A week after a 21-point blowout at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini, Rutgers will have another steep challenge as they prepare for a team that hung around for three quarters against Michigan a week ago.
Freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski now has 11 interceptions on the season with three last weekend. Not only did the offense have trouble putting points on the board, the defense struggled mightily, giving up 330 rushing yards.
The Scarlet Knights have been unable to hold onto momentum thus far this season. When the defense makes a big stop, Sitkowski will throw an interception. The few times the offense puts seven points on the board, the defense will give up a touchdown within two minutes. When there is momentum on one side of the ball, it never lasts through the line change, and it is very hard to win a ball game when the team itself is on an emotional roller coaster.
Meanwhile, the Terps have a top-10 rushing offense nationally and have a 100 percent success rate in the red zone. Anthony McFarland, who was not even a starter when the season started and hasn’t played since 2015, leads the team with 328 rushing yards. On the contrary, the leading receiver, DJ Turner, only has 159 yards on the season.
If the Scarlet Knights are going to be even moderately successful on Saturday, they are going to have to find a way to stop the run game, which is something they were not able to do at all last week. Rutgers is now giving up an average of 229 rushing yards per game which will play right into Maryland’s game plans.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense has looked much weaker than what was expected of them going into the season. Trevor Morris is the leading tackler for Rutgers with 52 tackles on the season, and Mike Tverdov, who came into the season as a third string defensive lineman, is tied for the team with 2 sacks for 17 yards. The injured Elorm Lumor also has two sacks on the season.
Heading into 2018, the Rutgers defense was supposed to be the bright spot of this team. Instead, the team has given up a total of over 2,600 yards of total offense through six games. The Scarlet Knights have given up too many explosive plays, which gives Maryland a prime opportunity to take this game out of reach for Rutgers.
Going into the season, this game looked a lot better for the Scarlet Knights. Now that Rutgers are sitting at 1-5 and have been outscored 218-99, this game looks pretty close to impossible for the Scarlet Knights. The Maryland rushing offense has been too strong and Rutgers has looked completely lifeless over the last five games. If the Scarlet Knights show up in College Park on Saturday then this might be a fun game to watch. Then again, Rutgers has yet to show up since the season opener.
Prediction: Maryland 35, Rutgers 20
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