Indiana will travel to College Park for just their second true road test of the season, after a comfortable handling of Rutgers on homecoming weekend, Indiana takes on the Maryland Terrapins with the hopes of getting yet another game closer to bowl eligibility. Head coach Michael Locksley and his ball club are returning back from the Hoosier state after an unfruitful outing against Purdue and their backup quarterback Jack Plummer.
How to Watch: Indiana Hoosiers versus Maryland Terrapins
|Who||Week 8: Indiana Hoosiers versus Rutgers Scarlet Knights|
|When||3:30 PM ET / Saturday, October 19, 2019|
|Where||Maryland Stadium – College Park, Md.|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Watch||Big Ten Network|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
|Spread||Indiana -6.5 / Over-Under 59|
Getting to know Maryland Football
Ranked 11th in our Week 8 Power Rankings, Maryland started off with two very impressive wins at the very beginning of this season. They tallied 79 points in a shutout win against Howard University to open the season. In week two, Maryland took down a ranked Syracuse team handily with a margin of victory of over 40 points. Since then, the story has been a little bit different for Maryland. If you take out their sole Big Ten victory against Rutgers, Maryland has had three revealing losses against Purdue, Penn State, and Temple.
Get to Know the Terrapins
Key Offensive Players
Like many other Big Ten teams, Maryland is dealing with quarterback health issues as well. Graduate transfer Josh Jackson did not play against Purdue after suffering from a mid-foot, high ankle injury against Rutgers.
Veteran QB Tyrrell Pigrome would re-gain the title of starting quarterback for Maryland’s match up with Purdue last week. He had originally lost the role earlier to in the season to Josh Jackson. As a redshirt junior, Pigrome is no stranger to Big Ten football. The situation certainly mimics Indiana’s starting of Michael Penix Jr. over Peyton Ramsey.
With Pigrome, the Terrapins have the opportunity to use a more mobile quarterback than Jackson. On the current season, Pigrome already has 24 rushing attempts and a net of 164 yards on the ground. Pigrome has 389 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions from throwing.
In the backfield, the three main workhorses include Anthony McFarland Jr. who already has eight total offensive touchdowns on the season. Unfortunately for McFarland, he was essentially non-existent against Purdue with just two attempts and he has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury. He is backed by juniors Tayon Fleet-Davis and Javon Leake who got the majority of workload last Saturday. Combined, the Maryland backfield averages 5.6 yards per carry.
WR Dontay Demus Jr. caught 10 receptions from Pigrome against Purdue for a total of 105 yards in the air. He leads the team in both number of receptions, yards (384), and he is tied with TE Tyler Mabry with the most touchdowns this season. Other productive receivers that are looking to bounce back from a quiet day in West Lafayette include receivers Darryl Jones, Chigoziem Okonkwo, and Brian Cobbs.
Key Defensive Players
Maryland is led by their senior linebacker Keandre Jones who currently leads the teams in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (9.0). LB Ayinde Eley is Jones’ partner as a linebacker and the 6-foot-3 sophomore currently has 26 solo tackles on the season with 20 assists. Both are reasons why the Terrapins have been able to hold opponents to just 3.3 yards per carry.
Fellow senior Antoine Brooks Jr. is Maryland’s main force in the secondary with a team high 35 solo tackles. The 5-foot-11 defensive back has not yet recorded an interception this season.
Speaking of takeaways, Maryland is coming into the game with a record that Indiana held for quite sometime, which was the longest number of consecutive games with a forced turnover. They currently have 18 consecutive takeaways in their active turnover streak, the 3rd-longest in the country.
Week 8: What to watch for against the Terrapins
1. Expanding the offensive playbook for the Hoosiers
Game after game in the first portion of the season, the Hoosier offense continues to be one of the main points of dialogue with this team. Specifically, the Penix-led Hoosiers are becoming more comfortable with Kalen DeBoer’s offensive game plan. Remember, these Hoosiers were dropping passes in the first game of the season against Ball State. Now the Hoosiers have a better understanding of DeBoer’s scheme and can begin to expand further into more complicated plays.
