Look, let's get this out of the way right now: yes, Maryland has lost to Morgan State before. It came in the 2008-09 basketball season, when the Bears came into College Park and beat Maryland by a point. The loss is somewhat infamous by now.
But here's the thing: when the football Terrapins take on Morgan State this Saturday, they'll be facing a very different type of team. Morgan State was a pretty good basketball team; they even won their conference and made the NCAA tournament. These Bears are not only a big step down from Maryland in standing (they're in the FCS, nee D-IAA), they're not even particularly good for that standing.
Actually, if Maryland lost this game, we'd be looking at Disaster Zone territory, and Friedgen probably wouldn't make it through the next day employed.
Last year, Morgan State finished an okay 6-5, and return 14 total starters. Unfortunately for them, though, they graduated their starting QB, LT, and RB, leading to an offense that is seriously in need of some juice. Donovan Dickerson, a relative dual threat, starts at QB; former Rutgers Scarlet Knight Jourdan Brooks fills in at RB.
(If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because Brooks was actually on the Rutgers team Maryland lost to last year, but transferred back home to Morgan State in the offseason. Hopefully Maryland can contain him again; against the Terps last year, he had 56 yards on 17 carries.)
On the good side, they do return nine starters on defense, including All-MEAC First Team cornerback Darren McKhan and former Syracuse Orange Niko Scott manning the other corner spot. There's some talent on defense, even if the offense will fail to put up points.
And that's exactly what the first game showed. Morgan State played Bowie St., a D-II team, in their opener last Saturday and won 14-7. When you see that scoreline, you probably think 2 TDs-1 TD, right? Not quite.
Morgan State actually had four field goals (including two 40+ yarders) courtesy of Kemar Scarlett, and Bowie State snapped a punt out of bounds in the end zone for a safety. Bowie State's scoring method is a tad more boring; they had a ten-yard touchdown run.
The Bears got out of that game with a win, but not by any wide margin. Dickerson struggled at QB, going just 16/32 for 109 yards, and Brooks fared little better at running back, with just 62 yards on 27 carries. Obviously, the offense had a lot of trouble producing, and though the defense looked good, it's worth noting that BSU's starting QB was ejected midway through the second quarter.
Yeah, not that imposing of a team. And yes, I just spent all this time writing this post to tell you this: if Maryland loses this game, the phrase "unmitigated disaster" will probably be thrown around a few times. Seriously, I know Maryland struggled against JMU, but this team would probably get beaten pretty easily by the Dukes.
I expect a heavy dose of Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, hopefully some Air Robinson (or Air O'Brien, whatever).I know it's stupid to predict an easy win, but that's really what this should be.