Terps, Wolverines set to battle each other, Hurricane Joaquin
Who: No. 22 Michigan vs. Maryland
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Byrd Stadium, Maryland
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Michigan -15.5
Matchup to watch: Jake Rudock vs. Maryland CB’s
We’re all on the Rudock bandwagon, right? After what he did against BYU last week, how could we not be? After all, BYU had more interceptions than anyone in college football and Rudock had his first game without a pick. Sean Davis and William Likely will be another challenge for the Michigan signal-caller. They might try to bait him into throws like Utah did. They have the size and physicality to match Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson. If Maryland is able to limit their breathing space, this could be a game where Jake Butt has a major impact exploiting the Terps’ soft second level.
Thing I’m excited to see: Joaquin’s effect
Let me preface this. I’m not excited for a potential hurricane. I am however, looking forward to a potential mud bowl. If this is a game played in a constant downpour, that would have to favor a Michigan running game that’s gaining more and more steam. Assuming De’Veon Smith is good to go, he would likely receive an even heavier workload. Drake Johnson and Ty Isaac should also have a role in this one. Maryland should be moving the ball on the ground, rain or shine. Caleb Rowe is coming off a four-interception game and the Terps have found success on the ground with Brandon Ross. If the Terps don’t fall behind, they can actually take actually establish the ground game and not be one-dimensional with Rowe. This might not be a finesse game with conditions for a shootout. That shouldn’t matter with the way these two teams operate.
Number to remember: 7
That’s how many points have been scored against Michigan in the last 165 minutes of football. Name a defensive category and Michigan is probably in the top 10 in it. The Wolverines are second in total defense, fourth in scoring defense, fifth against the pass and 10th in third-down defense. Turnovers aren’t necessary for them to be effective. The Wolverines don’t miss tackles and have prevented teams from stringing scoring drives all year. They’re playing as well as any unit in the country right now. Defense travels and sure-tackling teams don’t mind a little inclement weather. That’s going to be a constant for any team lining up against the Wolverines.
Prediction: Michigan 28, Maryland 7
Call me crazy, but I’m a bit concerned about the Terps right now. After watching what West Virginia did to them last week, it’s clear that they have issues deeper than their struggling quarterbacks. And by the way, Michigan has teed off against inexperienced signal-callers. This is a game in which we could see the Wolverines jump out to an early lead and let the defense do the work to close the door. I don’t think Maryland can handle Michigan in a hurricane, an earthquake or a tornado right now. Let’s just hope they get the game in.