Game #9 Everything can be righted with a Terps victory over Penn State

The Maryland Terrapins are mired in an unexplainable three-game losing streak. You can lose to Top-10 Ohio State, and accept that loss — but losing to unranked Illinois in College Park and Northwestern is unacceptable. From the play calling to the lack of execution to the mind-boggling 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct — this starts to point back to head coach Michael Locksley. This has become an undisciplined team, and if this was a pro team, you’d be wondering what is going on inside the practices and the locker room. Today, the task is far from easy at No. 9 ranked Penn State is the opponent.

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

Ohio State just beat Penn State two weeks ago 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. 9. 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 (10,079), passing touchdowns (70), total touchdowns (82), completions (854), completion percentage (66.6), 300-yard passing games (14), passing efficiency (145.8) and total offense (10,351).

Maryland has the second-toughest remaining schedule in the FBS entering this week based on its opponents’ current records, tied with Rutgers (.813). The only FBS team with a tougher remaining schedule is USC (.875).

On the offensive side of the ball, Maryland is one of three Power 5 teams this season (North Carolina, UCLA)

“A few things stand-out. There’s no magic button to push.”

— head coach Michael Locksley said

The Terps currently rank 12th in the FBS and second in the Big Ten (#9 Penn State with 32) with 26 sacks this season. Maryland has at least three sacks in five straight games (at Michigan State, 9/23; Indiana, 9/30, at #4 Ohio State, 10/7, Illinois, 10/14 & Northwestern, 10/28), the Terps longest single-season streak since at least 1996. The last time the Terrapins had such a streak, it spanned over two seasons between November 12, 2011 – September 8, 2012.

The Terrapins have recorded at least five defensive sacks in back-to-back conference games (Illinois, 10/14 & Northwestern, 10/28) in the same season for the first time over the past 25 years. They are the only Big Ten program to have done this so far this season.

Maryland’s record: 5-3, 2-3 Big Ten

Penn State’s record: 7-1, 4-1 Big Ten

All-time series: Penn State leads 42-3-1

DraftKings Sportsbook: Maryland +8, O/U 50.0

Kickoff: Saturday, November 4, 3:30 PM ET

Stadium: SECU Stadium • College Park, Maryland

TV: FOX — PxP: Jason Benetti; Analyst: Brock Huard; Sideline: Allison Williams

Streaming TV: FOX

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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