Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats (1-5, 1-2 Big Ten)
Location: SECU Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Kickoff: 3:30p.m EST, Saturday, Oct. 22
Last Matchup: Oct. 24, 2020 in Evanston, Northwestern won 43-3
Odds: Maryland -14 (Odds Shark)
TV: Big Ten Network
- – Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play)
- – Jake Butt (analyst)
- – Rick Pizzo (sideline)
Stream: fuboTV , One Maryland App
Radio: Maryland Sports Radio Network (FM 105.7 Baltimore, 980 AM D.C., XM 382)
- – Johnny Holliday (play-by-play)
- – Steve Suter (analyst)
What to watch for Maryland: Can Maryland lock up bowl eligibility if Taulia Tagovailoa is unable to go?
Last year, it came down to the final week of the regular season to determine whether or not Maryland would make its first bowl since 2016. With everything on the line, Maryland throttled Rutgers, 40-16, clinching a trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Things are different this year, in a good way. It’s week eight, and Maryland is one win away from securing a spot in a bowl. Although Northwestern is a weaker opponent on paper, uncertainty looms due to the pending status of quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. Last weekend against Indiana, Tagovailoa left the game after reaggravating a sprained MCL. He is a game-time decision for Saturday.
If Tagovailoa cannot play, then Maryland will start Billy Edwards Jr. The redshirt freshman came in for Maryland while they trailed in the fourth quarter. He led the offense to two scoring drives, propelling Maryland to victory. Edwards Jr, however, didn’t complete a single pass on either of those scoring drives. Maryland’s rushing offense must be proficient again if Tagovailoa is out. Some of the Big Ten’s top teams lie ahead on the Terps’ schedule, so locking up a bowl this Saturday is pivotal.
What to watch for Northwestern: Can Northwestern bounce back from its gut-wrenching skid?
In the first week of the season, Northwestern pulled out an improbable comeback win over Nebraska. The wildcats have lost five straight since then, with losses to weaker nonconference opponents such as Miami Ohio and Southern Illinois. Last week, the Wildcats were dismantled at home by Wisconsin, 42-7. The week before, they hung close with Penn State but ultimately fell 17-7.
The offense has struggled recently, with the Wildcats failing to score more than once for two straight weeks. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski has played poorly, as his six touchdowns are matched by six interceptions. Maryland’s defense has forced five turnovers in the past two weeks, so Northwestern must protect the ball to limit Maryland’s chances on offense. Sitting at 1-5, Northwestern can only afford one more loss before being eliminated from bowl contention. It’s been a rough season thus far for Northwestern, but perhaps they have a shot at pulling an upset, especially if Tagovailoa isn’t able to go.