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Maryland football: Terps open as 2.5-point underdogs against Penn State

The Terrapins are a slight underdog a week ahead of their game against the Nittany Lions.

Mike McGinnis

The Terrapins open the week as 2.5-point underdogs in Saturday's game at Penn State, according to odds released by Vegas Insider.

Maryland (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) lost badly on Saturday at Wisconsin. C.J. Brown completed 13 of 29 passes for 129 yards – just 4.4 yards per attempt – and the defense surrendered 52 points against Melvin Gordon and the Badgers' offense.

Meanwhile, in State College, Penn State lost to Ohio State in double overtime. The Nittany Lions (4-3, 0-3 Big Ten) pushed the Buckeyes to double overtime before falling, 31-24, on a walk-off sack on fourth down.

Penn State's sophomore quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, is a major professional prospect but has struggled mightily this season. Hackenberg is averaging nearly a full yard fewer per attempt this year than last and has a 6-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His top target is receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who leads the team with 57 catches and 686 yards.

The story for Penn State's running game is even worse. The Lions average 2.5 yards per rush as a team, the fifth-worst mark in FBS. That should be a welcome reprieve for the Terrapins, who faced perhaps college football's best ground game on Saturday in Madison.

Penn State's defense has been much better than its offense, ranking 7th in the country in yards allowed per game and 9th in points per game. On that side of the ball, Mike Locksley's unit faces a substantial challenge.

As always, the game's line is subject to change as the game nears.