Preview: Michigan vs. Maryland

Preview: Michigan vs. Maryland


October 5, 2018

RUSH OFFENSE vs. MARYLAND RUSH DEFENSE

Michigan is #36 in rushing offense (206 yards/game) and #28 in yards per carry (5.24). Running back Karan Higdon has 115+ yards in three out of his four games at 6.3 yards per attempt. With backup Chris Evans out due to a hamstring injury last week, it was Higdon’s show in a tight game against Northwestern: Higdon out-carried third-stringer Tru Wilson, 30-to-1. The offensive line has been okay, but they aren’t capable of paving the way in the run game when teams aren’t respecting the pass. Michigan tends to run left only, perhaps so they can run bootlegs back to quarterback Shea Patterson’s dominant hand. Maryland is #18 in rushing defense (104 yards allowed/game), and they’re holding opponents to 2.67 yards allowed/carry, which is tied for #8 nationally. It helps that they have played four teams who are #127, #91, #84, and #34 in rushing (Tulsa is #34). Of course, Maryland helped put those teams low in the rankings, but the Terps haven’t been playing the cream of the rushing crop. Senior linebacker Tre Watson (6’2″, 236 lbs.), a transfer from Illinois, leads the team with 39 tackles, following by 6’1″, 245 lb. junior linebacker Isaiah Davis (32). Junior safety Antoine Brooks, Jr. (5’11”, 210) and senior safety Darnell Savage, Jr. (5’11”, 200) lead the team with 4.5 and 4.0 tackles for loss, respectively, a category in which Maryland ranks 52nd. I don’t think Michigan will tee off on the Terrapins, but I think they will have a slight advantage.
Advantage: Michigan

Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.

PASS OFFENSE vs. MARYLAND PASS DEFENSE

The Wolverines are #91 in passing offense (206 yards/game), and they are #31 in passing efficiency. Quarterback Shea Patterson is completing 68.5% of his passes for 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Wide receivers Nico Collins (13 catches, 214 yards, 1 TD) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (17/183/4) seem to trade off being the #1 target, while tight end Zach Gentry (13/194/1) has emerged as the most reliable of the tight ends. Slot receiver Grant Perry has 10 catches, but he averages just 6.5 yards on those receptions. Michigan is #51 in sacks allowed. Meanwhile, Maryland is #48 in sacks (2.75 per game), paced by senior Jesse Aniebonam (6’3″, 260), Davis, and Auburn transfer Byron Cowart (6’4″, 293) with 2.0 takedowns each. The Terrapins are #52 in passing defense (210 yards allowed/game) and have the #39 passer efficiency rating defense. Watson leads the squad with 2 picks, and senior Tino Ellis has 7 pass breakups this year.
Advantage: Michigan

RUSH DEFENSE vs. MARYLAND RUSH OFFENSE

Michigan is #7 in rushing defense (86 yards allowed/game), and their 2.37 yards allowed/carry is #4 in the country. Middle linebacker Devin Bush, Jr. had a quiet night against Northwestern last week, but he still leads the team with 33 tackles, followed closely – and impressively – by defensive end Chase Winovich with 32. Meanwhile, Winovich has 10.5 tackles for loss, more than doubling Bush’s 5.0. One key note here is the possible absence of defensive end Rashan Gary (22 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss), who is dealing with a shoulder injury. Maryland is the #11 rushing team (259 yards/game), and their 6.19 yards/carry is #6 nationally. They have quite a dynamic running back duo in the backfield with 5’10”, 212 lb. senior Ty Johnson (300 yards, 7.5 yards/carry, 2 TD) and 5’8″, 183 lb. redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland, Jr. (291/10.8/2). Up front the line averages 312 lbs., and four of the starters are fifth year seniors. Maryland will use a lot of motions, shifts, and misdirection in the backfield, and that may cause Michigan some troubles early. But this defensive staff is known for making adjustments, so I expect a hot start for Maryland to eventually fizzle.
Advantage: Michigan

