Maryland football vs. Northwestern: How to watch and what to watch for
Linebacker Shaq Smith rushes the passer during Maryland football's 20-17 loss to Temple on Sept. 14, 2019, at Lincoln Financial Field. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)
Opponent: Northwestern (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, Oct. 24
Last Matchup: Oct. 14, 2017, in College Park, MD — Northwestern 37-21
Odds: Northwestern -11.0 per Action Network
TV: BTN — Chris Vosters (play-by-play), J Leman (analyst), Olivia Dekker (sideline)
Radio: Maryland Sports Radio Network (105.7 FM Baltimore, 980 AM D.C., Tunein RadioApp, XM 382) — Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), C.J. Brown (analyst), LaMont Jordan (analyst)
Three things to watch for Maryland
Will Taulia Tagovailoa make his Terps debut?
Although HC Mike Locksley has yet to make public the decision of who will man the quarterback position for Maryland Saturday night, he did say that sophomore transfer Taulia Tagovailoa and redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre will both have a role in the offense. That means the much-awaited debut of Tagovailoa, the transfer from Alabama, isn’t a certainty at the moment, but there remains a good chance that it’ll happen.
Starting the season off with a road win
After finishing the 2019 season with a 1-5 record on the road, this game represents an early opportunity for Maryland to improve upon last year’s nasty road performance. Northwestern went just 2-5 at home last year, making this one of the best chances the Terps will have to win a game outside of College Park.
Decisions to be made at several positions
With Maryland releasing its depth chart for this week one matchup, it’s evident that there are still a handful of position battles at stake with “OR” written 15 times across the sheet. The quarterback decision between Tagovailoa and LeGendre is certainly the most attention-grabbing battle, but many of the decisions on defense still have yet to be made.
No major surprises on the rest of the depth chart pic.twitter.com/VPP4Nr3Pxp
— Alexander Dacy (@alexanderdacy) October 20, 2020
Three things to watch for Northwestern
Setting the tone at home
Last season, Northwestern failed to win a home game against any of its conference opponents. Hosting Maryland in week one presents a great opportunity for the Wildcats to put their recent home woes to rest.
Will graduate transfer Peyton Ramsey propel the Wildcats offense?
Ramsey brings plenty of veteran experience to Northwestern, having played the previous four years at Indiana University and being named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2019. Surely, Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald hopes the renewed spark at the QB position will help turn around an offense that averaged roughly 12 points per game against conference opponents in 2019.
What effects will new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian have on the Wildcats offense?
Bajakian, who had been hired as Northwestern’s new OC after the conclusion of the 2019 season, brings a whole lot of experience to the table for a sluggish Wildcats offense. Having been the OC at Central Michigan during the Antonio Brown era and the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2015 and 2018, Bajakian knows a thing or two about electric offenses and will hope to completely transform Northwestern’s offense, starting Saturday night.