After their blowout 50-21 win against the Richmond Spiders, the Maryland Terrapins now face a challenge in a high-powered Bowling Green Falcons offense that put up 433 passing yards and 30 points in a 59-30 loss to Tennessee. Bowling Green's man under center Matt Johnson went 27-of-49 for 424 yards (8.7 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns.
Here are the three key matchups to look for Saturday.
#1. Bowling Green's Passing Attack vs Maryland's Secondary
Bowling Green runs a fast-paced spread offense and they ran 82 plays in 26 minutes in their season opener. According to our very own Alex Kirshner, starting inside linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. says that conditioning is the key to keeping up with Bowling Green's pace of play
"Definitely an emphasis on conditioning, because everybody knows they run a high-tempo offense," Carter said. "They get to the ball quick." They also don't huddle much, so Maryland's personnel packages won't likely be flexible from play to play.
Against Richmond, Maryland did a good stopping the run. They will have their hands full with Bowling Green's passing attack but it's important that the Terps blitz early and as often as the opportunities present themselves. Putting pressure on Matt Johnson and hitting him could slow down the game for Maryland's defense and maybe even give them the upper hand. In order to do that though, coverage in the secondary has to be tight and on point. Coverage sacks are always a sign that your defense is doing its job.
#2. Maryland's rushing attack vs Bowling Green's front seven
Tennesse was able to put up 399 rushing yards on Bowling Green and Maryland put up 341 on Richmond last week. If a team can't stop the run that makes it even harder to stop the pass and it tires out the unit as well. Attacking the middle of the defense would be Maryland's best bet at a 300+ rushing yard repeat performance.
#3. Perry Hills's early start
Perry Hills has to come out poised and accurate without early mistakes. The running game was his security blanket against Richmond but he needs to get out to a good start in order for Maryland to take an early lead. That could give Hills a rhythm and some confidence. He can do it but he needs to work within the offense, maybe with short passes like hitches, curls or slants.