Saturday, the Terps travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to take on Middle Tennessee State (MTS) in the first road game of the season for the Terps. Junior quarterback Chris Turner will be behind center for the Terps as Jordan Steffy is out at least 3 weeks with a thumb injury that he suffered during the Delaware game last Saturday.
Maryland last faced MTS back in 2006, when they beat the Blue Raiders 24-10 at Byrd Stadium. All time, Maryland is 2-0 against MTS and 4-0-1 against the Sun Belt Conference.
Last week, MTS lost to Troy at home 31-17. MTS was dominated by Troy for most of the game, down 24-3 going into the 4th quarter. MTS then scored 2 quick TDs pulling to 24-17 with just over 6.5 minutes left. Troy finally answered with a 4 minute TD drive that put the game out of reach for MTS. It's hard to gauge what to expect out of MTS this Saturday as the majority of their points were scored when Troy was likely playing a prevent D, so I think the Terps D to dominate MTS in the same way they did Delaware. But I also fully expect MTS' offense to be clicking a little better this Saturday then they were against Troy. If MTS is going to put up points against the Terps, I think they're going to have to do it through the air. Against Troy, the Blue Raiders rushed the ball 50 times, gained 84 net yards. Part of that low yardage total is due to the fact that a few ball carriers for MTS gained negative yardage, so when you look at their two starting running backs, Philip Tanner and Desmond Gee, they combined for 121 rushing yards on 34 carries, for a 3.5/carry average. Not bad, but I expect the Terps to get on the board early and often, hopefully forcing MTS into a one dimensional offense that won't be able to run the ball a lot.
In the air, MTS' senior QB Joe Craddock will be leading the Blue Raiders offense. Last week Craddock completed 20 of 32 passes for 200 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to true freshman wide receiver Malcolm Beyah. In his press conference before traveling to MTS, head coach Ralph Friedgen said that he was worried about MTS' speed and was worried about this game in general.
QB Joe Craddock will be testing the Terps secondary this Saturday. media.2theadvocate.com
I expect the Terps to come out running, helping to ease QB Chris Turner into the offense. Look for Heyward-Bey to be involved early and often, with the Raiders likely having no way to stop him. Also, expect a big day again for Scott on the ground, with the chance of him again having a 150+ yardage game.
Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott should have another big day on the ground for the Terps (via www.baltimoresun.com)
I don't think the Terps are going to be guilty of looking past this game and thinking about the Cal game next week, as Fridge has done a lot to maintain the team's focus on the task at hand this week. This game has the possibility of being a let down/trap game for the Terps, but I think they'll come through and win 27-10.