Glass Joe is the first boxer you encounter in the classic Nintendo game “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.”

Nobody loses to Glass Joe. If he can even get a punch off, it does virtually no damage. But he might also lull you into a sense that every boxer in the game is as easy to beat as Glass Joe.

They aren’t.

Michigan has had the good fortune of opening its season against 3 consecutive Glass Joes — Colorado State, Hawaii and Connecticut. When someone takes the time to rank FBS teams from 1-131 at the end of the season, all are destined to finish in the 100s.

No one knows what will happen when these Wolverines actually take a punch from a capable opponent. Not even the Wolverines themselves.

“We look good,” running back Blake Corum said following a 5-touchdown performance against UConn. “But we haven’t faced more adversity. I really don’t know how good we’re gonna be. I feel it. I feel like we’re gonna be great. You know, I’m saying [that], but I can’t tell you [with certainty].”

Maryland is the first Michigan opponent that will offer some insight into Corum’s theory. The question, in Punch-Out terms, is whether the Terps are more a Von Kaiser or a Soda Popinski.

The potentially dangerous Terps

If any year is the year for Mike Locksley at Maryland, we are in it.

The Terrapins have a fully loaded receiving room with Dontay Demus Jr., Rakim Jarrett and Jacob Copeland. And that’s not to mention Jeshaun Jones, who is breaking out with 11 catches for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns in his senior season. Or tight end Corey Dyches, a safety valve who leads Maryland with 12 receptions.

Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa gets to throw to those targets behind an offensive line returning all 5 starters from last season. They’ve allowed 4 sacks in 3 games, which likely makes them a top 20 unit nationally if they can sustain that rate all season.

And now Locksley has a young trump card who makes his pass-first offense truly dynamic. Redshirt freshman running back Roman Hemby is fifth in the B1G with 128.3 scrimmage yards per game. Northwestern’s Evan Hull is the only Big Ten running back with more receiving yards than Hemby.

In terms of speed, the Terrapins will be about 10 notches faster than anyone Michigan’s defense has faced this season. There are currently 3 ranked teams in the Big Ten East, and Maryland could be the next-best of the bunch.

At the very least, the first quarter is going to be a massive adjustment for the Wolverines — provided Maryland doesn’t screw things up for itself.

The Terrapins are as dangerous to themselves as they are to any opponent. Maryland is tied for 130th nationally with 90.1 penalty yards per game. That trait does not translate to success against a team as talented as the Wolverines in Michigan Stadium.

Another potential blowout looms

It’s quite possible Maryland will not be the test Michigan is looking for. Maryland is the one team Jim Harbaugh has mashed every season since taking the Michigan job in 2015.

The Wolverines are outscoring the Terps 261-51 under Harbaugh, which is an average final score of 43.5-8.5. Twice in the 6 meetings Michigan has scored more points in a single game (59) than Maryland has in all 6 combined.

With Michigan’s offense currently humming for 55.3 points per game despite the starters never needing to be on the field in the fourth quarter, history might be poised to repeat itself.

As much as this could be Tagovailoa’s signature performance against a Big Ten opponent, the same is true for Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy. The sophomore has hit the ground sprinting since being named Michigan’s starter following his Week 2 performance against Hawaii.

Again, those stats were compiled against a group of Glass Joes. But Maryland’s defense isn’t exactly last year’s Georgia Bulldogs.

The Terps are 10th in the B1G in scoring defense, and that’s likely a high-water mark. Opponents like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State will pile on to the current mark of 19.3 points per game.

McCarthy, who is currently around a +2400 pick to win the Heisman Trophy, could potentially grab a lot of attention in the first game he plays from start to finish. Provided, of course, that it’s actually still close enough for him to be playing until the end.

Will Michigan-Maryland live up to its shootout potential?

Behind Ohio State, these are the 2 most explosive offenses in the Big Ten. Maryland has 20 plays of 20 yards or more, and Michigan 19.

Pardon the language, but there’s a chance the final score will look like something out of the RichRod era. Both offenses have the capability to reach the 40s. But actually getting there hinges on a couple factors.

Maryland almost certainly has to jump out to an early lead if it has any chance. Michigan hasn’t trailed this season, and strange things can happen when a team is in completely unfamiliar territory.

As for the Terps, they cannot afford to be the same undisciplined squad they’ve proven to be the first 3 weeks. Michigan’s defense will feast like it’s a Sunday in Sicily if Maryland gets itself behind the chains. Colorado State and UConn were a combined 4-for-25 (16%) on third downs against the Wolverines.

As we’ve established, the Rams and Huskies are darn near the bottom of the college football pecking order. So those numbers might not mean a whole lot. But they do suggest the Terps won’t have a particularly good time should they find themselves in third-and-long too frequently.

The potential is there for this to be unlike any Michigan-Maryland game of the Harbaugh era. But without a near-flawless showing from the Terps, it may just as likely be a game that shows us there has been nothing false about Michigan’s start to the season.