Opponent: Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0)
Location: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Kickoff: Noon, Saturday, Sept. 22
Last Matchup: Maryland 31, Minnesota 24 — Sept. 30, 2017
Odds: Maryland -1.5, per Bovada
TV: Big Ten Network — Lisa Byington (play-by-play), Jeremy Leman (analyst) and Ally Sturm (sideline)
Radio: Maryland Sports Radio Network — Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), LaMont Jordan (analyst) – 105.7FM (Baltimore), 980AM (D.C.)
Student Radio: WMUC Sports — Noah Johnson and Justin Gallanty
Three things to watch for Maryland
1. Anthony McFarland
Maryland failed to score a touchdown on offense against Temple, but you certainly couldn’t have blamed Anthony McFarland. The former DeMatha standout averaged 9.7 yards per carry against the Owls, rushing for over 100 yards. McFarland was the third-best all-purpose back in 247Sports’ class of 2017, and the Temple game could be just a glimpse of why he was such a well-regarded recruit. We’ll have to see how he does in his first game in Big Ten play.
2. Third-down conversions
The Terps faced 12 third downs last week. They converted exactly one. An 8 percent success rate on third downs is pretty poor, and one of the main reasons Maryland’s offense couldn’t find the end zone against Temple. As the Terps prepare to open Big Ten play, they know they’ll have to keep their drives alive to win games.
3. Keeping up the interceptions
Maryland has come up with a pick in each of its first three games, grabbing two against Texas and one against both Bowling Green and Temple. The Terps are currently one of 34 teams in the country averaging over an interception per game, and they’ll be hoping to continue to come up with turnovers as they host Minnesota.
Three things to watch for Minnesota
1. The first Power Five opponent of the season
Minnesota sits at 3-0, but their wins have all come against teams outside of the power conferences. New Mexico State, Fresno State and Miami (Ohio) aren’t exactly on the same level of prestige as a Big 12 team like Texas. Maryland will be Minnesota’s first chance to see how they perform against another team from the sport’s top conferences.
2. Carter Coughlin
The member of Minnesota’s defense quarterback Kasim Hill will likely be the most worried about will be linebacker Carter Coughlin. Last season, he led the Gophers with 6.5 sacks; this season, he has three of them in his first three games. Temple had seven sacks against Maryland, so it’ll be key for Maryland to stop Coughlin as well as the rest of the Gophers on Saturday.
3. Replacing Rodney Smith
In 2016 and 2017, running back Rodney Smith rushed for over 2000 yards and found the end zone 19 times. But Minnesota won’t be able to rely on Smith this season after he suffered a season-ending injury against Fresno State in Week 2. Bryce Williams will be expected to get the majority of the carries now; he’s coming off a strong 141-yard performance against Miami (Ohio).