Ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally come. After a six-game stretch that included matchups against four ranked opponents, Maryland will finally face off against a team it really could beat
The Terps opened up as three-point favorites ahead of their game this Saturday against Indiana, which is a remarkable sign for a team that has lost seven games in a row.
What we saw last week - Maryland vs. Michigan State
1. A great game by the Terps' pass defense. Maryland limited an (albeit injured) Connor Cook and backup Tyler O'Connor to a total of 121 yards on 12-for-32 through the air, which was good for Michigan State's worst completion percentage of the season (37.5 percent). Yannick Ngakoue and Jesse Aniebonam led a group of Maryland defenders who pressured the quarterbacks all game long, and the secondary turned in its best performance of the season, with this 28-yard grab Michigan State's longest gain through the air.
2. A really bad passing attack. Maryland's air attack has had some stinkers this season, and Saturday was certainly one of them. Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe combined to go 17 for 35 for 182 yards and three interceptions, including a pick-six. It was the seventh time this season Maryland's quarterbacks failed to complete more than half of their passes, and also the seventh time they threw at least three interceptions. In fact, the Terps have thrown multiple picks in every game except the season-opener against Richmond. Saturday's game was just more of the same.
3. Maryland lost to a better team. Really no one thought the Terps were going to beat the No. 13 team in the nation. The quality performance from the defense was unexpectedly good and Maryland's quarterback play has been worse. If you were disappointed by what happened on Saturday, you haven't been paying attention this season.
What we're looking for this week - Maryland vs. Indiana
1. A win. The Terps are by no means guaranteed to defeat the Hoosiers, but they have to feel good about the fact that they're favored. It's been an extremely long season for Maryland and its fans, but going winless in the Big Ten would definitely make it worse. However, Indiana is no cupcake. That Michigan team Maryland lost to 28-0? The Hoosiers took those same Wolverines to overtime last week before suffering a 48-41 loss. Indiana doesn't have a Big Ten win this season either, and would become bowl-eligible with wins in its final two games, so the Hoosiers have more to play for than the Terps.
2. Will Likely on offense. The Spartans kept Likely bottled up when he came in on offense, holding him to one yard rushing on two carries and nine yards receiving on three catches, with eight of those yards coming on one play. That said, Likely still provides the team with an explosive element on offense they can't get from anyone else, and he's still very effective as a decoy because defenses have to pay so much attention to him.
3. Some improvement from Maryland's offense. This won't be hard after last week's one-touchdown performance, and Indiana's defense isn't especially good, ranking 104th in the nation in defensive S&P+. If the Terps' defense performs anywhere near as well as it did against Michigan State, it's on the offense to get Maryland in the win column. Perry Hills and co. showed against Penn State and and (sort of) Wisconsin that they have the ability to score points. But one touchdown won't cut it if the Terps want to come out victorious this weekend.