Week 5 Predictions: Maryland Terrapins
After a BYE Week, the Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0, 0-0) travel to College Park, Maryland to face the Maryland Terrapins (2-1, 0-0). Maryland started off the season strong in their first two games, but then were upset by a sneaky Temple team two weeks ago. They also had the last week off to prepare for this game. If you want to learn more about this team, please checkout our preseason preview here. At the time of this posting, the spread for this matchup was Penn State -6.5. Here are this week’s predictions.
Brandon Musso (3-0) & (1-2) vs. The Spread
Just a few short weeks ago, this looked to be one of the best matchups of the week. Maryland had impressed the college football world with back-to-back weeks of offensive dominance. Although this is still a highly anticipated game for both fan bases, it lost its national luster when Maryland was grounded by Temple in their third game of the season. Meanwhile, Penn State sits at 3-0 after a rather unimpressive effort against Pitt at Beaver Stadium last week. So now the two teams finally meet in Friday’s primetime matchup and both teams have something to prove. Despite Penn State looking like the more talented team on paper, I think this game is going to come down to wire where just a few plays decide it. In the end, Penn State makes the plays they need and pulls off the victory in this highly emotional game on the road.
Maryland 31 Penn State 35
Kraigen Rasalla (3-0) & (0-3) vs. The Spread
Penn State returns to the field following a bye week, in preparation for this Friday Night matchup. The bye week was an excellent chance for Penn State to sort out its issues from the non-conference slate as they now enter the conference season against Maryland.
The biggest of those issues was converting on third down, and they will certainly need to convert on Friday night. Penn State is currently 118th in the country in third down conversion rate at 27.27 percent. In order to win on the road in College Park, the Nittany Lions will have to dramatically improve upon this rate.
Sean Clifford will be the key to fixing this issue as Maryland is vulnerable through the air. In their last two games, the Terps allowed 6 passing touchdowns. If Clifford can find his reliable targets such as KJ Hamler, Pat Freiermuth, and Jahan Dotson on third down and in the red zone, where Penn State is actually really good (100% red zone scoring percentage), then Penn State will cruise to victory. But, if they continue to struggle, this will be a nail-biter.
I do think the bye week will help them make their adjustments, but Penn State will still be in a dog fight against Maryland.
Maryland 21 Penn State 27
Cory Lestochi (3-0) & (2-1) vs. The Spread
Clearly, Kraigen is awful at choosing the spread. In my way too-early prediction, I had Penn State winning 27-21. But since Kraigen is going with that score and the Lions covering, I am going to go with the Nittany Lions not covering. The Maryland faithful will be there in full support as this game has officially sold out–although there will be a lot of Blue and White there. Penn State hasn’t done a lot of things well this year, but they have played mistake-free football. Limiting your mistakes is the best way to win on the road in the Big Ten. The lack of giveaways and penalties inches Penn State past Maryland in this one. The Nittany Lions live for another day.
Maryland 24 Penn State 27