It’s been a bleak season to say the least. However, there’s one question fans want to know the answer to: will Maryland football win again in 2015?
The season-long woes continued last Saturday when Maryland fell to Iowa 31-15. Any hopes of potential progress that the Terps may have shown against Penn State were washed away this past weekend against No. 10 Hawkeyes. Maryland was shut out for three quarters before quarterback Perry Hills found Taivon Jacobs in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
After an Iowa field goal and an 88-yard interception return by cornerback Desmond King increased their lead to 24. However, a 100-yard kickoff return by Will Likely brought the Terps within two touchdowns. It was too little too late, and Maryland dropped their second game under interim head coach Mike Locksely and fifth straight overall.
On Oct. 24, Maryland looked like a relatively competitive team for the first time in well over a month when they fell in a one-point affair to Penn State. While any possibility of achieving six wins and a postseason bowl berth went out the window long ago, it would have been encouraging to see some change in the team’s performance the rest of the way in the wake of the firing of coach Randy Edsall. After putting up a great fight against a decent Penn State team in Baltimore two weeks ago, the Terps quickly reminded us that they are still the same team that tends to underachieve at times.
With just four games remaining on the schedule, the torturous Maryland season will come to an end by the time the calendar changes to December. I took a look at each of the remaining four matchups, trying to determine if the Terps would be able to somehow scrape together one more win, or if they would complete the downward spiral, losing nine straight games and finishing with a 2-10 record for the second time in five seasons. Here’s how the rest of the season looks along with my predictions:
Nov. 7 – vs. Wiscoinsin
The 7-2 Badgers travel to College Park next weekend in what will almost surely be another lopsided loss for the Terps. In their matchup last year, Melvin Gordon ran all over the Terps’ defense in their 52-7 blowout of Maryland. He has since moved on to the NFL, but the Badgers’ running game is currently banging on all cylinders with the return of Corey Clement. Clement had not played since the season opener against Alabama before returning last weekend against Rutgers due to a sports hernia that required surgery. On 11 carries against Rutgers, Clement rushed for 115 yards and three scores. Starting quarterback Joel Stave also had success against the Terps last season, throwing for two touchdowns. Expect more of the same this weekend at the hands of the Badgers, who are currently ranked just outside the Top 25.
Prediction: Wisconsin 47, Terps 13
Nov. 14 – @ Michigan State
The undefeated No. 6 Spartans have their sights set high, and a 2-7 Maryland squad shouldn’t pose a huge threat to their hopes of getting into the College Football Playoff. Maryland slowed Michigan State down in the first half of their meeting in College Park last season and only trailed 16-7 at halftime. However, the Spartans’ running game paced the offense and Michigan State pulled away in the second half, defeating the Terps by a final of 37-15. Quarterback Connor Cook failed to throw a touchdown pass in last year’s contest, but he will find success at home against a paltry Terrapins’ secondary. The running combo of Madre London and true freshman L.J. Scott should again pace the Spartans’ offense, and both will likely put up big numbers as the need to pass will slowly become more and more unnecessary.
Prediction: Michigan State: 41, Terps 17
Nov. 21 – vs. Indiana
Maryland’s final home game of 2015 will be a rematch with their first-ever Big Ten opponent in Indiana. In 2014, the Terps traveled to Bloomington and impressively took down the Hoosiers behind two first-half touchdowns from starting quarterback C.J. Brown and two second-half touchdown passes from backup Caleb Rowe. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for only 126 yards with no touchdowns and one pick in last year’s game. But again, like every other opposing quarterback this season, he should have some success against the Terps’ secondary. Sudfeld is a very underrated signal caller, however, and if the Terps can manage to contain the Hoosiers’ run game as they did to an extent last season, they could squeak out a win at home. The Hoosiers, much like the Terps, are reeling after a consecutive loss streak of their own, which currently stands at four. With their next two matchups coming against No. 10 Iowa and No. 16 Michigan, that streak will likely stand at six losses, setting this up as a matchup of Big Ten East cellar dwellers. If this game were played in Bloomington, I’d take the Hoosiers.
Prediction: Terps 24, Indiana 22
Nov. 28 – @ Rutgers
Much like nearly every game in 2015, the final contest of the 2014 regular season is one that Terps fans would like to forget. Accordingly, Maryland built a 25 point lead in the first half, four-straight Rutgers possessions ending in touchdowns, and a horrible head coaching decision to go for the first down on fourth-and-1 with time winding down instead of relying on the leg of the best kicker in the country to tie the game. This all culminated in the largest comeback in Rutgers football program history. The Scarlet Knights, like the Terps, are struggling this season with a current record of 3-5. They managed to put a scare into Michigan State in early October, but only a 55-52 win at Indiana is worth mentioning regarding their 2015 accomplishments. Quarterback Chris Laviano and the running game consisting of Josh Hicks, Robert Martin, and Paul James do not pose a significant threat, but the Terps will let their foot off the gas after a win against Indiana and drop the final game of 2015 on the road.
Prediction: Rutgers 31, Terps 17
When all is said and done, I think the Terps will finish the season 3-9 overall, winning one of their remaining four contests. I think the best chance for that one win will come at home against the Hoosiers.
Is it basketball season yet?