Maryland vs. Rutgers: Five Keys to the Game

After giving there all this past weekend against Ohio State, Maryland will close out the home slate and regular season against Rutgers today. The spread changed slightly from open to close with Maryland opening as a 14-point favorite and closing at 14.5. This week’s game gives the Terps a chance to get back in the win column and earn their fourth Big Ten win of the season. How do they do that? We dive into the matchup.

  • Watch out for Avery Young: the veteran safety is Rutgers best defender and might be their best player overall, sitting third on the team in tackles and is the leader of the defense. Young is one of three Rutgers players to force a fumble and has a sack and an interception. Maryland’s offense has the weapons to take advantage of Rutgers along the boundaries but Young’s versatility will test Tagovailoa’s eyes once more.
  • Have someone on Johnny Langan: Langan lines up everywhere on Rutgers’ offense. The former quarterback will be in the backfield, lined up at tight end, and take the snap. Langan ranks second on the team in catches, third in receiving yards, and fourth in rushing yards. When he is on the field, a big play could soon follow. If Maryland can keep a man on Langan and make sure he can’t hurt them through the game’s duration, it will greatly affect the Scarlet Knight offense.
  • Force Turnovers: Rutgers has thrown 14 interceptions on the year between three quarterbacks, meanwhile, Maryland’s defense hasn’t recorded an interception in their last three games. This looks like the perfect game to change that as the Terps are 4-2 when they win the turnover battle. Corners Tarneeb Still, Deonte Banks and Jakorian Bennett have to take advantage when an opportunity comes their way against a Rutgers offense that sits in the bottom three in the conference in both scoring and passing offense.
  • Win at the Line of Scrimmage: Maryland has struggled to both rush and stop the rush in the last three games. The main reason for these struggles has been the Terps’ inability to win at the line of scrimmage. That has to change against the Scarlet Knights. The Terps’ offensive line has to open up holes for the running backs. Roman Hemby needs less than 150 yards to reach 1000 on the season. That should add motivation for the line to do well. On the defensive side of the field, there can’t be any big runs given up. Rutgers’ leading rusher Kyle Monangai has only had one game with over 70 yards on the ground. One of the major keys to winning this game starts with domination in the trenches.
  • Don’t let Rutgers stay in the game: On paper, Maryland should win this game easily. Rutgers has lost seven of its last eight games and its only win in the Big Ten has come against Indiana. However, there’s a reason the game is played. Maryland can not make things easier for Rutgers and allow them to keep it a close game. The Terps must have their emotions under control and not get called for late hits, unnecessary roughness, or unsportsmanlike penalties. They also can’t afford to turn the ball over and give the Scarlet Knights great field position. If the Terps can play a mostly clean game, they will win easily.

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