When: Saturday, Oct. 29; 3:30pm ET
Where: Bloomington, Ind.; Memorial Stadium (52,929)
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