Game #8 in Northwestern as Terps try to get back on track!

The Maryland Terrapins off of a bye week and a two-game losing streak. You can lose to Top-10 Ohio State, and accept that loss — but losing to unranked Illinois in College Park is unacceptable. From the play calling to the execution to the mind-boggling onsides kick to start the second half, the loss had you wondering what just happened? Head coach Michael Locksley can be upset at poor execution, but what about coaching decisions that failed like a timeout near the end of the half that gave Illinois a chance to regroup and go for a touchdown instead of a field goal? Okay, enough about that. Today is a new day, and hopefully a better day for the Maryland Terps. They are in Illinois to face Northwestern. Time for Maryland to get back to winning.

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 Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan, and finish up with Rutgers. Here is the AP Top-25 NCAA rankings.

Ohio State just beat Penn State leaving two “unbeatens” in the Big-10. You will see in the national rankings that Michigan is at No. 2, Ohio State No. 3, and Penn State is at No. 10. 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 (9,805), passing touchdowns (67), total touchdowns (79), completions (824), completion percentage (66.7), 300-yard passing games (14), passing efficiency (146.4) and total offense (10,076).

Over the last 22 games played, dating back to 2021, Maryland is 15-7, good for the fourth-best record of any Big Ten school, trailing only three top-10 teams: #2 Michigan (20-2), #3 Ohio State (19-3) and #10 Penn State (17-5).

On the offensive side of the ball, Maryland currently ranks top-three in the Big Ten in total offense (422.3), passing offense (281.4), third down conversion percentage (45.0%), fourth down conversion percentage (90.0%) and sacks allowed (1.14). On the defensive side of the ball, Maryland currently ranks top-three in the Big Ten in sacks (3.00 per game), interceptions (nine) and turnovers gained (13).

“Going back to the fundamentals of the game. … Focus takes up a lot of energy. … [The bye week] allowed us to get much healthier.”

— head coach Michael Locksley said

Maryland has been one of the best teams in the nation at forcing turnovers through seven games, currently standing 11th in the country in turnover margin (+7), 12th in the country in interceptions (nine), 14th in the country in turnovers lost (six) and 23rd in the country in turnovers gained (13).

Maryland’s record: 5-2, 2-2 Big Ten

Northwestern’s record: 3-4, 1-3 Big Ten

All-time series: Maryland leads 2-1

DraftKings Sportsbook: Maryland -14, O/U 48.0

Kickoff: Saturday, October 28, Noon ET

Stadium: Ryan Field • Evanston, Illinois

TV: B1G Network (BTN) — Connor Onion (play-By-play), Anthony Herron (analyst), Elise Menaker (sideline)

Streaming TV: Big-10 Network

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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