No. 4 Michigan will host yet another game on Saturday and this time the 3-0 Maryland Terrapins will come to the Big House.
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The Wolverines are on a five-game winning streak against the Terps — 8-1 overall. Last year, in College Park, Michigan defeated Maryland, 59-18.
Maryland is coming off of a thrilling game last Saturday where it beat SMU. 34-27. While the Wolverines just blanked Connecticut last week, 59-0.
Like most years, Maryland will enter Big Ten play with a prolific offense. The Terps average 40.3 points-per-game and Maryland has the 20th-ranked offense that averages 499 yards-per-game. The Terps will have their hands full on Saturday going up against, statistically, one of the best defenses in all of football. Michigan allows 5.7 points and the third-ranked defense gives up 194 yards-per-game.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa returns to Maryland for his third year there. Tagovailoa is off to an incredible start to the 2022 season. He has thrown for 895 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 77% of his throws. Tagovailoa is 15th in the country averaging 298.3 passing yards-per-game. This will be the first true test for the Michigan secondary that lost three key players from last year’s squad. But, so far the maize and blue have defended the pass with ease. Michigan is third in the country allowing 91.3 yards-per-game through the air.
Maryland has plenty of weapons surrounding Tagovailoa and that is another reason that the Terps have been so proficient on the offensive side of the ball. Maryland has a trio of receivers that are dangerous. Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus Jr. are the stars, but Demus Jr. is slowing back into action after being injured last season. Jarrett leads the team with 11 receptions, 196 yards, and one score. Demus Jr. has six catches for 57 yards. Jeshaun Jones is the third receiver, and he has really come out of nowhere this season. Jones also has 11 catches, and he has 145 yards and two scores through three games.
Redshirt freshman Roman Hemby has given Maryland a running game. Hemby averages 98 yards-per-game — 294 yards this season — he has three scores and averages 9.1 yards per carry. He runs behind a very strong offensive line. The line averages over 300-pounds per lineman. PFF grades Maryland run blocking 32nd overall and the Terps have a 70.9 grade. Michigan allows a little over 100 yards on the ground to the opposition this season, so Michigan will have a test defending the run against a solid offensive line.
But what hurts Maryland is the defense.
The Terps only allowed 19.3 points-per-game, but they allowed a ton of yards. They have the 88th-ranked defense allowing 392 yards-per-game to the opposing team. Through three games, Michigan is the highest-scoring team averaging 55.3 points-per-game and it averages 497.7 yards-per-game.
The Maryland secondary could be up to a huge challenge Saturday against JJ McCarthy and the Michigan weapons. The Terps are the 107th-ranked team against the pass through three games allowing 273.7 yards-per-game. With McCarthy under center for Michigan, the Wolverines are 266.3 yards a game throwing the ball and McCarthy is completing over 88% of his passes. The former five-star gunslinger has a 234 QB rating this season in three games.
Maryland is formidable against the run though. Maryland is the 49th-ranked team against the run this season giving up 118.3 yards-per-game. But Michigan averages 231 yards-per-game on the ground, so that should be a good battle in the trenches.
The Terrapins are also one of the most penalized teams in all of football. They have had 31 penalties in three games and the most penalized team in all of football has 32. Maryland has an issue of shooting itself in the foot during drives and it will be crucial for Michigan to capitalize on those mistakes.
The game can be seen on FOX at noon EDT.
See the next page for our staff predictions.