PASS DEFENSE vs. MARYLAND PASS DEFENSE

The Wolverines are #4 in passing defense (146 yards allowed/game) and they’re #10 in passing efficiency defense. They’re tied for #11 in sacks (3.2 per game) and #43 in interceptions (0.8 per game). Junior cornerback Lavert Hill leads the team with 5 pass breakups, but that’s largely because opponents keep testing him, making it look like they think he’s the weak link of the cornerbacks. The most impressive corner this fall has been fifth year senior Brandon Watson (18 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU). Winovich leads the team with 3 sacks, while Bush has 2.5. The Terrapins are #122 in passing offense (141 yards/game) and #103 in passing efficiency. The starting quarterback is 6’2″, 234 lb. redshirt freshman Kasim Hill, who is completing 55% of his passes for 516 yards (6.8 yards/attempt), 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Maryland’s two leading receivers are senior Taivon Jacobs (5’11”, 170) and junior D.J. Turner (5’9, 203), who have nearly identical numbers (11-12 catches, 129-132 yards, 1 TD each). The tight ends have 2 catches for 10 yards total, so they’re a non-factor.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • Maryland players recruited by Michigan include: OG Terrance Davis, OT Jaelyn Duncan, DT Austin Fontaine, QB Kasim Hill, S Marcus Lewis, RB Anthony McFarland, OG Damian Prince, S Antwaine Richardson
  • Maryland players from the state of Michigan include: DE Bryce Brand
  • Maryland S Antwaine Richardson was committed to Michigan at one time
  • Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome was Michigan WR Nico Collins’s QB in high school
  • Maryland suspended head coach D.J. Durkin was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2015
  • Maryland safeties coach Chuck Heater played his college football at Michigan
  • Maryland LB coach/ST coordinator Matt Barnes was an analyst at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh
  • Former Michigan LB Desmond Morgan is a graduate assistant at Maryland
  • Dan Pallante, the father of former Michigan DL/FB Brady Pallante, is an offensive analyst at Maryland
  • Michigan players from the state of Maryland include: LB Jordan Anthony, OG Stephen Spanellis

LAST TIME THEY PLAYED . . .

  • Michigan won 35-10 on November 11, 2017 (Michigan leads the all-time series, 6-1)
  • Michigan QB Brandon Peters went 9/18 for 2 TD and 0 INT
  • Michigan RB Chris Evans ran 15 times for 80 yards and 2 TD
  • Maryland walk-on QB Ryan Brand went 16/35 for 136 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT

PREDICTION

  • Michigan 37, Maryland 16

17 comments

  1. Comments: 228
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 05, 2018 at 7:41 AM

    Hope Higdon gets ALOT of carries. Would make it really difficult, I would think, for the refs to call him for ‘holding’ if he’s got the ball in his hands.

    Jez sayin………..intjohn

  2. gobluetwo
    Comments: 37
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    gobluetwo
    Oct 05, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    I’d like to see them cut Patterson loose. I feel like, 5 games into the season, we haven’t really seen him put together a complete game and really show what he can do.

  3. Comments: 994
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 05, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    30-10. Our offense may struggle again, but I think our D shows up

    • Comments: 994
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 06, 2018 at 1:50 PM

      Down 7-3. We go conservative against a team that has the potential for big plays. Stupid strategy

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3928
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 08, 2018 at 5:38 PM

        Lol.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3928
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 05, 2018 at 12:39 PM

    I’d like to see the staff continue to be conservative. Avoid turnovers and keep the offense balanced between run and pass, with an emphasis on establishing the running game.

    This game is a success if Michigan wins and no one is hurt. Prepare for Wisconsin and MSU.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3928
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 05, 2018 at 12:40 PM

      Same on D. Feels like Hudson and Bush haven’t been unleashed yet. Save it for Wisc/MSU.

      • Comments: 864
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 05, 2018 at 11:26 PM

        What specifically are we supposed to “save”? And when can we be absolutely sure that saving it won’t cost us this game?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3928
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 06, 2018 at 9:41 AM

          Against WMU, SMU, and Rutgers at least.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3928
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 08, 2018 at 5:39 PM

          specifically – that fake screen that sent 2 receivers deep. Not a playcall I’ve seen very much. I would have saved it for one of the next 3 games.

    • Comments: 994
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 05, 2018 at 9:44 PM

      Sure, keep starters in all game. Wear them down and risk injury just before our toughest three game stretch in recent history

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3928
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 06, 2018 at 9:44 AM

        I would hope not.

        I think you’re trying to equate being conservative with not scoring (vs. being aggressive). I would suggest you review the Northwestern game, as it exemplifies the opposite.

        Michigan needs a balanced offense and their starting QB healthy.

        • Comments: 994
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 06, 2018 at 12:07 PM

          The NW game when we scored 20, and got stopped cold in the redzone twice?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3928
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 08, 2018 at 5:40 PM

            The NW game where Michigan came out with aggressive playcalling and got themselves buried before successfully going to the ground game.

            • Comments: 994
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Oct 08, 2018 at 6:17 PM

              You think 5-7yd passes is aggressive? Explains a lot

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3928
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 08, 2018 at 9:21 PM

              I think giving to your RB once on the first 2 drives is aggressive. Michigan attempted a long pass and got sacked.

  5. JC
    Comments: 211
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 05, 2018 at 1:42 PM

    If this was played at Maryland, I would be more worried. I think we’ll pull it out at home, but Maryland isn’t a bad team. If we win by 21 or more I think we could win out (barring any serious injuries).

    To quote Lou Holtz, “Maryland beat Texas, Texas beat TCU by more than OSU beat TCU, ipso factor, Maryland is better than OSU, and they’re both worse than Notre Dame.”

    Maryland has two pretty good quarterbacks back who were sidelined last year. This game worries me a little bit.

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