Breaking it down: Richmond vs. Maryland
Who: Richmond vs. Maryland
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Byrd Stadium, Maryland
Matchup to Watch: Reggie Diggs/Brian Brown vs. William Likely/Sean Davis
Two of the nation’s most talented defensive backs will battle two of FCS’ most talented receivers. Brown and Diggs are both coming off 1,000-yard seasons in Richmond’s pass-happy offense. On the Terps’ side, Davis is making the switch from safety to corner, presumably for matchups like this. Diggs is a physical 6-4 receiver, which means it’d be natural to see the 6-1 Davis lined up across him. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a lot of press coverage against the Richmond duo. In order for Maryland’s new 4-3 defensive scheme to work, it needs its two star corners to be solid outside the hashes against talented wideouts like Brown and Diggs.
Thing I’m excited to see: Perry Hills starting again
Don’t call it a comeback. Or do because Hills was widely considered the darkhorse candidate to earn the starting quarterback job. But Randy Edsall held a true competition, which allowed Hills to beat out Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman and last year’s backup Caleb Rowe. That means Hills will start under center for the first time in nearly three years. It was a long time ago when he broke in as a true freshman. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Hills come out a little too amped up and struggle with his accuracy early on. Edsall might even get Garman and Rowe some reps if the situation warrants it.
Number to Remember: 4
Maryland’s top four receivers from last year are all gone. Their sixth and seventh leading receivers were running backs. Needless to say, there could be a dropped pass or two. Communication might not be in mid-season form, either, especially with a new quarterback. The Terps’ top two options could be guys that didn’t make it through a full game last year. Brothers Levern and Taivon Jacobs will have a lot of pressure to take on larger roles after being sidelined in 2014. Many are expecting the Terps to take a step back offensively. If the Jacobs brothers can stay on the field and reach their potential, there might not be much of a dip in production.
Prediction: Maryland 37, Richmond 17
Oh, how does Maryland wind up with 37 points, you ask? Brad Craddock boots three field goals in a comfortable Terps victory, of course. Yes, Richmond is one of the better FCS schools, but the Terps are still talented enough to contain the Spiders’ top two weapons. I’ll go out on a limb and say Likely returns a pick to the house and takes some pressure off the new-look offense. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if Maryland’s offense can avoid its predicted regression. But in Week 1, it’s all Terps.