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Maryland football vs. Indiana preview: Terps seek Homecoming victory over Hoosiers

The Terps look to snap a three-game losing streak.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Homecoming for Maryland football, as the Terps are celebrating 125 years of existence. They’ll honor past greats, wear polarizing black-and-gold jerseys and play a football game against Indiana.

The game is perhaps the most important of the season so far. Maryland has lost three straight, dropping its record to 3-4. With a difficult schedule upcoming, the Hoosiers present a chance to pick up a win and pivot in a more positive direction. It’s also a chance for Indiana native and Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager to take down his in-state team, which never offered him a scholarship.

Last year’s game between these teams was absolutely dominated by Indiana’s running game. The Hoosiers burned the Terps for the afternoon’s entirety, racking up 414 rushing yards and five scores on the ground. This meeting shouldn’t be like that, as every key weapon from that Indiana backfield is gone, but the Hoosiers have shown to be a dangerous team. Their four losses are to the four best teams in the Big Ten East, and they’ve kept three of those contests close.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 3:30 ET on BTN.

Indiana Hoosiers (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten)

2016 record: 6-7, 4-5

Head coach Tom Allen. The first-year coach took over for Kevin Wilson last December, less than a year after joining Indiana’s staff. Allen hasn’t been at the FBS level long, with stops at Arkansas State, Ole Miss and South Florida before joining the Hoosiers. He’s the lowest-paid coach in the Big Ten, with a salary just below that of Maryland’s DJ Durkin.

Players to know

Peyton Ramsey, RS freshman, QB, 6’2/210, No. 3. Ramsey unseated senior Richard Lagow midway through the season and has started the team’s last three games. The Cincinnati product has thrown seven touchdowns and four interceptions so far, and his 219 rushing yards are second on the team to running back Morgan Ellison.

Simmie Cobbs Jr., RS junior, WR, 6’4/220, No. 1. After playing in just one game last year, Cobbs leads Indiana with 44 receptions for 462 yards and three scores. He’s had 10 catches twice, including a 149-yard outburst against Ohio State in Week 1. Cobbs had a career-high 192 when these teams last met in College Park two years ago.

Tegray Scales, senior, LB, 6’0/230, No. 8. Scales’ 56 total tackles and 3.5 sacks both lead the team, and his 6.5 tackles for loss are just off the pace. He had 126 total tackles, seven sacks and a national-best 23.5 TFLs in 2016, earning All-America honors. Scales recorded a career-best 11 solo tackles against the Terps last season.


Defense. The Hoosier defense ranks 20th in the nation in S&P+, and is perhaps best known for holding Penn State to 39 rushing yards. That total includes sacks, but Saquon Barkley had one of his quieter ground performances of the year, with just 56 yards on 20 attempts. If Indiana can contain Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison similarly, it’ll go a long way.


Offense. Indiana ranks 106th in offensive S&P+, and the Hoosiers sit 113th in efficiency and 122nd in explosiveness. This season has seen a senior quarterback in Lagow relegated to the bench, and Indiana doesn’t have the depth in the run game it’s had in the past. Maryland’s inconsistent defense will need to take advantage and limit the Hoosiers’ opportunities.

Three things to watch

1. How can Maryland’s run game follow up last weekend’s performance? The Terps ran for 143 yards against Wisconsin, which has a stout defense of its own. Johnson and Harrison didn’t have too many big plays, but they were consistently moving forward. Maryland will need more of that on Saturday.

2. Who can convert on more third downs? Maryland’s 30.4 percent conversion rate on third down ranks 119th in the country. Indiana isn’t much better, at just 35.3 percent (95th), but the Terps’ defense struggles in these scenarios as well, allowing opponents to move the sticks 49 percent of the time. In a game where points could be hard to come by, keeping drives alive will be paramount.

3. Can Maryland win another turnover battle? In losses to Northwestern and Wisconsin, the Terps actually forced four turnovers compared to just two giveaways. Indiana’s minus-8 turnover margin is 119th in the nation, so Maryland’s defense will be looking to make game-changing plays.


S&P+: Indiana 28, Maryland 22

Me: Indiana 28, Maryland 24