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Purdue will give Maryland football a great chance to start Big Ten play with a win

Maryland was bad last year. Purdue was somehow worse.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Iowa
Purdue running back Markell Jones is a nice player. The Boilermakers need, like, 15 more of him.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the start of Maryland's football season on Sept. 3, we're doing an at-a-glance preview of every opponent on the schedule, running once each week.

Week 1: Howard (Sept. 3, Maryland Stadium, 12 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Week 2: FIU (Sept. 9, Ocean Bank Field, Miami, 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Week 3: UCF (Sept. 17, Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Week 4: Bye

Week 5: Purdue (Oct. 1, Maryland Stadium, 3:30 p.m., TV TBA)

Maryland was many kinds of bad in 2015, but the Terrapins were not the worst team in the Big Ten. That honor went to Purdue, which matched Maryland’s 1-7 conference record and outdid the Terps’ 3-9 overall mark by going 2-10.

The Boilermakers were a dumpster fire, and as perhaps the worst recruiting team in the Power 5 conferences, it’s not likely that fire gets put out any time soon. It’s why Maryland picking them as this year’s homecoming opponent made so much sense: You don’t want to lose on your own field in front of thousands of jubilant alums.

Thanks to Purdue, Maryland probably won’t. Keeping with a theme over the first six weeks or so on Maryland’s schedule, the Boilers are really, really bad. This is a game Maryland should win, though there are few guarantees at the bottom of the Big Ten.

How good is this team?

As we’ve touched on, not at all.

The numbers are pretty gory, The Boilers have gone ahead and posted a 6-30 record over the last three seasons. They’ve beaten two Power 5 teams in three years. Bill Connelly’s S&P+ projection is that Purdue will play as the worst non-Kansas Power 5 team in the nation this year. There’s just not much going on here.

Who should I watch?

Running back Markell Jones had a nice little freshman season, running for 875 yards (5.2 per carry) and 10 touchdowns, although he fumbled four times. Jones was also the team’s third-most targeted receiver and had a 70 percent catch rate. He’s a good player and ought to be the focal point of Purdue’s offense.

Senior receiver DeAngelo Yancey caught less than half of the balls thrown his way last year but led the team with 700 yards on catches.

Another senior, safety LeRoy Clark, was the team’s top tackler as a junior and paired nine pass breakups with two interceptions. He’s got a nose for the ball in the secondary.

Snap prediction, way ahead of time: Will the Terps win?

If they do not, it will be very bad.