After losing their last four games of the season to finish with a 5-7 record, the Maryland Terrapins decided not to offer former interim head coach Matt Canada the full-time position. Instead the Terps turned to Mike Locksley after his tenure serving as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama.
Maryland hasn’t had a winning season since its first year in the Big Ten, and has never held a winning record in the conference. This season, the Terps will rely on a run-heavy offense.
What to expect from the Terps
With three running backs returning, Maryland will attempt to emphasize the running game this year. The Terps averaged over 230 yards per game on the ground last season, and with plenty of experience returning on the offensive line, Maryland should be able to replicate that success in 2019.
Quarterback Kasim Hill is gone, and it seems the quarterback job will go Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson, who was granted immediate eligibility after missing most of the 2018 season through injury. The Hokies struggled during his absence, as they stumbled to a 6-7 record after being ranked as high as #10 early in the season. Jackson gives the Maryland offense more firepower in the passing game, which he displayed during a solid 2017 season in Blacksburg.
Defensively, Maryland has a lot of seniors returning from a defense that did pretty well against the pass, but struggled to stop the run, giving up 4.4 yards per carry last year. Overall, the Terps gave up just under 400 yards of total offense per game and allowed opponents to score touchdowns on nearly 60% of their possessions. While experience will help, it seems Maryland’s defense has a very solid ceiling.
Three Names to Watch
Anthony McFarland Jr., RB: McFarland returns for his sophomore season after a breakout 2018 campaign in which he ran for over 1000 yards and scored four touchdowns. After only receiving 125 carries last year expect a heavier workload for McFarland, who possesses game-changing ability in the running game.
Josh Jackson, QB: In Jackson’s last full season at Virginia Tech, he threw for almost 3000 yards while also tossing 20 touchdowns. During his standout freshman campaign, Jackson led all Power 5 freshman QBs in passing yards and completions, while finishing second in touchdowns. In addition to his skills as a passer, Jackson also provides a threat in the running game, having ran for 324 yards and six touchdowns.
Antoine Brooks Jr., DB: After spending last season next to first round pick Darnell Savage, Brooks will lead the secondary himself this year. Brooks was named second team all-Big Ten after a 2018 campaign that saw him lead the team in tackles for loss along with one interception. On a defense heavy with senior leadership, Brooks is the one that leads the pack.
How IU Can Win
Despite the upgrade at the quarterback position, stopping Maryland’s run game should be paramount for the Hoosiers. McFarland, along with Tayon Fleet-Davis, will pose a significant threat on the ground.
Offensively, Marylands rush defense is fairly weak, and Stevie Scott & Co. should be able to gain plenty on the ground. IU will need to establish the run in order to open up the passing game, especially given Maryland’s strength in the secondary.
This game, just like every year, is a must-win game for IU. With teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State on the schedule, the Hoosiers need a sense of urgency against middling Big Ten opposition. In this case, IU will take care of business and pick up a valuable road win in conference play.
Indiana 27, Maryland 20