Maryland football will play its final game of 2017 on Saturday afternoon against Penn State. That’s an official statement, as the 1-in-2,500 chance for the Terps to make a bowl with five wins has already gone awry thanks to Buffalo and Texas Tech winning on Friday. Ironically, a Texas loss sealed Maryland’s fate.
So this is it. Maryland will be celebrating senior day and trying to play spoiler, as the No. 10 Nittany Lions enter 9-2 with hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl alive and well. But nothing this team has shown in recent weeks suggests an upset is anywhere near imminent.
The Terps will need everything to go right here.
On offense, they’ll need Max Bortenschlager to have his best game of the season. They’ll need Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison to help establish the running game. They’ll need D.J. Moore to get open. They’ll need to convert on third downs. And they’ll definitely need to get Jake Funk in the end zone—they’re 4-0 when he scores and 0-7 when he doesn’t.
On defense, they’ll need to stop Saquon Barkley in the running game. They’ll need to stop Saquon Barkley in the passing game. They’ll need to worry about Trace McSorley in both phases, as well. They’ll need to keep tight end Mike Gesicki from getting open. They’ll need to come up with stops on third downs. And they’ll definitely need to hold Penn State under 100 rushing yards—they’re 4-0 when they do that and 0-7 when they don’t.
Except they allowed 190 yards on the ground to Michigan State in the first half, and that backfield didn’t have Barkley and McSorley.
Maryland got senior linebacker Shane Cockerille back last week, but lost senior safety Josh Woods to a broken rib and won’t have him for this one. The Terps need all the help they can find for this matchup, so every injury seems like another one too many.
These two teams played a pair of one-point games in 2014 and 2015 after Maryland first joined the Big Ten, but Penn State pulled away in the second half of last year’s meeting. With the Terps looking for positives heading into the winter, there are plenty of things we could see on Saturday. But an upset alert shouldn’t be among them.
Maryland: 4-7, 2-6 B1G
Penn State: 9-2, 6-2 B1G
All-time series: Penn State leads, 37-2-1
Odds: Penn State is favored by 22 points
How to watch and listen
Saturday, Nov. 25, 3:30 p.m. (ET), Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park
TV: BTN - Justin Kutcher (play-by-play), Matt Millen (analyst), Lisa Byington (reporter)
Radio: 105.7FM (Baltimore) / 980AM (DC), Sirius 135 / XM 195, TuneIn Radio App (Johnny Holliday, Tim Strachan, LaMont Jordan); WMUC Sports (Connor Newcomb/Jarred Belman)