Maryland vs. NC State: Keys to the Game

Maryland will wrap up the 2022 season on Friday afternoon against NC State in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. How does Maryland stack up? What needs to happen to secure the eighth win? Breaking down four keys to the game.

  • Do the Young Receivers Step Up?: Dontay Demus, Rakim Jarrett, and Jacob Copeland have all declared for the draft and announced that they will not play in the bowl game. Despite the possibility of having Jeshaun Jones available this will give the young receivers a chance to prove that they are ready to step into a starting role. Besides Jones, the top wide receiver on the field is Tai Felton, who finished with 19 catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Felton is the only one who had double-digit catches in 2022. Octavian Smith was the next highest with nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. The other two wide receivers with catches were Shaleak Knotts with four and Leon Haughton with one. While Maryland lost a lot of production at receiver with its opt-outs, it does allow the team to see what the future holds for the unit.
  • Hemby’s Quest for 1,000 Rushing Yards: Roman Hemby has been the biggest breakout for the Terps offense in 2022. He might have also been their best offensive weapon, being the main reason why they won a few games. None more so than his 179-yard, three-touchdown performance against Northwestern, which included a 75-yard touchdown run that gave the Terps the lead for good. Hemby finished the regular season with 924 yards on the ground. If he is able to eclipse the 1000-yard mark, he’ll be the first Terp to do so since Anthony McFarland in 2018. With the loss of four of the team’s top pass catchers, Maryland might go heavy on the ground game against NC State.
  • Eyes on  Jordan Houston and Thayer Thomas: Houston and Thomas are the two players that Maryland’s defense needs to be aware of at all times. Houston, a former Maryland commit, is the team’s leading rusher with 530 yards while catching 24 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. He hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown all year, and Maryland does not want to be the team that gives it up. Thomas, meanwhile, is the Wolfpack’s leader in catches (53), receiving yards (588), and touchdowns (4). With Deonte Banks opting out of the bowl game, it will be up to Jakorian Bennett and Tarheeb Still to make sure that Thomas doesn’t get open at all.
  • The Young Players at Cornerback: Besides Banks declaring for the draft, the Terps defense also saw Isaiah Hazel, Jayon Venerable, and Shane Mosley leave via the transfer portal. With them gone, Lionell Whitaker and Gavin Gibson will have a more important role in the secondary. Gibson finished with 15 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, and two passes defended in ten games played. Whitaker finished with nine tackles and a pass defended. There’s also a chance that fans could get a look at Perry Fisher in this game. Will the young corners step up when needed and make some big plays?

Related Links

Maryland powers past UMBC for 80-64 win

Maryland powers past UMBC for tenth win of the season

Portal OL expected to officially visit Maryland (+)

Preview: Maryland men’s basketball wraps up nonconference play vs. UMBC

Shell-N-Tell: Put Up Your Duke’s

Virginia four-star has strong connections to Maryland (+)