Matchup: No. 14 Penn State (8-3) vs. Maryland (5-6)
Where: Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
When: Saturday November 24th, 2018 at 3:30pm EST
Penn State Offense vs. Maryland Defense
By: Brandon Musso
Despite earning the win and breaking a record on Saturday, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley still wasn’t satisfied with his performance: “I think I didn’t play well, really, at all. Missed too many opportunities, didn’t take advantage of them. We’ll look at the film and see how we grade out, but right now, I don’t think I played all that well.” The senior quarterback still thought he didn’t play well even after becoming Penn State’s all-time winningest quarterback. McSorley would end the day with just 183 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in Penn State’s 20-7 win over the one-win Scarlet Knights.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Terrapins were playing the game of their season as they took top ranked Ohio State to overtime before suffering a one-point loss. Despite the loss, their performance was something to behold. They managed to score 51 points on a talented Ohio State defense.
By the numbers:
Maryland has given up their fair share of points this season as they currently rank 64th in the nation in points allowed per game, having allowed just under 28 points per game. In terms of yardage allowed, the Terrapins come in at 52nd in the nation having allowed around 375 total yards per game. Their defense is rather balanced which in other words says that they don’t have a particular strength in terms of rushing and passing defense. They are allowing opponents just over 172 rushing yards per game while allowing around 200 passing yards per game.
The biggest player to watch on the Maryland defense is definitely Tre Watson. Watson is a graduate transfer from Illinois and is a force to be reckoned with as a Maryland linebacker. He leads the team in total tackles by a wide margin while also nabbing a team leading five interceptions including one for a touchdown. Look for his name to be called plenty in Saturday’s game. In the secondary, look out for Tino Ellis. The defensive back is one of the team’s best as the junior has collected 11 passes defended. Junior Antoine Brooks was converted from linebacker to defensive back and is currently leading the team in tackles-for-loss with 9.5. Finally, upfront, look for defensive lineman Byron Cowart who is the team leader in sacks.
Penn State Defense vs. Maryland Offense
By: Kraigen Rasalla
Penn State comes into Senior Day looking to send off Nick Scott and Amani Oruwariye among others on the defensive side of the ball with a victory in their final game at Beaver Stadium. Let’s see how the Terps from Maryland stack up against the Nittany Lions.
After losing Kasim Hill to a torn ACL, Tyrell Pigrome was thrust into the starting QB spot and put on an excellent performance against the Buckeyes, leading the Terps to 51 points in their loss last week. Pigrome showed the ability to scramble while connecting on some big throws down the field. Although Pigrome is a back up, he is certainly a capable quarterback.
At running back, Anthony McFarland has been outstanding for the Terps. McFarland reached the 1,000 yard plateau on the season last week with a 298 yard effort. The freshman is certainly a big threat as he reeled off two runs of over 75 yards in the first quarter against Ohio State. Tayon Fleet-Davis will also see some time in the backfield as well as Ty Johnson if he suits up. Johnson has been dealing with a calf injury and is questionable for Saturday’s contest.
At receiver, Jeshaun Jones and Taivon Jacobs lead the way for Maryland. Jones leads the team in touchdowns with five while Jacobs leads the team in receptions with 23. With Hill and now Pigrome at the helm, the offense is certainly more of a running offense under Interim Coach Matt Canada, as no receiver has over 300 yards entering the final game of the season
Brandon Musso: (10-1)
The Terrapins may have lost last week but offensively I still believe they have quite a bit of momentum. I think the Nittany Lions ability to limit Maryland’s offense is the key to this game. The Maryland rushing attack had their way with Ohio State last week as they rushed for 339 yards and five touchdowns. If Penn State can’t contain Anthony McFarland and the rushing attack, they will have an awfully hard time winning this game. With all the being said, I think Maryland goes on the road and steal a win from the Nittany Lions.
Maryland 35 Penn State 20
Kraigen Rasalla: (8-3)
This is a huge game for both the Nittany Lions and the Terrapins as the Lions look to impress enough to make their way back to their third straight New Year’s 6 bowl while the Terps are looking to become bowl eligible after a season that had its fair share of ups and downs. The Penn State offense took a major step back last week against Rutgers, but the Terps are certainly not a defensive juggernaut. I think Trace McSorley, the all-time winningest QB in Penn State history, will look to give Nittany Lions fans one last memory of him by having the big game he hasn’t had since the Ohio State game back in September.
Penn State 27 Maryland 23