DeBoer treats the offense as an evolving game plan. The types of plays that he runs in the first quarter, certainly sets up Indiana for the later stages of the game. Against Michigan State, the Hoosiers ran a number of screen passes in the first quarter to force the Spartans to respect the wideout and effectively took away one defender. Let’s see how his offensive game plan grows with the players now able to take on more complicated concepts.
2. Are the Hoosiers for real?
Indiana, now ranked 25th in ESPN’s SP+ ranking, now has the profile of a team that has some of the most sustainable qualities in being successful. The SP+ ranking is not a measure of strength of schedule, but rather a combination of measurements that try to predict the long-term sustainability of a college football team.
The biggest outstanding question for Tom Allen’s team is whether or not they are for real. The Hoosiers have handled business against their mediocre non-conference schedule and they blanked Rutgers, who is very clearly at the bottom of the Big Ten. Besides just a single performance against Michigan State, the Hoosiers have not fully been tested. Michael Penix Jr. passes eye tests by all means, but this match up against Maryland gives Indiana another litmus test to see how realistic are the current expectations.
3. A display of fireworks for both teams
It’s not Fourth of July, but it might be the second-closest thing. Both teams are averaging 33 points per game or higher on the season and they are allowing around 20 points per game. The defenses for both teams will be helpful in giving the offense occasional breathers, but the game will most likely come down to which quarterback can sustain longer between the Hoosiers and Terrapins.
4. A test of depth and durability
Both teams going into Saturday with a number of key injuries on both sides of the ball. The Hoosiers have done their best in refilling their depleted offensive line. Maryland has a number of offensive weapons that are not available due to lingering issues.
The ability to manage the roster and have enough depth is what makes teams like Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State so successful historically. Between Indiana and Maryland, we may be getting looks at a large number of redshirt freshmen and true freshmen that are stepping in to cover losses in certain roles. Who has the deeper bench?
5. The turnover totals
With Maryland’s active streak of 18 consecutive forced turnovers – a record that the Hoosiers held until the second game of this season, the battle for turnovers will be an interesting one to watch. Michael Penix Jr. has only thrown three interceptions on the season.
Indiana, on the other hand, has not been particularly successful on the turnover front. They only have two interceptions on the season and one forced fumble.
Week 8: Indiana Hoosiers versus Maryland Terrapins Predictions
35-31 Indiana. The Hoosiers have started red-hot on offense to open the season, and this will be test to see if they can maintain that firepower. The water will find its level, but the good news for Hoosier fans is that it will still be enough to hold off the Terrapins in College Park.Rob Jiang
Indiana 31-24. Indiana wins its first conference road game since facing Rutgers September 2018. It won’t be the prettiest game, but Penix and Philyor will secure an early lead and the defense will make enough stops to take the W over a Maryland team that has been struggling as of late.Dakota Thompson
Indiana 35-24. The Hoosiers finally finish a road game behind the arm talent of Penix and the steady rushing game of Scott. Look for the Hoosiers to give Maryland fits with the new found pass rush from the Rutgers game. Whop Philyor has a good shot at 3 straight 100 yard games. IU will be one with away from bowl eligibility with 5 games left. Exciting times for this Hoosier Football program.Matt Lukens
Indiana 42-27. In a close battle, the Hoosiers pull ahead late to secure their fifth win of the season. Michael Penix Jr. has a career day throwing the football for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Stevie Scott adds two more on the ground and the defense shuts out Maryland in the fourth quarter. Indiana takes care of business when needed to inch even closer to bowl eligibility with five games remaining.Andrew Rude
Maryland 41-37. Assuming Maryland QB Josh Jackson plays the whole game, the Terps find openings in IU’s defense to break Hoosier fans’ hearts once again. If he plays, 2nd team All-Big Ten RB Anthony McFarland bounces back after his disappointing day at Purdue last week and runs for over 150 yards. IU falls to 4-3 and will try to recover at Nebraska.Nithin Krishnan
Featured Photo: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports