Maryland (2-6 B10) travels to Piscataway to take on Rutgers (2-6 B10). Both teams are sitting at 5-6 and the winner in this one will probably go bowling.
The Terps are coming off a 59-18 loss against Michigan at home, while Rutgers was shut out at Penn State 28-0.
The Scarlet Knights edged Maryland 27-24 in overtime last season.
Worst defense in the Big 10Since losing to Iowa on Oct. 1 (51-14), Maryland has allowed an average of 45 points per game. That's just an abomination for head coach Mike Locksley and his defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. On Saturday, they played a Michigan team that was ranked seventh in the Big 10 in passing and the Terps allowed 352 yards passing the 59-18 loss. The Terps did a decent job against the run (151 yards), but they also got no help from the special teams that gave up an 81-yard kickoff return for a TD and had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“We got out-coached and outplayed,” said head coach Michael Locksley after the game to the Washington Post. “A lot of blame to be placed, and it starts with me."
Taulia Tagovailoa threw the pick-six and he has now done that in two of his last three games. He completed 19 of 33 for 178 yards with just one TD, even though Maryland surprisingly was able to run the ball (181 yards).
Despite getting waxed by all of their elite opponents, Maryland has a chance to go bowling. If they win, it's likely because Tagovailoa (3,283 yds, 21 TDs, 11 INTs) wins it for them. The Terps rank 15th in the nation in passing yards per game (306.6ypg) and 110th in rushing (118.6ypg). On defense, they have done a better job of stopping the run (153.9ypg), but they are awful against the pass (266.7ypg, 115th).
Offense was OffensivePenn State's defense shined last Saturday or Rutgers' offense was just atrocious. They produced just 10 first downs, 67 rushing yards and 93 passing yards. The defense kept the team in the game, although they were facing a backup quarterback in Christian Velllieux, who completed 15 of 23 for 235 yards with three TDs and no picks.
“That was a tough one. We did some things well but just not well enough to win,” said head coach Greg Schiano after the game on Dailytargum.com. “(Penn State’s) a good football team. That defense is top 10 for a reason. So we got to regroup, and we will. We'll get a bus ride home to think about it.”
Rutgers had just defeated Indiana 38-3 on Nov. 13, but like Maryland, they have competed against the subpar teams of the Big 10 and have gotten hammered by most of the top teams like Wisconsin (52-3), Michigan State (31-13) and Ohio State (52-13).
On the season, the Scarlet Knights are averaging just 311.4 yards per game of offense (120th), 172.8 passing yards (114th) and 138.5 rushing yards (89th). That defense will need to step up in this game and they are 57th against the pass (221.6ypg), which is crucial against Maryland.
Quarterback Noah Vedral is completing 59.8% of his passes for 1,681 yards with seven TDs and five picks. Running bakc Isaih Pacheco anchors the rushing attack with 574 yards (3.8ypc) and five TDs.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Not sure why I went with Maryland last week, thinking they would compete against one of the best teams in the Big 10. You know who was competitive against Michigan? Rutgers back on Sept. 25, as they fell on the road 20-13. At that point, I thought Rutgers would have a much better season, but their lack of offense has kept them down. Their defense has been pretty good at times, holding Illinois to 14 points and Indiana to three. Those are teams that you can compare with Maryland and Rutgers has handled the lower echelon of the Big 10 pretty well.
Full-Game Total Pick
Rutgers scored 38 points against Indiana on Nov. 13. Maryland scored 38 against that same team and 20 against Illinois (as did Rutgers). The problem for Maryland in that Indiana game was that they gave up 35 points in that game against another backup quarterback. They basically can't stop anybody right now and that's why Rutgers should be the favorite. If Indiana can put up 35 points, there's no reason why the Scarlet Knight can't put up at least 30 points against this dreadful defense.