Maryland vs. Indiana: Five Battles to Watch

Maryland (4-2, 1-2 B1G) at Indiana (3-3, 1-2 B1G)

When: Sat., Oct. 15 | 3:35 p.m. EST

Where: Memorial Stadium

Watch: ESPN2 –  Anish Shroff, Brock Osweiler, Taylor McGregor

Listen: 105.7 FM (Balt) / 980 AM (DC) – Johnny Holliday, Steve Suter

Maryland will have a chance to claw back to .500 in conference play on Saturday when Maryland travels to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. What should Maryland fans keep an eye out for? Can the Terps overpower the Hoosiers? We take a look at five things that need to happen in order for Maryland to pull out its second road victory of the season.

  • Relying on the Passing Game? Taulia threw for his 11th career 300 yard game and completed a pass to ten different receivers last week against Purdue. However, he had an uneven performance, missing throws he normally doesn’t and throwing an interception into double coverage. The passing game as a whole has had its struggles this year despite talent all over the board with guys like Jacob Copeland and Dontay Demus struggling to gain consistent targets. However, Saturday could lead to the best performance by the passing game all year. Indiana’s passing defense is second to last in the Big Ten, only ahead of Michigan State and allow an opposing 66.7% completion percentage. Maryland has done well starting out games, becoming the only FBS team to score points on their opening drive in every game this season, while the offense has the eighth-most plays of over 40 yards (ten) with eight attributed to the passing attack. Tight end Corey Dyches, who had a big performance against Purdue, and receiver Dontay Demus, who is starting to look like his old self after the knee injury, are two players to keep an eye on.
  • Dominance in the Trenches: Along with the passing game struggles, the offensive line might have had their worst performance of the season last week. Taulia was pressured more often than in previous games and the line struggled to open holes in the run game. The play of the offensive line was one of the reasons why Maryland didn’t get any points out of the three turnovers the defense caused, while the veteran unit is responsible for nearly half of Maryland’s 50 penalties so far this season. This included one drive where the Terps started at Purdue’s 40-yard-line yet couldn’t punch it in. They also had problems blocking on screens, where there would have been yards to gain if the block was made. Indiana, meanwhile, have the Big Ten’s worst scoring defense and second-worst pass defense but have generated 14 sacks this season, just one fewer than Maryland. Linebacker Aaron Casey will be a name that Maryland fans will hear on Saturday as he sits fifth in the Big Ten in TFLs (seven), while linebacker Cam Jones leads the Big Ten in tackles (54). Still, Maryland matches up against the Hoosiers defensive line and Indiana gives the offensive line a chance to rebound and show that Purdue was not a sign of things to come.
  • Shake up on Indiana’s coaching staff: After Indiana’s game against Michigan, Head Coach Tom Allen fired offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Darren Hiller. The move made sense as Indiana leads the Big Ten in sacks allowed is only rushing for 90 yards a game and is second worst in the Big Ten, only ahead of Iowa. Question is, will this move work out for the Hoosiers? Maryland’s run defense was dominant against Purdue, holding them to under a yard a carry and not allowing a run over ten yards. After struggling to generate consistent pressure through the opening month of the season, Maryland is one game removed from a season-high five sacks that included a breakout performance from defensive end Durell Nchami. Saturday’s biggest opportunity might sit in the front seven with the unit able to maintain its momentum heading into a Northwestern game that features potential first round tackle Peter Skoronski.
  • Limit WR Cam Camper: Maryland knew it could have its hands full one week ago against Purdue receiver Charlie Jones, but did well containing him despite his explosiveness. The job isn’t done, though, as the secondary will once again be tasked with stopping the Hoosiers’ primary playmaker in wide receiver Cam Camper. Camper sits sixth in catches (35) and fifth in yards (457) but has struggled to find the endzone with the Hoosiers struggling on offense. The 6-foot-2 receiver will likely see himself opposite of Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, but Camper’s explosiveness is impressive. Camper’s nearly 92 yards of receiving yards per game is good for third in the Big Ten as he gives the Hoosiers a dependable vertical threat, but with running back tandem Shaun Shivers and Josh Henderson looking to bust the holes in Maryland’s defensive line, Camper will be downfield. Momentum-building plays like forced turnovers will help keep Camper out of rhythm, but it’s another test for a secondary after facing extensive targets through the first six games.
  • Playing a Clean Game: Against Purdue, Maryland again was held back by penalties. They had 76 yards on nine penalties called against them. Jaelyn Duncan and Spencer Anderson were called for false starts,  Tarheeb Still was caught holding, and Ahmed McCullough had an unnecessary roughness that put the ball inside Maryland’s 20. Maryland leads the Big Ten in both total penalties and yards and once again, Saturday will be a chance for the Terps to reverse course from what’s been the norm under head coach Mike Locksley.
  • Bonus: Can This Game be Considered a Rivalry yet?; Since 2016, only one of the games between Maryland and Indiana was decided by more than one score. That came in 2020 when Maryland was missing many of their starters and haven’t played in three weeks. Last year, the Terps needed to recover an onside kick to put the game away. Maryland has been looking for a rival since joining the Big Ten, and it looks like Indiana could be considered one soon.

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