Maryland football vs. Rutgers: How to watch and what to watch for
Running back Tayon Fleet-Davis finds the end zone in Maryland football's 48-7 win over Rutgers on Oct. 5, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)
Opponent: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-5, 2-5 Big Ten)
Location: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Kickoff: 12 PM EST, Saturday, Dec. 12
Last Matchup: Oct. 5, 2019, Piscataway, New Jersey — Maryland 48-7
Last Game: Maryland lost to Indiana 27-11; Rutgers lost to Penn State 23-7
Odds: Maryland -6.5, per OddsShark
TV: BTN — Joe Beninati (play-by-play), James Laurinaitis (analyst)
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
How do the Terps rebound from another COVID-19 cancellation?
After being off for three weeks, the Terps laid an egg against Indiana on November 28 and looked sluggish and out of sync on offense. Now, after last week’s game against Michigan got cancelled, the Terps haven’t played in two weeks. We saw how they looked after an extended hiatus from game action against Indiana. Will their struggles return against Rutgers due to a lack of game reps?
How does Taulia Tagovailoa rebound?
The Terps starting QB threw 3 interceptions and looked out of sync against Indiana two weeks ago. Then again, he was without most of his supporting cast, including RB Jake Funk and WRs Rakim Jarrett and Jeshaun Jones. With his weapons back in the fold (and facing a much worse defense), will Tagovailoa play like the budding star he seemed to be after his games against Minnesota and Penn State? Or will a lack of game reps lead to another subpar performance?
Rakim Jarrett is back
Jarrett missed the Terps matchup against the Indiana Hoosiers due to COVID-19 protocol. With no Jarrett to throw to, Tagovailoa struggled as he failed to establish a rapport with the other receivers. In his most recent game against Penn State, Jarrett broke out with 5 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to the Penn State game, Jarrett had six catches for 68 yards against Minnesota. Look for Tagovailoa to target Jarrett early and often on Saturday now that he’s back on the field.
Three things to watch for Rutgers
Which version of Rutgers shows up?
The Scarlet Knights have been one of the most confusing teams in college football this season. They dominated Michigan State and nearly put 50 points on Michigan and Purdue. Yet, they also lost to Illinois and looked inept against Penn State. Rutgers will need to bring their A-game if they want to beat the Terps.
Vedral has ended all conversations about who deserves to be the starting quarterback for Rutgers. He’s thrown for 1,217 yards and nine touchdowns while also serving as Rutgers second-leading rusher. The Terps will need to contain Vedral on Saturday to prevent Rutgers from pulling off a win.
The linebacker duo of Fatukasi and Fogg
Rutgers defense is nothing special but their linebacker duo of Olakunle Fatukasi and Tyshon Fogg are easily their most talented players on their front-seven. Fatukasi already has 91 tackles in 7 games while Fogg has added 54 tackles. Expect them both to rack up plenty more tackles, and maybe a sack or two, against the Terps on Saturday.