I can feel it coming in air tonight. But as I wrote this yesterday, today it dawned on me that the Maryland Terrapins might not be throwing the ball a whole lot. Which is why today,
1.) One of Maryland’s running backs rushes for 100+ yards today.
The Deacons are bad at stopping the run. Let me rephrase that, the Deacons are absolutely horrible at stopping the run. How bad? Well, over the last four games they have given up (I kid you not) over 1,000 yards on the ground. The Deacons, for whatever reason, cannot stop jack squat on the ground. Between Wes Brown, Brandon Ross, and Justus Pickett, the Terrapins have three running backs worth their salt. So do I think they are going to gash this defense up? Yes, yes I do. Especially since the Demon Deacons are going to be without four starters this week, three of which play on the defensive side of the football. One of them, Mike Olson, is the team’s leading tackler, and that is without a doubt going to cripple a team that has been prone to big plays.
2.) Wake Forest turnovers will be the death of them
Typically, this would be where I would place the Terrapins; Perry Hills and Co. turn the ball over a LOT. Luckily, this week they play against Wake Forest, who do some turning over themselves. Last week, quarterback Tanner Price turned the ball over three times and essentially lost them the game (against Duke), which means he might be playing scared today. He also lost his top receiving target and one of the best receivers in the country in Michael Campanaro, so Price is going to have to make due with sub-par players. That isn’t a good thing for a quarterback who hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence at all during the season. So do I think he’s going to turn the ball over? Yes, I do. And against our surprisingly stout pass rush, I think he is going to turn the ball over a lot.
3.) Perry Hills starts his ACC career off the right way against Wake Forest
With about two weeks to prepare for this game after losing to West Virginia, Perry Hills is going to be very prepped for his introduction to ACC ball against Wake Forest. Against the Mountaineers, Hills had his first 300 yard passing game, and dare I say the Deacons defense might actually be worse? If not worse, then very similar. Hills has shown that he can actually thrive against poor defenses (see: Temple and WVU), and I think he may do the same thing this week.
No, that statement doesn’t illicit a ton of confidence in Hills, but I do think he will do just enough to get the job done. With the running game firing on cylinders it didn’t know it had until this point, Hills job will finally be made easier. Pair that with Stefon Diggs coming into his own and I think this is Hills chance to finally convince Terrapin fans that he is over most of his rookie jitters*.
(*Hills is not over his rookie jitters, but for the time being he will be)
4.) The Maryland defense will hold Wake Forest to under 75 rushing yards
I know, this is a gutsy statement to make altogether. I still think it’s going to happen, given that the Deacons have lost their second best rusher and leading TD man in Deandre Martin (5 TDs on the season). Josh Harris isn’t bad, but I don’t think he is good enough to shoulder the load the entire game. The Terrapins are going to key in on this guy all game and commit more people into the box, especially because Wake Forest has lost it’s biggest receiving threat. The 11th ranked rushing defense in the nation coming off a bye week going against a depleted backfield equates to a very, very, rough challenge for the Deacons.
5.) And finally, Maryland wins by two scores
Honestly, this is one of those games that the Terrapins either lose due to sleeping on a team, or they win handily. I’m obviously sticking with the latter in this case, as I think the Terrapins defense is too good this year to fall victim to lethargy. Instead, Maryland is going to be on the delivering end of a near-blowout. The offense doesn’t have a ton of firepower, but it has enough to beat Wake Forest by a good amount. In the past, I’d say this was a trap game, but these Terrapins are different. They have quite a bit of heart. Randy Edsall has done a pretty good job getting these kids up to play, and this week will be no different.