This Saturday may be Maryland football’s best remaining opportunity to secure bowl eligibility.
The Terps (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten), on a four-game losing streak, travel to take on Nebraska, which is fresh off a loss to lowly Michigan State. Even so, it won’t be easy for the Terps, in front of a passionate Memorial Stadium contingent, even if that group has taken a hit in recent years.
Saturday will also mark Maryland’s first game on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s paid streaming platform. The contest will kick off at noon ET.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Terps are 1.5-point favorites (-122 moneyline). The game has an over/under of 43 total points.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
In its first year under Matt Rhule, Nebraska has successfully tossed itself into the jumble of the Big Ten West. Outside of last week’s loss to the Spartans, the Cornhuskers have avoided any complete duds and are playing competitive football. However, with a road game at Wisconsin coming before a home matchup with Iowa, this week — as is the case for Maryland — looks like potentially the best chance for Nebraska to earn a sixth win.
Players to know
Heinrich Haarberg, sophomore quarterback, No. 10 — Since Jeff Sims was benched, Haarberg has assumed starting quarterback duties for the Cornhuskers. He’s completed half of his 152 attempts for 967 yards and seven touchdowns, but he’s also thrown six interceptions. Most notably, though, Haarberg is Nebraska’s leading rusher with 477 yards.
Jimari Butler, sophomore linebacker, No. 10 — Butler is one of three Nebraska players with at least four sacks, leading the team with 4.5. He’s recorded a sack in all but two games he’s appeared in this season and is second on the team with six tackles for loss.
Nash Hutmacher, junior defensive lineman, No. 0 — Hutmacher is the Cornhuskers’ leader in tackles for loss (6.5), four of which have been sacks. His 29 tackles are the most of any defensive lineman on the roster.
Isaac Gifford, junior defensive back, No. 2 — Gifford has been Nebraska’s most productive defensive back this season. He has an interception and seven pass breakups to go along with 60 tackles, all of which lead the position group.
Defensive front. In spite of preseason concerns, Nebraska’s defensive front has stepped up this year. It has the second-most sacks in the Big Ten (28) and the second-best rushing defense in the conference (77.2 yards per game), trailing only Penn State in both categories.
Passing game. Nebraska ranks second-to-last in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (131.9), ahead of only Iowa. The Cornhuskers have also thrown the most interceptions in the conference. When Nebraska tries to throw the ball, things don’t usually go well.
Three things to watch
1. Turnover battle. Turnovers have cost both teams this season. Whichever group self-inflicts fewer wounds will likely come out on top.
2. Running the ball. Maryland has not run the ball nearly as much this season as it did last year, but this isn’t a great week to start doing so against a stout Nebraska front.
3. If not now, when? The Terps are on a four-game losing streak and desperate for some positivity. If they lose on Saturday, that streak will almost certainly extend to six games with Michigan on tap the following weekend.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.