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Indiana Hoosiers at Maryland Terrapins: Preview, predictions and prognostications

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When: Nov. 21, noon ET
Where: College Park, Md.; Byrd Stadium (51,802)
TV: BTN
All-Time Series: Indiana leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Maryland Win, 35-17 (2014)
Line: Maryland -3

 

1 Burning Question: Is This the Last Stand for Kevin Wilson?

Did you know that Indiana is 0-6 in Big Ten play heading in to the final two weeks of the Big Ten season? It sure doesn’t seem like that after watching them nearly upset Michigan last week and play some really dynamic offensive football. However, after a 4-0 start to the 2015 season, this team has dropped six straight games.

It’s led to a watershed moment for head coach Kevin Wilson — win and advance to the next test, take a loss and do not pass go.

That may seem overly simple, but in his fifth season in Bloomington getting to a bowl game should be a minimum requirement. Don’t get me wrong, it is refreshing to watch a school not give up on a coach in a year or two like has been the trend as of late, but at some point positive moral victories aren’t enough.

Indiana ends the season with arguably the two worst teams in the conference and needs a win in both games to get to 6-6 and bowl eligibility. Wins over Maryland and Purdue (next week) need to happen, or Wilson could well find himself out of a job by the final days of November.

2 Key Stats:

—13.0: That is the number of sacks racked up by Maryland’s junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Maryland hasn’t had a great overall season on the defensive side of the ball, but Ngakoue is sure doing his part. He’s just 0.5 of a sack away from tying the Maryland single-season record of 13.5 sacks. Indiana will need to keep Nate Sudfeld upright to win this game, so be on the lookout for double teams off the edge against Ngakoue.

— 149.0: That is the average number of yards gained rushing by Indiana’s Jordan Howard. Last week Howard nearly re-wrote the opponent’s record book for the Michigan Wolverines, putting up 238 yards for the second-most rushing yards ever by a Michigan opponent. That 149.0 per game average is tops in the Big Ten and third nationally. So, while most think of Indiana’s offense for slinging the ball all over the place, the truth is the running game is the key to the engine that runs the Hoosiers offense.

3 Key Players:

Brandon Ross, Maryland RB: The Terps running back leads all players at his position with 571 yards and four touchdowns, but he is just second on the team behind quarterback Perry Hills. Ross becomes even more important this week because Maryland has suspended backup running back Wes Brown. It means more carries and much more production needed from the starter than ever before this season. Can he do it?

Sean Davis, Maryland CB: It will be senior day in College Park, and that means the last go-round for Sean Davis. He’s going to have his hands full with a handful of Indiana wide receivers who can go off at any point in time. Maryland’s pass defense is 10th in the B1G against the pass, so Davis is going to need to have a big game for the Terps to have the chance (even if Vegas sees them as a favorite).

— Devine Redding, Indiana RB: Everyone knows about the tough matchup Maryland will have against Jordan Howard after what he did to the supposedly strong Michigan defense last week. Few are paying attention to the other hand though, and that is Redding. He’s no slouch himself, as the sophomore has 511 yards and seven touchdowns as the secondary back behind Howard. He’s a great change of look and given Maryland’s bad rushing defense, he could have a field day catching the Terps off guard after Howard pounds them in to submission.

4 Bold Prognostications:

— Maryland Will Play Just Two Quarterbacks: Here’s the reality, Maryland’s season-long obsession with playing musical chairs at quarterback hurts them more than opponents. Perry Hills gets the most out of what he can bring to the table, leading this team in rushing and trying his best in the pass game. However, when this team gets behind in a big way his game just doesn’t work in 2015. We’ve seen both Caleb Rowe and Shane Cockerille take snaps in the same game as Hills plenty of times. This time, Maryland will stick with the Hills-Rowe rotation as needed.

— Devine Redding Will Take Season Lead in Rushing TD’s at Indiana: Few realize that Redding is sitting just two touchdowns behind Jordan Howard (9) on the season. While Howard is the best home-run threat in the Big Ten, Redding has done well in mopping up those runs that don’t get in the end zone. Look for a three-touchdown day from Redding at at least a tie, if not a lead in rushing touchdowns ahead of the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.

— Levern Jacobs Won’t Catch a Pass: So? Well, it is kind of a big deal for the Terps offense to get the elder Jacobs brother going. He’s caught a pass in 12 straight games and has a team-best 31 receptions on the season. Jacobs against Indiana’s pass defense? How does he not get a catch? This is the time the Hoosiers step up against an opposing passing attack and Jacobs is blanketed all day long.

— Nate Sudfeld Passes for Over 300 Yards: Again, So? It seems like this is commonplace for the senior signal caller, but it actually isn’t all that commonplace. The truth is, Sudfeld has hit for over 300 yards passing just four times this season. Additionally, he hasn’t had it happen in two weeks. Maryland’s defense is ripe for the picking outside of William Likely and that means a return to 300-yard passing for the leading passer in Big Ten football (272.1 yards per game).

