It is easy to look at Maryland's game against South Florida through the prism of last week's loss to Bowling Green but a more objective look at today's game is called for. This is a winnable game for Maryland.
South Florida is a solid team. They were tied 7-7 with FSU at halftime last week and were only down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before the 'Noles scored 10 unanswered to make the final score 34-14. A 20-point loss on the road at FSU is less than what most pundits expected.
Caleb Rowe makes his first start of the season for the Terps and he will be going up against a defense that sacked FSU's Everett Golson three times and limited him to 163 yards on 14-26 passing. The Bulls held FSU to seven points in the first half last week while playing on the road. Not many defenses in the country are capable of that.
South Florida running back Marlon Mack will be the key to this game. He averaged 4.6 yards a carry against FSU's defense and he is capable of putting up big numbers. Maryland's run defense will be keying in on him, meaning that Quinto Flowers will have to beat the Terps with his arm. As we saw last week, the secondary is not exactly Maryland's strength but Flowers is no Matt Johnson.
If Maryland can apply some pressure and play solid defense, they should be able to hold the Bulls under 30 points. South Florida was able to put 14 points last week despite only having one third down conversion in 13 tries. Maryland will have to get their defense off the field on third down so they can rest and give their offense as many chances as possible to score. Last week, Bowling Green had prolonged drives that wore out the Maryland defense. The Terps turned the ball over on offense and the defense allowed the Falcons to put up 28 points in t8he fourth quarter, 21 of them unanswered. That was the difference in the game.
If Maryland can stretch the field with Rowe under center, they'll be able to have more success running the ball. They never committed to the run game against Bowling Green even though they were having success with it. Rowe is a confident kid and knows that he has the arm to take chances down the field. Look for him to throw deep today and look for Maryland to have a balanced attack on offense.
Rankings and records:
South Florida: 1-1 (0-0)
Maryland: 1-1 (0-0)
All-time record: Maryland is 1-0 all-time against South Florida. The only game so far in the series was Maryland's 24-17 win in Tampa last year.
Vegas: The line varies with South Florida getting 6.5, 7 and 7.5 points depending on which sports book you are using.
How to witness
September 19th, noon (ET), College Park
TV: ESPNU (Clay Matvick will be on play-by-play and John Congemi will be on color commentary)
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 132, 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 ESPN3/WatchESPN at noon (ET).