Maryland opens Big Ten play on Saturday afternoon against Purdue in their Homecoming game.
The Terrapins are off to a 3-0 start after wins over Central Florida, Florida International, and Howard. They defeat the Knights in double overtime courtesy of a game-winning rushing touchdown by backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.
This is the first time that Maryland has jumped out to a 3-0 start since the 2013 season. The Terps started off 4-0 that season before that forgettable Florida State debacle.
While Central Florida gave Maryland all they could handle, Purdue is arguably the most talented team that the Terps have faced thus far. There’s athleticism at nearly every skill position and they managed to survive against Nevada without both of their starting offensive tackles.
Without further ado, here’s three predictions for Saturday’s contest.
1.) Josh Woods will shine as Denzel Conyers’ replacement
Conyers was diagnosed with a torn ACL earlier in the week and will miss the rest of the season.
While it’s unfortunate to lose a starting defensive back so early in the season, it’s not the end of the world.
Woods has seen the field a ton as a backup so far this season. In three games, he has recorded 11 tackles (six solo) and filled in for Conyers during the second half against the Knights.
With Purdue having a quarterback that can flat-out sling it in David Blough, Woods knows that he’ll be tested quite a bit. In fact, he welcomed the Boilermakers to throw in his direction.
“They can if they want,” Woods exclaimed. “They can test me if they want. It’ll be fun — maybe not for them, but it’ll be fun.”
It also should be noted that Blough has thrown seven interceptions. Purdue wideouts certainly have had trouble hauling in passes.
In their second game against Cincinnati, Blough threw five interceptions and four went off the hands of his pass catchers.
2.) Perry Hills will bounce back
Hills didn’t have his best game against Central Florida and it was compounded by the shoulder injury.
However, it appears that he’s ready to go against Purdue on Saturday afternoon.
Hills completed just 10-of-23 passes and really struggled in the early going. He missed open receivers on several occasions.
He also only registered 29 yards on 16 yards and a bulk of that came in overtime.
Hills needs to just play his game and not overthink things. He’s never going to be the type of signal caller that launches the ball all over the field.
What makes him dangerous is his running ability and the fact that he can slide in the pocket.
The Boilermakers are allowing the second-most yards in the Big Ten as they yield 387.7 per contest. Hills will be sure to take advantage of that.
3.) Maryland will successfully rush the passer
We’ve known since the early part of the week that Purdue was going to be without starting tackles Matt McCann and Martesse Patterson.
Both offensive linemen missed Purdue’s last game against Nevada. It didn’t seem to matter a whole lot as Blough still managed to have success moving the ball.
However, there’s a difference between Nevada and Maryland.
The Terps have a solid pass rush that includes the likes of Jesse Aniebonam, Roman Braglio, and Jermaine Carter Jr. Maryland ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of sacks this season.
Aniebonam really excels out of the “BUCK” position and has the quickness to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. Blough is very mobile, but if Aniebonam and company can get in his face early on, it could go a long into forcing multiple turnovers.