5 Staff Predictions:

Andy: Indiana 41-24 (78-20 overall; 46-51 ATS)
Dave: Indiana 45-24 (81-17 overall; 51-45 ATS)
Greg: Indiana 37-31 (74-26 overall; 54-42 ATS)
Matt: Indiana 45-38 (79-19 overall; 56-40 ATS)
Phil: Indiana 34-27 (33-12 overall; 15-27 ATS) *joined in Week 5

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Buckeyes Football

Every Big Ten East Division team’s biggest question after spring football

Spring Football has come to an end, and the East division has stolen all the attention, but did all the questions get answered?

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Michigan’s trip to Rome is in the books, which means the Big Ten has finally and officially wrapped up spring football. Hooray!

But, along with the official end of spring football comes a lot of reflection. Programs will turn to meetings to discuss players, positions and coaching ideas going forward, while the fans will look forward to what the fall may hold for their team.

For us here at talking10, it is time to reflect and ask the tough questions after 15 practices and nationally televised spring football games (if you want to call them that). So, what are the big questions being asked across the Big Ten?

Last week we took a look at what is being asked around the Big Ten’s West division. This week it is the Big Ten East division’s turn on the hot seat. Can the division that has won the conference crown every year since the new divisions went directional and not ‘Leaders’ and ‘Legends’ on us maintain its hold on the B1G title?

Let’s look across the B1G East division, shall we?

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Hoosiers Football

Maryland Terrapins at Indiana Hoosiers: Preview, Predictions and Prognostications

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When: Saturday, Oct. 29; 3:30pm ET
Where: Bloomington, Ind.; Memorial Stadium (52,929)
TV: BTN
All-Time Series: Indiana leads 3-1
Last Meeting: Indiana Win, 48-27 (2015)
Line: Indiana (-5)

Going in to the 2016 college football season most would’ve assumed this game had little barring on anything nor was it worth caring about for the casual fan. However, as we sit here in Week 9 of the college football season, one thing is clear — this game is very important.

With Indiana sitting on a three-game losing streak and Maryland just one game from bowl eligibility, this game is of the utmost importance. It also serves as a huge bellwether on just who sits in that fourth spot in the East division pecking order.

So, while other games may have your attention in Week 9, few games will be as important to the present and future of two programs than this one.

1 Burning Question: Will Richard Lagow Step Up?

As the Hoosiers face life of a long losing streak in the face, many will wonder if junior college transfer Richard Lagow has hit his ceiling as a quarterback. In the past two weeks against Nebraska and Northwestern, Lagow has thrown four interceptions to just one touchdown and averaged 256.5 yards per game as well.

Even a 313-yard day last weekend wasn’t good enough to get in the end zone in the loss to the Wildcats.

So, when will Lagow step up and put the ball in the end zone more than he puts in the hands of defenders? After all, he has thrown 11 interceptions to 12 touchdowns overall this season, while throwing six interceptions to six touchdowns in Big Ten play.

If the Hoosiers want to win this game, Lagow has to be at the top of his game. More like the Lagow we saw toss a pair of touchdowns against Ohio State combined with the accuracy of the Michigan State game.

2 Key Stats:

—200. Only once has a Maryland opponent passed for more than 200 yards this season. In fact, the Terps passing defense is fourth in the Big Ten, giving up 173.6 yards per game this season. On the flip side, Indiana comes in to the game second in passing offense, putting up 289.6 yards per game themselves. Something must give.

—0. That is the number of 30-yard plus runs allowed by the Indiana Hoosiers in 2016. Let’s just say the Hoosiers are vastly improved on the defensive side of the football in 2016. Let’s also just say that Maryland’s rushing game is one of the most difficult to defend this season as well. The Terps have an ability to throw four or five different looking running backs at an opponent. It also has 23 rushes that are 20 yards or more on the season. Interestingly enough, Maryland’s two losses this season are also the only two games in which it hasn’t run for 200 or more yards as a team.

3 Key Players:

Lorenzo Harrison III, Maryland RB: As we’ve mentioned, the Terps rushing game is a key to figuring out the puzzle that is the Terps 5-2 record this season. As such, the leading rusher seems to be of utmost importance. Harrison has emerged as more than just a change-of-pace back, putting up 502 yards on just 65 carries. He also has five a team-best five rushing touchdowns and averages 7.7 yards per carry.

Devine Redding, Indiana RB: You know what is a huge help in slowing down an explosive rushing game? Having one yourself, and that is where Devine Redding comes in to play. He has 590 yards of his own, ranking 8th in the Big Ten in that category, while also averaging nearly 19 attempts per game. If the Hoosiers want to win, they will run the football with Redding and look for him to see the ball more than 20 times. If not, it could be a long day at home for the Hoosiers.

Tegray Scales, Indiana LB: ALERT…and Indiana linebacker is in the top three of the Big Ten in tackles. His name is Tegray Scales and he is finally living up to the potential he had as a highly recruited player out of high school. Scales has 67 tackles, and most importantly 49 of them are of the solo variety. With a tough and high-octane Maryland offense coming to down, Scales has to be a massive force for this defense to be successful.

4 Staff Predictions:

Andy: Indiana 24-21
Dave: Maryland 31-21
Phil H.: Indiana 27-24
Philip R-R.: Maryland 28-24
Zach: Indiana 24-21

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