Maryland had chances to beat Wisconsin last week and actually outgained the Badgers on offense in College Park. There is no question that the Terps have been more competitive under interim head coach Mike Locksley. After their first four losses of the season came by three touchdowns or more, Maryland has lost their last three games in a row but they have all been by two scores or less. This team has been in games. Michigan State is a really tough place to play. Will the Terps be able to pull out their first win since September 19th?
Michigan State blew a two-score lead against Nebraska in the fourth quarter and still had a chance to win on the final drive. This team is balanced offensively and Connor Cook is the winningest quarterback in Michigan State history.
Cook doesn't make many mistakes. He has thrown for 21 touchdowns this season but only three interceptions. The last time he threw a pick at home? September 12th against Oregon! Aaron Burbridge is his top target. He has 62 catches on the season and is just six yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards. Cook will probably let it fly against the Terps. He has topped 300 yards in each of his last four games. In those four contests, he has 11 touchdowns and two picks.
The Spartans have a trio of running backs that they can turn to when they want to run the ball. L.J. Scott has 92 carries and nine rushing touchdowns. Scott didn't play well against Nebraska but Gerald Holmes did, carrying 22 times for 117 yards and a touchdown.
What has been surprising about Michigan State this season isn't necessarily their record but the scores of their games. The Spartans' two biggest wins this season were by 26 against Indiana and 20 against Central Michigan.
Here's the margin of victory in the rest of their wins:
13 vs. Western Michigan
3 vs. then-No. 7 Oregon
14 vs. Air Force
3 vs. Purdue
7 vs. Rutgers
4 vs. now-No. 15 Michigan
Outside of their win against Indiana, Michigan State has had trouble putting away Big Ten opponents, even weaker teams like Purdue and Rutgers.
The Spartans should have lost against Michigan but that insane "Punt Six" gave them the win in the Big House. Even with their loss to Nebraska last week in Lincoln, Michigan State still has a chance to win the Big Ten East if they win out. They have Ohio State in Columbus next week and Penn State at home in the finale.
If you look at Michigan State's recent history at home, Maryland's chances seem awfully slim. Since the 2013-2014 season, the Spartans have lost just once at home. That's one home loss in almost three years. That lone loss came last year at the hands of eventual national champion Ohio State.
Clearly, Michigan State has not been blowing Big Ten teams out of the water this season. If Maryland sticks around and stays competitive in a tough road atmosphere, they could end up shocking the Spartans if they catch them looking ahead to next week.
Rankings and records:
Maryland: (2-7, 0-5)
#14 Michigan State: (8-1, 4-1)
All-time record: Michigan State owns a 5-1 record in the series. The only time that Maryland has beaten the Spartans was back in 1950, the last time the Terps visited East Lansing.
Vegas: When the line on this game opened, Vegas Insider had the Spartans as 17.5-point favorites. That has shrunk by three to 14.5-point favorites. Vegas Insider thinks that Michigan State will win by more than two touchdowns and the public seems to agree. 99 percent of the money is on the Spartans.
How to witness
November 14th, Noon (ET), East Lansing, MI
TV: ESPN2, Noon (ET) Beth Mowins will be on the call. Anthony Becht will be the color analyst and Paul Carcaterra will the sideline reporter.
Radio: Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (Play-by-Play), Tim Strachan (Analyst), Scott McBrien (Sideline); Flagships - WJZ-FM (105.7) / WJZ-AM (1300) / ESPN 980 (D.C.) Sirius 135, XM 195, and SiriusXM 195.
You can also hear the game on WMUC Sports Radio here.
Online streaming: The game will be streamed live on WatchESPN at noon (ET). You can also stream the game via the TuneIn App.