Breaking it down: Maryland searching for answers vs. USF
Who: South Florida vs. Maryland
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Byrd Stadium, Maryland
Spread: Maryland -7
Matchup to watch: D’Ernest Johnson vs. Maryland secondary
The Bulls have been able to use their backup tailback effectively in the backfield. How effectively? Well, Johnson has more receiving yards than any Terps wideout, and has as many touchdowns as all of them combined. There likely won’t be a defensive back matched up against Johnson, but he has a unique ability to sneak into the second level and do serious damage. Maryland is coming off a week in which it surrendered nearly 500 yards passing, despite having one of the conference’s top units. To bounce back, they’ll have to do more than just take care of the Bulls wideouts.
Thing I’m excited for: William Likely returning more punts
Attention to punters of America: Do not punt the ball to this man. I repeat, do not punt the ball to this man. He will return it and you will be embarrassed. Seriously, what’s it going to take punters to stop feeding this guy touchdowns? Certainly you would’ve thought his record-breaking performance in Week 1 would’ve scared them off. Maybe his 85-yard punt return last week will. Either way, Likely is must-see TV whenever a team lines up to punt.
Number to remember: 7
That’s how many yards per carry the Terps are averaging this season. This is nearly the same group that finished 108th in FBS in rushing last year. Wes Brown has been effective and Brandon Ross had a monster debut against Richmond. All the talk surrounding Maryland is about the change in quarterback. Caleb Rowe will get his first start of the season in place of Perry Hills. They threw a combined three fourth-quarter interceptions on Saturday and showed some glaring issues with the Terps offense. Maryland would be wise to try and establish the run to take some pressure of their inconsistent quarterback situation.
Prediction: South Florida 35, Maryland 31
This is a Bulls team that went into Tallahassee and was tied with the No. 11 team in the country at halftime. Two straight weeks Maryland will face an opponent coming off a game against top-flight competition. I don’t think Quinton Flowers approaches the 500-yard mark, but I don’t see the Terps getting a big bounce back victory. The reality of a rebuilding year hits Maryland hard on Saturday.