Game Info / How to Watch
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (4-2, #25 SP+) vs. Maryland Terrapins (3-3, #43 SP+)
Where? Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland
When? Saturday, Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m.
Vegas? Indiana -6.5
SP+ Projection? Indiana by 6.3 (30-24), 64 percent chance of Hoosier victory
(Note: this will also serve as this week’s gamethread so go bonkers in the comments section)
On Saturday the Hoosiers have a chance to pick up their fifth win of the season on the road against a Maryland team that has slumped recently in part due to some injury problems. The game is an interesting one, as the Hoosiers are road favorites both in Vegas and in SP+, though they don’t have a very rich history of winning conference road games under Tom Allen.
Maryland had a lot of hype early in the season after dominating Howard as well as a then-ranked Syracuse team. That was derailed rather quickly as they lost to Temple the next week then got absolutely shredded by Penn State in their own stadium. They got a brief reprieve in their schedule as they got to beat up on poor rutger, but it was back to the woodshed last week as the Terps traveled to West Lafayette and got destroyed by a Purdue team that’s been decimated by injuries.
These results have all the makings of Maryland actually being “bad” this season, which is great for the Hoosiers.
The Terps currently have the 56th-best offense in the nation per SP+, which is a better measure of what they’ve actually done this season than their points per game as SP+ factors out garbage time production (i.e. likely significant portions of the Howard and rutger games). The Terps currently average 36.8 points per game which makes them look better than they probably are. That SP+ ranking puts the Maryland offense in the same neighborhood as Michigan (53), Cincinnati (59) and Illinois (52).
The Terps have been better defensively, ranking 44th nationall in SP+, which is similar to teams like Notre Dame (40) and Minnesota (38).
What to Watch
1. Injury status
Names to watch on the injury report will be quarterback Josh Jackson and running back Anthony McFarland Jr., both of whom start for the Terrapins. Jackson appears to be out as of Friday night, but McFarland is a bit more up in the air. Tyrrell Pigrome will step in once again at QB, which didn’t bode well for the Terps last week.
2. The Penix Show
Simply put, can Michael Penix Jr. go out and be dominant in the passing game once again? He’s been spectacular for much of time he’s been on the field after recovering from that early season injury. The Terps are giving up 8.27 passing yards per attempt and 279.67 passing yards per game. They also got shredded by Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, who’s the best passer they’ve faced thus far. Clifford went for 398 yards in the air while completing 26/31 passes and scoring a trio of touchdowns. Penix doesn’t have to do all of that, but if he can put up a few scores and move the ball down the field efficiently that would obviously benefit the Hoosiers greatly.
3. Tom Allen Takeaways
The hallmark of Tom Allen’s defenses has been takeaways. Over the past few years the Hoosiers have aimed to make a difference in the game by going out and picking off passes and forcing fumbles and they’d done it rather well coming into this season. The results have been up and down in 2019, but this game offers them an opportunity to get back at it. The Terps have fumbled the ball five times so far this season and thrown six interceptions. When you factor in that they’re playing a backup quarterback and possibly a backup running back as well, things get a bit more interesting. Look for guys like Reakwon Jones, Cam Jones and Marcelino Ball to go out there and Make Something Happen.