Maryland football begins the final quarter of its season by hosting Michigan on Saturday. The Terps enter this stretch on the heels of a seven-point loss to Rutgers. They’ve lost four of five games, as injuries and a ridiculously difficult schedule have caught up to the team.
It’s the Google Bowl, the Durkin Bowl or whatever you want to call it. Last year’s game was called “A 59-3 Shellacking.” The Terps are looking for a different title this time around.
Maryland needs to steal a win.
The Terps are 4-5, and their last three games are an absolute gauntlet. Maryland can become bowl-eligible with two wins, but might be able to earn a postseason spot with one, depending on some other factors. With this being a home game and the Wolverines’ offense inconsistent all season, Saturday represents the best chance for that.
This weekend’s biggest question, though, is who plays quarterback. Max Bortenschlager, already the team’s third starter of 2017, went down with either a concussion or a shoulder injury (nobody would reveal the injury’s nature this week), and Ryan Brand came in to replace him in the fourth quarter. Brand, who started the season fifth on the depth chart, looked sharp in his final drive, nearly leading Maryland to a game-tying score. As of this writing, Saturday afternoon’s starter is still up in the air.
Maryland’s defense also needs to step up. The Terps allowed 239 rushing yards to Rutgers, and it won’t get easier against a Wolverines backfield that ran for 373 yards against Minnesota last weekend.
Michigan looks to keep its momentum going.
The Wolverines are 7-2 this season and still a factor in the Big Ten, but isn’t ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings and sits at just No. 21 in the AP Poll. Michigan’s schedule is somewhat backloaded, with matchups against Wisconsin and Ohio State following Saturday’s game.
Michigan is on its third quarterback of the season as well. Wilton Speight got hurt, then John O’Korn lost football games. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters is the guy now, and he’s done well without having to do a lot. He was able to throw just 13 passes last week and win because Karan Higdon amassed 200 rushing yards and Chris Evans notched 191. It also helps that Michigan’s defense ranks first in the country in efficiency, per S&P+.
Maryland: 4-5 (2-4 Big Ten)
Michigan: 7-2 (4-2 Big Ten)
Odds: Michigan is favored by 17 points.
How to watch and listen
Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET, Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park
TV: BTN—Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Glen Mason (analyst), Elise Menaker (sideline)
Radio: 105.7FM (Baltimore)/980AM (DC), Sirius (134) / XM (196), TuneIn Radio App (Johnny Holliday, Tim Strachan, LaMont Jordan); WMUC Sports (Liam Beatus, Connor Newcomb)
(For those who mourn the absence of our regular game preview, that’ll be back next week. It was a hectic week around here, and we had to move some things around. Thanks for the patience.)