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Big Ten opponent preview: Maryland

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Hoosiers pay a visit to the Turtles during Halloween weekend

Indiana v Maryland
Dontay Demus Jr. of the Maryland Terrapins runs after making a catch against the Indiana Hoosiers at Maryland Stadium on October 19, 2019 in College Park, Maryland.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Editor’s note: With the season fast approaching, we want to take some time to familiarize ourselves with each of Indiana’s Big Ten opponents this fall. Continuing over the next few days, that’s exactly what we’ll do thanks to insights from our SB Nation partners.)

Next up: Maryland

Maryland — Dylan Spilko (Testudo Times)

Key departures

  • Jake Funk (running back, was the clear-cut starter - drafted in 2021 NFL draft by LA Rams)
  • Shaq Smith (linebacker, only played one game but was solid depth player)
  • Antwaine Richardson (defensive back, appeared in all five games last season and started two at safety)
  • Chance Campbell (linebacker - Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, 12th in FBS and 2nd in Big Ten with 11.0 tackles per game)
  • Johnny Jordan (Offensive line, transferred out of the program, was a good starter)

Key returners:

  • Nick Cross (defensive back, 2021 Pro Football Focus Preseason Second Team All-Big Ten 2020 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten)
  • Taulia Tagovailoa (quarterback, was slightly inconsistent last year but has the tools to break out in a huge way this season)
  • Rakim Jarrett (receiver, former five-star, has a shot to be All-Big Ten this season if he hits his peak)
  • Dontay Demus Jr. (receiver, top receiver on the team)
  • Mosiah Nasili-Kite (defensive line, our top guy on the defensive line)

Potentially impactful freshmen and transfers:

  • Terrence Lewis (linebacker, five-star recruit)
  • Demeioun Robinson (edge rusher, four-star recruit, top-ranked player in Maryland)
  • Colby McDonald/Roman Hemby (running backs, have impressed in preseason and could see time on the field)
  • Taizse Johnson (defensive lineman, one of our top recruits)
  • Branden Jennings (linebacker, one of our top recruits, as well)

How does Maryland look entering the fall?

It should be a very interesting year for Maryland football. The program played just five total games last year, which was the least in the Big Ten. This year the team is bringing in one of the top recruiting classes in the conference and in the nation, so it is looking like a year of promise. The offense has a ton of returning pieces at WR and QB, and should have plenty of chemistry from last season. The defense is also looking much better this year. There’s lots of depth. With 12 games on the schedule, I would say the team should hover around — or even above — the .500 mark.

Biggest strength

Either the team’s WR/QB combination or the linebackers. I would say it is arguably the linebackers because of the immense amount of talent the team is bringing in.

Biggest weakness

Discipline. Maryland was one of the most heavily penalized teams in the Big Ten last season (8.8 penalties a game in 2020).

How does your fan base feel about Mike Locksley and his staff?

Head coach Mike Locksley is a highly-regarded coach. The players seem to love him and his positive attitude ripples through the fan base.

Who is Maryland’s MVP this season and why?

Taulia Tagovailoa. If he breaks out this year and shows consistency, Maryland’s offense will break out with him.

Predict Maryland’s record, its best win, and a potential surprise loss

6-6. Best win against Penn State on November 6. Potential surprise loss against Michigan State on November 13.

What else should we know about your team this year?

It might be another year of growing pains for Maryland football. The potential is there, but it is yet to be seen if this roster can get it done.