The Terps will look to turn things around on their senior day against Rutgers in the last game of the season and end their three game losing streak. The Terps are 6-5 heading into the last game of the season after their upset bid of Ohio State fell short. Rutgers coming off a blowout loss will also be looking to bounce back. This week I talked to Richie Schnyderite of The Knight Report to see what Terps fans should expect from the Scarlet Knights this Saturday.
John Gugs: The Rutgers offense only averages 19 points per game. When playing a team like Maryland whose offense showed signs of getting back on track last week, what can Rutgers do differently to jumpstart it’s own scoring on offense?
Richie Schnyderite: The Rutgers offense hasn’t been very good at all this season hence firing OC Sean Gleeson midseason and promoting TEs coach Nunzio Campanile to interim OC and it seems like that was the right move. Despite not being able to do much of anything against the Penn State defense this past weekend, the offense looked the best it has all season versus Michigan State a few weeks back. Now there are a few issues with this offense that need to be taken care of if they want to keep up with the Terps. For starters they need to block up front better, as that has been a struggle all season long. Secondly freshman QB Gavin Wimsatt has to do a better job with decision making and accuracy. Since taking over as starter a few weeks back he’s had trouble with decision making, throwing some questionable balls and the accuracy thing is a huge problem as he floats some too far and others land way too short. Wimsatt will need to be calm and collective back there to keep up with the Terps. Finally, they need to get the ground game going. The offense looks best when they establish a run, now that’s a little bit more difficult to do given the team’s best running back Samuel Brown V is out for the year, but Monangai has shown glimpses at times as he did run for 100+ vs. Michigan State.
JG: Rutgers used two quarterbacks last week and has used multiple quarterbacks all season. How do you see the quarterback situation playing out on Saturday?
RS: It’s been Gavin Wimsatt all the way since Sean Gleeson was fired, Evan Simon only came in with minutes left in a blowout. This is Wimsatt’s job from here on out.
JG: The only player for Rutgers this season with a positive touchdown/interception ratio is tight end Johnny Langan who has only three passing attempts with one being a touchdown. What needs to change in order for the passing game to be successful on Saturday?
RS: A lot. The quarterback needs time to throw first and foremost and over the past few weeks that has been a struggle, he needs to make accurate reads and throws and the receivers need to create more seperation. Only one receiver has truly been good this year and that’s Sean Ryan but put double coverage on him and they have no one else getting open for the most part.
JG: On defense, Rutgers is giving up 335 yards per game. The Terps offense gains an average of 397 yards per game. What do you think the Rutgers defense will need to do in order to slow down the Terps high powered offense?
RS: They will create some pressue on Taulia and make him throw on the run. Rutgers has one of the better edge guys in the Big Ten Conference in Aaron Lewis who has been stellar so far this season and a guy named Wesley Bailey on the other side who has shown serious flashes, especially against a pretty good Penn State OL last week. The issue is the interior or well lack there of any rush from them. Regardless I think you try to make Taulia uncomfortable, force him out of the pocket and hope your DBs can cover Jarrett and crew for the Terps.
JG: Who are two players on defense for Rutgers that you expect to have the biggest impact on Saturday and why?
RS: I want to go with Aaron Lewis as the first one, now I think he might have a tough time versus a solid tackle in Duncan for UMD, but he’s been crushing guys this season so I think he continues that. As for number two? I’ll go with linebacker Deion Jennings (pending health). Now Jennings was a last minute scratch from the starting lineup last week due to an injury he suffered two weeks ago, but if he can go this weekend vs. Maryland then I’d keep an eye on him as he is surefire tackler and arguably the team’s top linebacker this year.
JG: What is your score prediction for the game and why?
RS: As good as the Rutgers defense has been at times this year, I just don’t see a way where they score enough points on offense to get a victory. I think the Terps offense is too powerful and can score at will at times. So right now I have the Terps winning this one 24-10.