFarland (ankle) won't hurt as Locksley announced on Tuesday that both will return on Saturday. McFarland has 340 yards rushing and eight combined TDs this season, but played sparingly against Purdue (four carries) and sat out against Indiana. Leake has taken over with 499 yards and eight TDs. Jackson has also struggled with accuracy (51.1%) and has 10TDs with four picks.

But the defense has got to be better, especially against the pass. They are allowing 287.4 yards per game, which ranks last in the big 10. Teams are completing a ridiculous 65.6% of their passes against them and they are giving up 8.2 yards per pass. The Gophers are more of a balanced offense, but they can certainly take advantage of the Terps' defensive woes.

Soft schedule or legit contender?

Minnesota is a great story right now in the Big 10. Third-year coach P.J. Fleck has his squad at 7-0 for the first time since 1960 and they are ranked 17th in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The Golden Gophers have not faced a tremendous schedule. In fact, they have not met anybody close to the Top 25 but you have to play who is on your schedule. They do have Penn State at home, Iowa and Northwestern on the road and Wisconsin at home to end the season, so it will get tougher after the Terps.

Defensively, Minnesota took advantage of a poor Rutgers squad in their last outing, holding them to just 48 yards passing and 141 rushing yards. Quarterback Tanner Morgan tossed for 245 yards with two TDs, while running back Rodney Smith led the Gophers with 111 yards and two TDs.

On the season, Morgan has completed 66.4% of his passes for 1,623 yards with 16 TDs and three picks. Smith is third in the Big 10 in rushing with 786 yards (5.7ypc) with six TDs.

Defensively, Minnesota will be tested on the ground against the Terps. They are allowing 122.9 yards per game and just 3.6 yards per carry to rank seven in the conference.

On offense, they rank sixth in total offense with 419.7 yards per game and fifth in rushing offense with 187.9 yards per game (4.1ypc).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Minnesota beat Nebraska, 34-7 at home and Illinois, 40-17 at home. Those teams are better than the Terps, even with Jackson and McFarland back healthy. Illinois beat Wisconsin so that win looks a lot better. The weather will also be cold in Minneapolis but the bottom line is that the Terps can't stop the pass. They aren't bad against the run, but that's because they are so easy to pass on. Smith and Morgan will have big days against the worst defense in the Big 10.

Prediction: Minnesota -16

Full-Game Total Pick

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This is an easy pick. Maryland has a horrendous defense and they've gone over in two straight. Sure, Minnesota has been strong defensively at home, but the Terps have two home run hitters in Leake and McFarland, who should score or at least hit some long runs. Smith will have his way on the ground and Morgan should easily throw for 400 yards. The Terps will be behind big so I can see them scoring late against Minnesota's reserves.

Prediction: Over 56.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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This is an easy one. Maryland just can't stop anybody on defense. The weather will be a bit cool and that defense won't want to be out there all day. Expect the Gophers to jump out to a big lead early on.

Prediction: Minnesota -9.5 (-110) first half

Half-Time Total Bet

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Minnesota has a better defense and they could hold Maryland to under 14 in the first half, but they'll score at least 21 if not close to 30. Smith should have a big half against that defense.

Prediction: Over 30.0 (-115) first half
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!