Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
The Hoosiers return home to open Big Ten play for the second year in a row as they welcome newcomer Maryland to the conference. Depending on how the first four games of the season go this could be a huge swing game for both teams.
Week 5: Maryland Terrapins
Time & Date: TBA, Saturday, Sept. 27th
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, IN)
Terrapins at a Glance:
Head Coach: Randy Edsall (3rd year 13-24, Overall 15th year 87-94)
Last Season: 7-6 (3-5)
Terrapin Returning Leaders:
Passing: CJ Brown (58.9%, 2,242 Yds, 13 TD, 7 INT)
Rushing: Brandon Ross (776 Yds, 4.7 Avg, 4 TD)
Receiving: Levern Jacobs (640 Yds, 13.6 Avg, 3 TD)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Phil Steele: 4th in the Big Ten East
Lindy’s: 5th in the Big Ten East
Athlon’s: 5th in the Big Ten East
Sporting News: 6th in the Big Ten East
Why the Terrapins could win:
The new kids on the block have weapons and lots of them in quarterback CJ Brown is a senior and threw for just over 2,200 yards in 2013 despite losing his two best receivers to broken legs half way through last year. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, if healthy, will give the Terrapins a very formidable one-two punch at the receiver position. Maryland also sports a very good stable of running backs as they return Ross (776 yards), Wes Brown (Suspended in ’13) and Albert Reid (294 yards). This is an offense that could give the Hoosiers fits as they try and establish themselves in the loaded Big Ten East. Maryland’s defense should be serviceable as nose tackle Darius Kilgo may give the Hoosiers all they can handle upfront against the run, and inside backers Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree both return to stuff up the middle of the defense. Jeremiah Johnson, who returns from injury, and sophomore William Likely, anchor the defensive backfield.
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
Maryland has been decimated by injuries the last two seasons, so who knows if the injury bug will bite again in 2014. The Hoosier offense should put up enough points to win, as they can take advantage of the size advantage the Indiana offensive line has. The Maryland offense also has the potential to be boom or bust, which could play right into the Hoosiers’ hands, as they should be settled into their new 3-4 defense. Maryland also has had turnover problems, garnering a minus seven in turnover margin in 2013. This will be the second of back-to-back road games for the Terps, and they will also have to focus on this match-up and try not to look ahead to the next week when they host Ohio State.
This is a key game for both teams as they try to fight for the middle of the pack in the tough East division. A loss here could end any bowl hopes for either squad. Indiana does not want to be gracious hosts and would love to welcome the Terrapins into the league with a loss. This game could be a shootout with two big play offenses going head-to-head.