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Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Maryland

Unranked Penn State football (0-2) will host Maryland (1-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions desperately need a victory after starting their season with two losses to Indiana and Ohio State. Maryland, on the other hand, is coming off a 45-44 win in an overtime thriller against Minnesota.

Our staff believes the Nittany Lions will bounce back against the Terps.

Samuel Brungo (1-1): Penn State 48, Maryland 26

Maryland hasn’t put up much of a fight against Penn State, especially over the last few years. Unfortunately, its no-touchdown streak might end this year. However, the result will stay the same.

Taulia Tagovailoa, like his older brother, has baller potential. With that said, I think his performance this weekend will be more similar to week one when he threw three interceptions and had a sub-100 yard game against Northwestern. This past weekend against Minnesota, he scored five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and threw for 394 yards. I think he will struggle against Penn State’s defense but find a few weak spots to put some points on the board.

I see the Nittany Lions’ defensive front shutting down the run game with Jake Funk and showing up against Tagovailoa’s scramble ability.

Overall, expect a huge game from Sean Clifford, Jahan Dotson, and Pat Freiermuth. We may see some of the backups get some action. Oh, and the kickers will convert all of their kicks again as well. State by 22.

Connor Donohue (1-1): Penn State 35, Maryland 9

Four touchdowns. That’s how many scores Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim had against the Maryland defense last weekend. Additionally, Ibrahim ran wild against the Terps for a total of 207 yards.

Despite the early struggles, I think Penn State’s running game will have a field day. Thinking the Nittany Lions’ running attack is in trouble because of their poor performance versus Ohio State is an overreaction, to say the least. I also think Clifford and the receiving core will be able to exploit Maryland’s defense with relative ease. 

Am I being overly confident? I don’t think so. Maryland played good versus Minnesota and won in overtime, but it lost to Northwestern 43-3 in the first week of the season. Taulia Tagovailoa may be hot, but David is running into Goliath. Maryland won’t score a touchdown to keep the tradition going.

Frankie Marzano (1-1): Penn State 55, Maryland 6

It’s been *checks notes* 1,490 days since the last time Maryland scored a touchdown against Penn State.

I think the Nittany Lions are going to come out of the tunnel mad and they’re going to take it out on Maryland. This team is too good to be 0-2, and the team believes that too. Don’t count the Nittany Lions out after losing two of the most difficult games on their schedule. Penn State will cover against the spread.

Matt Rudisill (1-1): Penn State 38, Maryland 27

It’s bounce-back time, folks. After two tough games to start the season, I think the Nittany Lions will rebound quite nicely against Maryland.

Penn State has spent the last two games figuring themselves out for the most part, and with the emergence of Jahan Dotson, the passing game seems to have done just that. Although the offensive line has struggled, I believe Penn State will have enough success through the air on Saturday that the boys in the trenches will still establish the run game.

With the defense limiting Ohio State to 38 points last week, I think the group will fare well against the Terrapins offense this week.

Sasha Kalika (0-0): Penn State 69, Maryland 27

After losing two straight games to start the season, Penn State is prepared to come back stronger than ever and salvage this season. Fans want this win to remain hopeful for the rest of the season and possibly go to a championship game.

Connor Krause (0-2): Penn State 38, Maryland 13

The Nittany Lions will rebound by playing a complete game on both sides of the ball against the Terrapins. In 2016, Joe Moorhead’s new offensive philosophy finally clicked in a home matchup against Maryland. On Saturday, I expect Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense to do the same and produce the group’s first complete four-quarter output of the season.

Penn State will look to couple its newfound success in the passing game with taking advantage of Maryland’s poor run defense, which allowed over 250 rushing yards to Minnesota last week. The Nittany Lions’ defense will allow its first touchdown to the Terrapins in over three seasons, but Brent Pry’s crew will play solid enough to earn a convincing victory.

Gabe Angieri (1-1): Penn State 48, Maryland 17

After losing their first two games of the season, the Nittany Lions will bounce back with a win against Maryland. The Terps are coming off a big 45-44 win against Minnesota and were led by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa’s five-touchdown performance. However, the previous week, Northwestern blew out Maryland 43-3 in what was a lousy game from the Terps.

Penn State’s offense will break out and play a complete game against a Maryland defense that has allowed 587 rushing yards in two games. Expect Devyn Ford to have the best game of his college career in this one, as well as solid performances from Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes. The Sean Clifford-Jahan Dotson connection will pick up right where it left off against Ohio State, as the duo will be in sync once again.

The Terps will put some points on the board thanks to talented Tagovailoa, but the Nittany Lions will be too much to handle.

Will Pegler (1-1): Penn State 45, Maryland 20

This year’s Maryland squad isn’t the normal doormat of the Big Ten. The Terps’ backfield is already a scary enough thought, as QB1 Taulia Tagovailoa and powerful running back Jake Funk both had big days in their win over Minnesota. Penn State’s defense is clearly more talented than Minnesota’s, however, so they won’t have the same struggles against this duo. I still think Maryland will put up some points early, though, and finally break that scoreless streak against the Nittany Lions.

While the Terps may hang around early with a score or two, I expect Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense to finally hit its stride and play a full game. Multiple guys have shown flashes through two weeks, and it’s all going to come together Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium. Jahan Dotson and Sean Clifford will connect for at least one touchdown, while Pat Freiermuth will be back to his normal self. I also expect either Keyvone Lee or Caziah Holmes to score their first career touchdowns with a big lead late.

Penn State plays some complementary football and gets a much-needed win against an improved but still inferior Maryland team.

Ryan Parsons (0-2): Penn State 42, Maryland 23

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Penn State fans shouldn’t take Maryland for granted this year. The Terps have a strong offense coming off an overtime win against Minnesota. Maryland did get crushed by Northwestern in week one, so it’s hard to say how good (or bad) its football team is yet.

I think Penn State will come close enough to firing on all cylinders Saturday to handily defeat the Terps. Jahan Dotson and the receiving group just keeps on getting better, and I expect the offense to put together a full, four-quarter game. Also, look for younger running backs like Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes to come on the scene Saturday.

The Nittany Lions’ defense has been hot-and-cold so far, but I expect a strong, disruptive performance from it, especially from Brandon Smith and Jayson Oweh.

Matt DiSanto (1-1): Penn State 31, Maryland 27

OK, folks. The bar is incredibly low for Penn State football these days after two straight losses. At this point in the column, you’ve already read about the Nittany Lions’ struggles against Ohio State and Indiana, so I won’t belabor on.

Maryland is a better team than most Penn State fans want to admit, and I think the Terrapins will give the Nittany Lions a good run for their money. Although I foresee Penn State finally picking up its first win, it’ll be close and come down to the wire thanks to another second-half awakening. Penn State should scrape out a win but leave fans wondering if it’s legit or merely a mirage.

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