The Maryland football team has one of the most challenging schedules in college football this fall.
However, with that being said, there’s still plenty of opportunities for the Terrapins to pull off an upset.
Maryland is coming off a season in which they weren’t tested very much until several weeks into the campaign. The Terps did survive a double overtime game against Central Florida, but that was mainly the product of an inefficient performance on offense.
Over the first four games a season ago, Maryland outscored their opponents 173-58 and averaged 43.3 points-per-game. The Terps began Big Ten play with a 50-7 demolition of Purdue in College Park.
That was where most of the success stopped as Maryland only won two more contests the rest of the season. They defeated Michigan State 28-17 under the lights on Oct. 22 and Rutgers 31-13 in the regular season finale.
Maryland needed all 12 regular season games to get bowl eligible. It could certainly be difficult this fall despinte a very daunting slate of games.
at No. 23 Texas (Sept. 2)
It’s been well documented that Maryland has a very tough task to open the season when they travel to Austin. However, this is a game that the Terps can realistically win if they’re well-prepared.
Signs are pointing to Kasim Hill or Tyrrell Pigrome being the team’s starting quarterback. Regardless of who is under center for the opener, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if coach D.J. Durkin left it a mystery to help throw Texas for a loop. If Hill ends up being the starter, that method of thinking makes even more sense. The offense is going to have to get into the end zone a few times, which won’t be easy against a talented front seven like Texas.
Obviously, Texas is a good football team with plenty of returning talent, including a very talented young signal caller in Shane Buechele. However, Maryland is a team that has never been afraid to rush the quarterback. After all, they didn’t finish third in the Big Ten in sacks by accident. If the defense can avoid staying on the field for long periods of time, the Terps have a real shot to get out of Austin with a victory.
vs. No. 11 Michigan (Nov. 11)
It’s hard to envision this type of result after the drubbing that Maryland took at the hands of Jim Harbaugh’s squad last season. However, this is a much different Michigan team in 2017.
The Wolverines are really feeling the sting on the offensive side of the ball. The wide receiver cupboard was heavily stocked last season, but now it’s nearly bare after the team lost Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. Michigan also lost tight end Jake Butt to the NFL. It certainly could be a learning experience for quarterback Wilton Speight early on as he gets adjusted to several new targets.
Maryland could come into the game on a two-game winning streak because they have two fairly easy games prior to Michigan in Indiana at home and Rutgers at Yankee Stadium. On the other hand, Michigan will be coming off a tough game against Minnesota and has Wisconsin the week after Maryland. Could the Wolverines be looking ahead? If they are, the Terps may be able to take full advantage and steal a conference game.
vs. No. 6 Penn State (Nov. 25)
Maryland fans might think it’s nuts to upset Penn State after the year that the Nittany Lions had in 2016. However, the Terps have played them tough in recent years aside from last year’s 38-14 loss.
In the 2016 meeting, Maryland stayed within striking distance in the first half and trailed by just a 17-14 margin in the final minutes of the second quarter. Penn State did add two second half touchdowns after Maryland’s offense went stagnant. It also didn’t help that Saquon Barkley rushed for 202 yards on the afternoon.
The Terps should be in a much better position this time around, especially at the quarterback position. The run defense is going to be very key in this one. Maryland struggled to defend the run last season, so it’ll be interesting to see if things improve in that aspect. Having the game in College Park should be an advantage for Maryland.