Blue White Illustrated

Maryland Pregame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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having to rely on two quarterbacks who had been at the bottom of the depth chart when the season began. His response: Progress isn't sufficient. "We've been through some extraordinary circumstances this year," Durkin said. "But it's important for our guys to know this and realize this as a program: We're here to win the conference. That's what we're here to compete and do. … I certainly don't take any moral victories because we had a chance in the fourth or it was close. That's not what we're building. That's not what we're talking about. There are positives to take from the game that we can point to, but at the end of the day, the guys we're bringing in here and the guys who are part of this program are here to win those games, and that's exactly what we intend to do." The extraordinary circumstances that Durkin referenced mostly involve Mary- land's quarterbacks. The Terps have gone through QBs at a prodigious rate this year, and their inability to keep them healthy for any length of time has had a major impact on what started out as a very promising campaign. Maryland went into the season thinking it was in pretty good shape at quarterback. And through the first 44 minutes of its sea- son, it was in pretty good shape. Sopho- more Tyrrell Pigrome dazzled Texas in the opener, completing 9 of 12 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns and running for 64 yards and a score. But late in the third quarter, Pigrome twisted his knee on a short run and had to be helped off the field. The injury was later diagnosed as a season- ending ACL tear. Pigrome was replaced by true freshman Kasim Hill. A former four-star recruit from Washington, D.C., Hill entered the game with the Terps clinging to a three-point lead and led them to two fourth-quarter touchdowns. "That tells you a little bit about him," Durkin said following his team's 51-41 victory. Hill got his first career start a week later against Towson, and his stats were as im- pressive as the 63-17 final score would in- dicate: 163 yards on 13-of-16 passing, two touchdowns, and another 41 yards on the ground. But a week later against UCF, Hill became the second Terps quarterback to see his season end due to an ACL injury. He was replaced by Max Bortenschlager, who had been third on the depth chart three weeks earlier. A 6-foot-3, 211-pounder from Fishers, Ind., Bortenschlager had started a game the year before as a true freshman, so he wasn't inexperienced. But he was un- able to extend Maryland's hot start. The Terps were routed by the Knights, 38-10, and while they bounced back to beat Min- nesota, 31-24, in their Big Ten opener a week later, they went on to lose six of their next seven games. Only one of those losses – a 31-24 setback at Rutgers – was by sin- gle-digits. One of the problems for Maryland during the Big Ten season has been that Borten- schlager hasn't stayed healthy. He was knocked out of the Ohio State game with a concussion and left the Rutgers game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Ryan Brand started in his place against Michigan on Nov. 11, and the Wolverines held the sophomore walk-on to 16 completions in 35 attempts for 136 yards, intercepting him twice in a 35-10 victory. Bortenschlager returned to action against Michigan State and completed 13 of 25 N O V E M B E R 2 2 , 2 0 1 7 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 2 NATE BAUER 9-2 | The only thing that has truly prevented Penn State's offense from im- posing its will on opponents this season has been a monsoon. Maryland's offense is among the least-proficient in college football, and that spells trouble for the Terrapins, assuming a mid-50s, clear forecast holds for College Park, Md., on Saturday. Look for another game similar to Nebraska, with Penn State's starters building a sizable lead before Maryland scores a few last-gasp points. | PENN STATE 49, MARYLAND 21 PHIL GROSZ 9-2 | I usually try to avoid comparing opponents when making Penn State game predictions. But I'm going to break my rule this week, because when I look at Mary- land's defense, I see a lot of similarities to Nebraska, the team that the Nittany Lions gouged for 609 yards of total offense last Saturday. Both Maryland and Nebraska have struggled all season against the run. Nebraska is last in the Big Ten in run defense, while Maryland is 12th, having allowed 182.2 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry. I can envision Saquon Barkley totaling more than 200 all-purpose yards and Trace McSorley throwing for 300 against a defense that ranks 13th in the Big Ten against the pass (226.8 yards per game). If both of those things happen, Penn state will amass close to 600 yards of total offense in a blowout win. | PENN STATE 56, MARYLAND 21 MATT HERB 10-1 | Through 11 games, Maryland has totaled only 15 sacks while giving up 30. Both of those numbers bode well for Penn State. If the Nittany Lions are to keep their offensive momentum going in their regular-season finale, they'll need another big game from Trace McSorley. And if they're going to keep D.J. Moore from shredding their secondary the way Nebraska's wideouts did last week, they'll need to put some pressure on Max Bortenschlager. There's every reason to be confident in McSorley's ability to or- chestrate Penn State's offense, even against a Maryland defense that has held each of its past three opponents to fewer than 10 completions. I'm a little less confident in the pass rush, and I'm also struck by how much more tentative Penn State has looked on the road this year than it has looked at home. But I don't think those caveats add up to a Terps victory. | PENN STATE 38, MARYLAND 24 TIM OWEN 10-1 | Statistically speaking, Maryland is not terribly far off from Nebraska, meaning it has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone while rendering moot its average of 26 points scored per game. The Terrapins, however, have turned in more qual- ity wins this season than the Cornhuskers have, topping Texas, Minnesota and Indiana. So while I see Penn State cruising to another win behind a solid first-half effort, I expect a stronger, more sustained fight from Maryland in its home stadium than what Nebraska served up in Beaver Stadium last week. | PENN STATE 45, MARYLAND 21 RYAN SNYDER 9-2 | The Terps are moving in the right direction, but they're down a few quarterbacks at this stage of the season. That will be the reason Penn State wins, but don't be surprised if Maryland scores some points. | PENN STATE 38, MARYLAND 28 S T A F F P R E D I C T I O N S

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