Maryland (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) looks for the upset when they face No. 4 Michigan (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) on Saturday afternoon at 12pmET from The Big House in Ann Arbor in this Big 10 matchup.
The Wolverines are coming off an easy 59-0 win over UConn last week at home, while the Terps found a way to beat SMU at home 34-27 as a 2.5-point favorite.
Last season, Michigan (-16) crushed the Terps on the road 59-18.
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Terps win despite penaltiesWhen you look at the stats, Maryland should have lost to SMU on Saturday night. They gave up 369 passing yards and 151 rushing yards to go with a ridiculous 15 penalties for 141 yards. The penalties ranged from false starts to offensive holding, pass interference, and unsportsmanlike conduct. Several players were flagged for multiple penalties. They currently rank tied for 126th with 10.3 penalties per game.
“Sometimes they don’t act in character,” head coach Mike Locksley said to The Diamondback. “What do you do, kick them out of your house? You punish them.”
The positive was that the Terps found a way to win and that's by picking off Tanner Mordecai twice and forcing a Mordecai fumble. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was solid with 221 yards passing and two TDs, but it was the running game led by redshirt freshman Roman Hemby's 151 yards and a TD that was the key to the win.
Maryland should be able to move the ball at times against Michigan, but the defense is the biggest concern. They are allowing 392 yards per game (89th) and they faced Charlotte and Buffalo in their first two games. They are also giving up 274 yards per game in the air to rank 108th in the nation. If they continue to struggle on the back end and commit multiple penalties, they will be in big trouble on Saturday.
Will the Wolverines get tested?Jim Harbaugh probably wants to see another blowout, but it probably wouldn't hurt to see his team go through a little adversity. They haven't had much when destroying Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn by a combined 166-17 in their first three games. Last week, they crushed the UConn Huskies thanks to J.J. McCarthy's 214 yards passing and five rushing touchdowns from Blake Corum. The sophomore is 30-of-34 for 473 yards and three TDs. He wasn't the definitive starter early on as Cade McNamara had the edge due to experience. But McCarthy has taken the job and has run with it.
Corum (5-8, 205) rushed for 952 yards and 11 TDs last season and that's with a high ankle sprain that hampered him late last season. He now has 235 yards and seven TDs in three blowout games where the starters were removed well before the final horn.
Another Michigan staple under Harbaugh is going to be the defense. The Wolverines are allowing just 194 yards per game (3rd) and an incredible 91.3 passing yards (3rd). That will obviously go up once the competition starts improving, which starts on Saturday when they face Tagovailoa and one of the strongest groups of receivers in the Big 10. Last season, they held the Terps to 178 passing yards and picked off Tagovailoa once.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Jump on this line before it goes up. This is going to be an absolute blowout. Maryland has had just one road game and it was Charlotte. The last time they traveled to Ann Arbor in 2019, they were crushed 38-7. Every game in this series has been a blowout since 2015 as the Wolverines have covered six straight. The Terps' penchant for committing penalties and their struggles in the secondary will force them to play a lot of zone. Michigan will be able to set up the run by passing the ball and then Corum will take over with a big day running the football. The Wolverines' offensive line will just wear Maryland's defense down.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a lighter play, because on one hand, Michigan's defense is outstanding as usual and the Terps will struggle to score early on. On the other hand, Michigan should get a big lead early and then they should be able to go to their bench by the fourth quarter and that's when Maryland will get most of its stops. The Wolverines have Iowa coming up so it's important that they get the job done and then rest their starters for a more physical opponent on Oct. 1.