Maryland is coming off a disappointing loss to Purdue at home last weekend. The Terps had a myriad of chances to win the game but an inability to capitalize on their defense’s turnovers and a controversial blocked extra point put them down eight with under a minute to go.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa marched the offense down the field for a touchdown, but failed to successfully convert the two-point conversion, giving Maryland its second loss of the season.
Now 4-2, Maryland turns its attention to a weak but competitive Indiana team on the road. Maryland is a double-digit favorite and should not have a problem handling a depleted and struggling Hoosiers team to move one win closer to bowl eligibility.
Maryland enters the game as a 11.5 point favorite, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the largest it’s been favored over a conference opponent this season. The over/under for the game is 61.5.
Indiana Hoosiers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten)
2021 record: 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten)
After an abysmal 2021 campaign, the only place to go was up for Indiana football in 2022. The Hoosiers needed just six games this year to pass their win total from last season. While Indiana is certainly in the basement of the Big Ten this season, it is much better than the forgettable season it had a year ago.
The Hoosiers are led by head coach Tom Allen, who took over the program in 2016 and had his best season in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Indiana was ranked in the top 10 six times that season, the second-most in program history. Since that successful season, the Hoosiers program has undergone a lot of personnel change and has struggled because of it.
Indiana’s lone Big Ten win this season was the first game of the year over Illinois, 23-20. Since then, it has lost to Nebraska and Michigan.
Players to know
Connor Bazelak, redshirt junior quarterback, No. 9 — Bazelak is a transfer from Missouri and in his first year with the Hoosiers. It’s been an up and down year for Bazelak, who is incredibly talented but has struggled at times. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He also averages 266.17 yards per game and has a completion percentage of 52.54%.
Shaun Shivers, senior running back, No. 2 — While Indiana likes to put the ball in Bazelak’s hands, the most efficient part of its offense is the running game, led by Shaun Shivers. He has 85 attempts on the season for 402 rushing yards, good for 4.4 yards per carry. He also has four touchdowns to go along with it. Shivers is not only an effective runner, but he is featured in the Hoosiers’ passing attack too. He has 17 catches this season and one receiving touchdown.
Cam Camper, junior wide receiver, No. 6 — Cam Camper is Indiana’s leading receiver and Bazelak’s primary target. He has 35 receptions for 457 yards, which both the lead team by a wide margin despite missing a game. However, he only has one touchdown on the season and Indiana has struggled to feed him the ball in the red zone.
Dasan McCullough, freshman linebacker, No. 0 — While Indiana’s defense has been lackluster all season, its strength is its pass rush and that starts with freshman Dasan McCullough. Like Maryland’s Jaishawn Barham, Indiana has a freshman making an immediate impact in the linebacker room. McCullough leads the team in sacks with four and has two quarterback hits to go along with 25 total tackles.
The kicking unit. While Indiana’s strength of its team is its offense, it still is one of the worst scoring offenses in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers’ real strength is its kicking unit led by redshirt senior kicker Charles Campbell, who has the eighth-most career field goals made in Indiana history. This season, he’s second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, nailing nine of his 11 attempts.
Defense. Simply put, Indiana’s defense is horrific. It is the worst in the Big Ten, by far. The Hoosiers rank last in the conference in points per game allowed and touchdowns allowed. Indiana has a solid offense that is capable of moving the ball down the field, but its inability to get stops on the other side of the ball has made it a difficult season for the Hoosiers halfway through.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland’s run game find its rhythm again? One of the pleasant surprises for Maryland fans in the early part of the season was the emergence of the run game on the backs of redshirt freshmen Roman Hemby and Antwain Littleton II and a great run-blocking offensive line. The strong run game opened up Tagovailoa’s options and the passing attack as well. But this past Saturday, the Terps’ rushing attack was held in check, running for just 72 yards on 25 attempts, which hurt Maryland’s offense on numerous second-half drives. If the Terps can get back to running the football efficiently, they will be in good shape moving forward.
2. Can Maryland start to capitalize on turnovers? Maryland’s defense is finally creating turnovers after much discussion of the defense’s inability to have takeaways and create more opportunities for the offense. Last week, Maryland forced three third-quarter turnovers — two fumbles and one interception. The only problem: Maryland’s offense scored zero points off the takeaways. Maryland’s defense is doing its part, now the offense needs to start capitalizing on the extra chances.
3. Will the receivers start living up to the hype? Maryland’s receivers were lauded as the best position group on the team — and one of the best in the country — prior to the season. Halfway through the year, the expectations set for Maryland’s receiving group appear to be unwarranted. Maryland’s receivers, such as Rakim Jarrett, Jacob Copeland, Jeshaun Jones and Dontay Demus Jr. — who Locksley admitted is still not 100% after returning from a season-ending knee injury last season — have shown flashes, but none have been consistent. None of them rank in the top 10 in the Big Ten in any statistical receiving category. The Maryland pass-catcher who does rank in the top 10 in both total yards and touchdowns would be tight end Corey Dyches, who has emerged as a reliable and strong weapon for Tagovailoa.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.