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Previewing The Enemy: Maryland Terrapins

By David Abruzzese and Ethan Kasales
The Nittany Lions head to the DMV area in Maryland for the final game of the regular season. The Terrapins currently sport a 4-7 record and only one victory in conference play.

The Team

Seem like deja vu? The Terrapins have suffered a number of injury woes en route to a bowl-less season — regardless of Saturday’s outcome. The Nittany Lions last played in the Maryland area two seasons ago in a 31-30 victory played at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Offense

As mentioned before, all momentum gained after Maryland’s surprising road victory against then No. 23 Texas was halted after the Terrapins lost two starting quarterbacks — Kasim Hill and Tyrell Pigrome — in a matter of weeks early on in the season. In their place stepped sophomore Max Bortenschlager, a former young reserve pressed into action a season ago as a freshman after the Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to a season-ending injury. Maryland has had awful luck at the position; Bortenschlager has 10 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season, but possesses a dysmal 51 percent completion percentage on a total of 197 passes thrown. The athleticism in Maryland’s backfield will have to propel the team on Saturday — as it’s done all season.

That athleticism comes from star running back Ty Johnson.

Johnson’s been a force his entire career, and he’ll be counted on this Saturday. Johnson has 805 yards and five touchdowns on the season while averaging 6.2 yards per carry — an impressive feat considering he actually has one less carry than backup Lorenzo Harrison, who has 562 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

On the receiving end, junior D.J. Moore plays the Stefon Diggs role in Maryland’s offense. Despite the mediocre play at the quarterback position, Moore could actually surpass 1,000 yards on the season with a decent game against the Nittany Lions. He’s compiled 933 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, and should see himself surpass the mark. Behind him is Taivon Jacobs with 43 grabs for 520 yards and five touchdowns — but that’s where the production seemingly ends. Behind the duo, the Terps don’t have a player with more than 10 receptions, meaning it’ll be a search for production against a talented Penn State secondary.

Defense

 Jermaine Carter, Jr. sets the tone for Maryland’s defense, having racked up over 100 tackles as a sophomore and junior. Barring an enormous game against the Nittany Lions, he’ll finish this season just short of that milestone, as he enters Saturday’s contest with 79 on the year. Carter also leads the Terrapins in sacks with 3.5 and forced fumbles with four.
Nickelback Antoine Brooks, Jr. is another of defensive coordinator Andy Buh’s top performers, recording 71 tackles so far and 8.5 for loss. Brooks is an absolute menace to opposing offenses, always seeming to be in the vicinity of the ball carrier. Maryland is dead last in the Big Ten in scoring defense, however, surrendering an average of 35.5 points per game.
Opponents have converted 48 percent of their third downs against the Terps this season, so Penn State’s attack shouldn’t have to sweat those situations on Saturday. Darnell Savage, Jr. and JC Jackson lead the team in interceptions with three apiece, but Maryland doesn’t boast much of a pass rush, with only 18 sacks in 11 games.

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