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Maryland vs Michigan: 3 most important matchups

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The Maryland Terrapins are looking to rebound off of their 45-6 loss to West Virginia. They now have their first Big Ten game against the Michigan Wolverines Saturday October 3rd.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten play is on the horizon for the Maryland Terrapins, and weather will hopefully not be too much of a factor against the Michigan Wolverines now that Saturday's game has been moved up to a noon kickoff. The Terps are looking to get back to .500 with a 2-2 record against the Michigan Wolverines (3-1, 0-0) who are coming off a 31-0 win again Brigham Young University. They have won three straight games and are looking to make it four in a row.

Here are three matchups to watch for:

#1. Maryland Offense vs Michigan's Defense

Maryland's offense was virtually lifeless against West Virginia, and they now the Terps facing a Michigan defense that is sixth in total yards (815), tied for fourth in points allowed (9.5 per game) and ninth in defensive efficiency (85.1). The good thing for Maryland is that Brandon Ross has been producing and keeping the running game afloat but the passing game and quarterback play has to vastly improve.

#2. William Likely vs Michigan's Special Teams Unit

William Likely wasn't a factor on special teams against West Virginia like he's been early on this season, and he needs another breakout performance to get his confidence back. The other 10 guys on the field have to hold their blocks in order for him to break the big one. The great thing about Likely is he has great vision when following his blocks. He won't be able to control if the ball comes to him on punt returns but he can control what he does with it.

#3. Play-calling vs Michigan

Some would say it was a questionable call to go with a play-action pass on the first play of the West Virginia game when the offense had not run the ball enough to build up to that. You add the fact that passes were overthrown to receivers, and execution was a big problem. The Terps just need to keep it simple and try trick plays sparingly. Run the ball to set up the pass. It's easier said than done, but at least the running game hasn't let them down.