Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#325 Kent State vs.
#326 Maryland
Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Ben the Pen

Maryland takes a break from conference play to face their last non-conference opponent when they host Kent State from the MAC on Saturday at 3:30pmET from Maryland Stadium.

The Golden Flashes are coming off a 30-7 loss at Iowa last week, so this will be their second straight game against a Big 10 team. They are 1-2 on the season with their lone victory coming against an FCS opponent, as they crushed VMI 60-10 on Sept. 11.

The Terps are 3-0 and 1-0 in Big Ten after edging Illinois on the road last Friday 20-17, but failed to cover the 7.

Rough second half for Kent State

Kent State was trailing red-hot No. 5 Iowa just 16-7 at the half last Saturday. But the Hawkeyes opened the second half with a 20-play, 95-yard drive and that was the dagger to put the Golden Flashes out to pasture. Senior QB Dustin Crum completed 16 of 23 for 185 yards with a TD, but Kent State was held to just 79 yards on 41 carries. Keshunn Abram led the Golden Flashes with 6 catches for 138 yards and a TD.

The stats for Kent State might be a little skewed considering they faced two top 10 teams in Iowa and Texas A&M (41-10 loss). They allow 434 yards per game (106th), 217.7 rushing yards and 216.7 passing yards per contest. They do rank first with eight takeaways. On offense, Crum has 454 yards passing for a squad that averages 166.3 yards per game in the air to rank 111th. So to win this game or cover, they need to run the ball (266.3 yards per game). That's a major strength considering they rank ninth in the nation led by Marquez Cooper (199 yards).

Kent State is going to get a nice guarantee for this game. But they have a much better chance to compete than they did against Iowa and Texas A&M. It starts on defense and the fact that they've forced eight turnovers (six came against the Aggies). Maryland had two fumbles against Illinois so that should certainly be a focus of emphasis.

Turnovers nearly cost the Terps in Champagne

Maryland is 3-0 on the season and they were touchdown favorites on the road last week at Illinois. However, the Terps found themselves down 17-10 early in the fourth quarter. Illinois scored on a fluky fumble from Reggie Love III at the Maryland 40, which wound up in the hands of WR Casey Washington who score on a 30-yard run. The Terps were up 10-3 early in the third quarter after a 3-3 first half. They were ready to take a 17-3 lead before RB Tayon Fleet-Davis put the ball on the ground at around the 10-yard line off a screen pass.

Illinois capitalized on that turnover as well as a Penny Boone fumble in Maryland territory. But the Terps rebounded with a late touchdown to Fleet-Davis with 2:13 left and a Joseph Petrino 32-yard field goal as the game expired.

The Maryland players “had every chance to quit, to cash it in,” Coach Michael Locksley said in the Washington Post after the game. “Never felt they panicked. Never felt they looked at the scoreboard. And to us, that’s the way we’ve got to play.”

It wasn't a pretty performance from Maryland, who received 350 passing yards from Taulia Tagovailoa with one TD pass, but just 131 rushing yards on 27 carries. They allowed 335 overall yards, but the defense did keep the team in the game even though they didn't force a turnover (-3 turnover ratio).

In the first three games, Maryland ranks 10th in passing yards per game (343 ypg) and 25th against the run (180.7ypg). "Little Tua" has a very good receiving corps led by Dontay Demus Jr., who leads the Big 10 with 112.7 yards per game, while Rakim Jarrett ranks sixth with 86.3. The run defense also has improved tremendously since last season as they are allowing just 88 yards per contest (25th). That will be an important factor in this game. Maryland does have one big win thus far and took place at home against West Virginia (30-24 win).

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Buy the 1/2 point if you can't get 14.5. Maryland looked like crap for most of that game against Illinois. Maybe that was due to their first real road game with a packed house in two years. But they don't have to play great to get to 4-0. However, they have a huge home game next week against Iowa on Friday night, with classes shutting down or going online so the kids can get their early to tailgate. It's hard to focus on this game when you have Iowa next week. I can see a sloppy affair with Maryland winning, but struggling to run the ball against a Kent State defense that has faced better running games in Iowa and Texas A&M.

Prediction: Kent State +14.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

That's a very high line. I like the total better than the side in this game. Maryland's defense has been very good in their first three games. They held a pretty good West Virginia offense to just 24 points. They played well against Illinois as the turnovers hurt them. The Terps tend to lack focus and they will commit inopportune penalties. They had eight for 63 yards last week. Maryland's offense hasn't really hit their zenith yet on offense and even though Kent State's defenses' numbers are not great, part of that is due to playing two great teams in Iowa and Texas A&M. The Terps should hold Kent State under 20 points in this one. Take the under.

Prediction: Under 69.5
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Written By Ben Hayes , "Ben the Pen"

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 nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 25+ years.