Penn State vs. Maryland Preview

Story posted October 22, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Ryan Leonardo

Penn State will play their third straight conference game as the Nittany Lions travel to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Maryland Terrapins. Last week, the Lions (5-2, 2-1) came up well short in their battle against their longtime rivals, the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0), losing 38-10. Maryland (2-4, 0-2) has dropped three straight, losing by an average of 29.3 points, and sits in last place in the Big Ten East.

Penn State had no answers for Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes rushing attack. Barrett had four touchdowns: two passing and two rushing, and Ohio State ran for a total of 315 yards on 50 attempts. Running back Ezekiel Elliott totaled 153 rushing yards on 27 attempts and a touchdown.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg continued his uneven play, completing a season-low seven of 13 pass attempts for 120 yards and a touchdown. Penn State got a spirited performance from running back Saquan Barkley, who ran for 194 yards on 26 attempts. The offense was limited to 315 yards and was an abysmal 1-12 on third down.

Maryland’s recent woes have led to the firing of head coach Randy Edsall, who had coached the Terrapins since 2011 and compiled a 22-33 (10-23) record. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was named the interim coach on October 11th, following Maryland’s third straight loss. Locksley has a 2-26 (2-15) career record as a head coach, leading the University of New Mexico Lobos from 2009 to 2011. This week will be Locksley’s head coaching debut with Maryland.

Maryland last played on October 10, dropping a 49-28 decision to Ohio State. The Terrapins ran for 253 yards on 42 attempts and three touchdowns, led by quarterback Perry Hills who ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns. The rushing yardage was a record for a Maryland quarterback. After a revolving door at the quarterback position for much of the season, it seems like the Terrapins have settled on Hills.

Both offenses have struggled this season, as Penn State and Maryland rank as the worst teams in total offense in the Big Ten. Penn State averages 340.1 yards per game to rank last whereas Maryland sits just above them with 341.3.

Penn State’s strong defense will look to bounce back after allowing season-highs in points, 38, and yards, 429. Although the Nittany Lions lead the FBS Division I-A schools with 27 sacks, they struggled mightily against designed quarterback runs all season, as J.T. Barrett averaged 9.3 yards per rushing attempt last week. Penn State needs to do better this week against Perry Hills. The Maryland defense has been much leakier, however, allowing 196.8 rushing yards per game. It could be another big rushing performance for Barkley.

Last year, Maryland rallied from a 16-7 fourth quarter deficit last year to win 20-19 as Brad Craddock kicked a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Coverage begins with the Opening Drive at 1:30 p.m. followed by the ComRadio pregame show at 2:30 p.m.