Game #7 It’s the 100th Homecoming day for the Terps

The Maryland Terrapins led 17-10 last week to open the second half in their game against No. 3 Ohio State, but it was not enough, unfortunately, for the Terps as they could not play mistake-free football in that second half. The Terrapins take their 5-1 record back to College Park, Maryland for their 100th Homecoming Day in team history. Today’s opponent is against Illinois in a Big-Ten matchup.

While the DMV weather is rainy, the hope is that everyone shows up for this game that will feature prominent alumni and former players for a special celebration of the 100th year of Homecoming. The Homecoming celebration has been an all-week event and set campus-wide, where former and current Terps athletes and students return to College Park for a week dedicated to friends, football and other festivities.

At the very least, the Terps are playing for bowl eligibility today. 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 one more game to be bowl-eligible. After today, the Terps face 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. 3, and Penn State is at No. 6. Since they each play each other, there is only one possibility that a single 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.

QB Taulia Tagovailoa has helped ascend the Terps’ passing game to new heights during his three-year career. The quarterback has set Maryland career records for passing yards (9,539), passing touchdowns (65), total touchdowns (77), completions (797), completion percentage
(66.6), 300-yard passing games (14), passing efficiency (146.5) and total offense (9,816). Tagovailoa has been the best quarterback in the Big Ten through six games, currently leading the conference and standing top-20 in the FBS in passing yards (1,660), passing TDs (14) and points responsible for (110). He leads the Big Ten and is top-30 in the FBS in total offense
(1,749) as well.

Over the last 21 games played, dating back to 2021, Maryland is 15-6, good for the fourth-best record of any Big Ten school, trailing only three top-10 teams: #2 Michigan (19-2), #3 Ohio State (18-3) and #6 Penn State (17-4). The Terps have won five home games in a row dating back to last season’s game vs. Rutgers (11/26), their longest home winning streak since
winning seven in a row 2007-08. The five-game winning streak is tied for the 12th-longest in the nation and second-longest in the Big Ten, only trailing #2 Michigan (19).

Maryland’s 210 points (35.0 per game) this season are its second most through six team games in school history, bested only by its 221 points in the 2019 season. On the offensive side of the ball, Maryland currently ranks top-three in the Big Ten in total offense (429.3), scoring offense (35), passing offense (280.5), third down conversion percentage (48.2%) and fourth down conversion percentage (87.5). On the defensive side of the ball, Maryland currently ranks top-three in the Big Ten in sacks (2.67 per game), interceptions (eight) and turnovers gained (12).

“Homecoming really is an important thing to our campus. Everyone knows what it’s like to come home. Think about Thanksgiving when everybody comes home from college and is under one roof. That’s what Homecoming is all about. It’s about coming back, being able to reflect, and bringing your families back to show, ‘This is where I went to school.’ ”

— head coach Michael Locksley said

Maryland has been one of the best teams in the nation at forcing turnovers through six games, currently standing fourth in the country in turnover margin (+7) and 10th in the country and first in the Big Ten in turnovers gained (12). The encouraging news for today is that Illinois is the third worst turnover team in the FBS.

Maryland’s record: 5-1, 2-1 Big Ten

Illinois’ record: 2-4, 0-3 Big Ten

All-time series: 2-0 in favor of Maryland since 2018

DraftKings Sportsbook line: Maryland -13.5, O/U 52.0

Kickoff: Saturday, October 14, 3:30 pm ET

Stadium: SECU Stadium, College Park, Maryland

TV: NBC — Noah Eagle (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst), Kathryn Tappen (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)

This entry was posted in GamePosts. Bookmark the permalink.