Game #4 Terrapins on the road at Michigan State

The Maryland Terrapins take their 3-0 record on the road today for their first B1G matchup of the season and on this Saturday is against the Spartans of Michigan State. The 3:30 pm kickoff will hopefully be an opportunity for the Terps to grab an early lead after their first three games of the season started with quick deficits. Sure, wins are all about finishing the game with a lead, but leading from start to finish would be a good goal for this team. These early season games go a long way in preparation for a long season, and each early win gets you that much closer to a national ranking and a coveted Bowl Game.

Generally, teams become eligible for Bowl Games by winning six or more games and having a winning percentage of at least . 500. What that means for the Terps in their 12-game schedule is that they need to win at least three more games to be bowl-eligible. After today, the Terps face Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan, and Rutgers. Here is the AP Top-25 NCAA rankings.

You will see in the national rankings that Michigan is at No. 2, Ohio State No. 6, and Penn State is at No. 7. Since they each play each other, there is only one possibility that one undefeated team emerges from the eastern division of the Big-Ten. The West and East divisions started in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers joined. Next year that will go away after the Big-Ten announced their western expansion and added USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington for the 2024 season, as well as a new multi-billion-dollar media rights deal with Fox, CBS, NBC, and Peacock that will guarantee each school at least $50 million annually. The expansion to 18-schools makes this the most powerful football conference in the NCAA.

The conference has elected to continue the nine-conference-game format, through the Flex Protect Plus Model, which features “a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents” to where each team will play “every other conference opponent at least twice — once home and away — in a four-year period,” the B1G announced in a press release in June. That will add a lot of nationwide exposure as the Big-Ten expands east coast to west coast.

While Michigan State is 2-1 on their season, they endured a national embarrassment two weeks ago when their head coach, Mel Tucker, was dismissed. They are coming off of a blowout loss to No. 8 Washington, 41-7, last week. Maryland has not won at Michigan State since 1950, but enters Saturday’s game as the favorite so we will see if Maryland can turn-around six decades of failure in East Lansing.

This is the third straight season, the Terps have started the season with a 3-0 record. Maryland is one of only nine teams in the nation to accomplish that feat (Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Rutgers, Wake Forest). This season, there are only six FBS teams to start 3-0 and win all three games by 18-plus points (Maryland, No. 2 Michigan, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 5 USC & No. 8 Washington)

Today the team will once again look to their redshirt senior QB1, Taulia Tagovailoawho now owns most of the quarterback passing records in Terrapins history. Tagovailoa, who is coming off a season-high 342-yard performance against Virginia last Friday, holds the Maryland record in passing touchdowns (56), passing yards (8,768), and completions (731).

Terps’ head coach Michael Locksley this week talked about how Tagovailoa has done better when forced out of the pocket by the defense and dropped the term “rat-trapping” on the media that had people searching for what that meant.

“Where [a quarterback] runs around like a chicken with his head cut off.”

— Locksley explained what rat-trapping is

The Maryland defense has been fantastic for the past five games (Rutgers, 11/26/22 – pres.) dating back to last season, only allowing nine points per game. The Terps have only allowed four touchdowns over the last five games. This season, the Terps are allowing only 13.3 points per game, the 21st-best mark in the country. Maryland has forced six turnovers, also top-25 in the nation and stands 15th in the nation in turnover margin at 1.33. Last week they dominated Virginia in the second half while securing three interceptions to seal away that victory.

Maryland’s record: 3-0, 0-0 Big Ten

Michigan State’s record: 2-1, 0-0 Big Ten

All-time series: Michigan State leads, 10-3

DraftKings Sportsbook line: Maryland -7.5, O/U 52.5

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET

Stadium: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan

TV: NBC – Jac Collinsworth (play-by-play), Jason Garrett (analyst), Zora Stephenson (sideline)

Streaming TV: Peacock

Radio: Audacy Radio App / SiriusXM 136; 105.7 FM (Balt.) / 980 AM (D.C.) — Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), Steve Suter (analyst)

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