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Maryland football vs Indiana preview

After two weeks on the road, the Terps return home still searching for their fourth win of the season.

Maryland football at Temple, team pic Sarah Sopher/ Testudo Times

Carrying a 3-2 record into a road matchup with Purdue, Maryland football was looking to pick up a must-needed victory if the team wanted any chance at bowl eligibility.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, the Terps were blown out by the Boilermakers, 40-14, leaving doubt as to whether they could win another game this season. Obviously, a team’s goal is to get a victory, but head coach Mike Locksley isn’t overly concerned with win-loss record.

“We’re not going to be result-oriented,” Locksley said after practice Wednesday. “I know that’s what people want to see — is the results for us. We’ve got to be really process-driven. We’re in year one of building a program.”

Saturday’s game is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.

Indiana Hoosiers (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten)

2018 record: 5-7 (2-7 Big Ten)

Head coach Tom Allen is in his third full season in charge of the Hoosiers, though he originally made his head coaching debut in a 2016 bowl game after the departure of Kevin Wilson, who was dismissed over concerns regarding player treatment. It’s Allen’s first such role with a collegiate program, and while the results haven’t been there through two years, this 2019 team is showing what he is capable of as a program builder.

Players to know

Michael Penix Jr., redshirt freshman quarterback, 6’3, 202 lbs, No. 9. Penix surprised many coming out of training camp, earning the starting job over established signal caller Peyton Ramsey. An injury kept Penix sidelined for two games this season, but when he’s been on the field, he’s been terrific.

Penix has completed 91-of-131 (69.5%) of his attempts for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns — against three interceptions — in three-plus games this season, electrifying the Hoosiers’ offense. He’s also rushed for over 100 sack-adjusted yards and scored a touchdown on the ground, showcasing his dual-threat abilities.

Stevie Scott III, sophomore running back, 6’2, 231 lbs, No. 8. Indiana’s passing attack has led the way so far this season, but Scott has gotten it done on the ground as well. He’s carried the ball 88 times for 445 yards, good for 5.1 yards per pop. Scott has also found the end zone four times on the ground, while adding 13 catches for 110 yards out of the backfield.

Whop Philyor, junior wide receiver, 5’11, 178 lbs, No. 1. Rounding out the leading offensive trio for Indiana is Philyor, who most assuredly has one of the best names in the entire conference. Not only is his name elite, but his play has been as well so far this season. He leads the Big Ten in catches per game (6.8), is second in receiving yards per game (92.2) and has found the end zone three times.


Passing offense. Between Penix and Ramsey, Indiana’s aerial attack has been dominant so far this season. As a team, the Hoosiers average 302.8 yards per game in the air, which ranks second in the conference and 16th in the nation — ninth among Power Five teams. In terms of passing efficiency, Indiana sinks to fifth in the Big Ten, but it is still are above average in the country.

The Hoosiers’ have also received great pass blocking from their offensive line, as it allows just 1.3 sacks per game to the opposition, which is tied for best in the conference and tied for 25th in the nation.

“It starts with their quarterback, you know (Michael) Penix is a lefty that I’m very familiar with, having recruited him some. The offense goes through him,” Locksley said. “So for us again, it’s affecting the quarterback. It starts with stopping the run, and then trying to get pressure on the young quarterback to get them off his spot, and not allow him just to sit back there and pick us apart.”


Turnover margin. Indiana’s offense hasn’t been particularly careless with the ball, only turning it over eight times through six games this season. That figure ranks middle of the pack in the Big Ten. However, the Hoosiers haven’t been able to force opposing offenses into fatal mistakes, as the defense has picked up just four takeaways on the year. That minus-four margin is tied for third-worst in the conference, and it ranks outside the top-100 among FBS teams.

Three things to watch

1. Can Tyrrell Pigrome find his accuracy? It’s not necessarily a lost asset to his arsenal — Pigrome’s throwing has always been his weakness at Maryland — but the redshirt junior signal caller had a day to be forgotten against Purdue last week.

He completed just 21-of-39 (53.8 percent) attempts with a pair of interceptions, missing his receivers often as he struggled to find his timing. Perhaps with another week of first-team practice reps with the offense, he and his pass catchers can find something of a groove.

2. How does Maryland’s rushing attack manage? The official status on Anthony McFarland Jr. (high-ankle sprain) is day-to-day, but all signs are pointing to the star rusher missing Saturday’s game. With Jake Funk and Lorenzo Harrison III sidelined with season-ending knee injuries, that leaves just two healthy running backs on the roster — Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis.

Due to a negative game script, the duo didn’t get much run a week ago against Purdue. In fact, Pigrome ended up being the leading rusher. But if McFarland misses time and Pigrome is contained by Indiana’s defense, Leake and Fleet-Davis may be forced to carry more of a workload than anyone expected entering the season.

“[McFarland] can’t take a bunch of reps. And we’ve lost LoLo [Lorenzo Harrison III] and Jake Funk. Now you’ve got Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis taken the brunt of the work in practice. And you want these guys fresh for the game so we’ve tried to adjust some of the things we’ve done practice wise to take some reps off of these guys.”

3. Will Penix and co. dominate in the air? As mentioned above, Indiana’s passing game has been its biggest strength so far this season. On the flip side, the Terps’ secondary has been helpless to contain opposing passers — Maryland ranks last in the Big Ten with 279.7 yards per game allowed in the air. To make matters worse, star cornerback Tino Ellis is out for the season, leaving the last line of defense ill-equipped to make up for a sometimes-lacking pass rush.


Vegas: Indiana -5.5, O/U 59 (as of Thursday night)

ESPN FPI: Maryland 49.6% chance to win

Me: Indiana 38, Maryland 21