The season is quickly coming to a close, and the Michigan Wolverines head on their final road trip of the year this weekend to College Park to face the Maryland Terrapins. If Michigan takes care of business against the Terps, and Ohio State beats Michigan State at home, the Big Ten East will come down to The Game on Nov. 27 in Ann Arbor.
This game against Maryland does have a trap game feel to it. Michigan comes into this game as 15-point favorites and definitely should be able to handle the Terps, but it is still a Big Ten road game the week before Ohio State; Maryland wants to play spoiler. We all remember the fight the Terps gave Ohio State the week before The Game in 2018 that had similar magnitude.
Maryland has a solid offense. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is a very talented quarterback and Maryland has the third-best passing offense in the Big Ten (320 yards per game).
“They’ve got a really good passing game,” linebackers coach George Helow, who coached at Maryland last year, said Wednesday to the media. “They’ve got some receivers that are down, but the ones that are playing are still good players, they know that offense really well. They get the ball fast. You’ve got to challenge them and you’ve got to be aggressive. They’ve done a really good job in recruiting and bringing players in that can make the one-on-one plays.”
Maryland’s defense isn’t as much of a threat as its offense is. Maryland has the third worst defense in the Big Ten, giving up 416 yards per game. However, its defense runs a lot of man coverage that Michigan hasn’t seen a lot this year, which could present challenges.
“This week, we’re going to have a tremendous challenge, you saw the man coverage that we’ll go against,” offensive coordinator Josh Gattis said. “These next weeks we’ll see a ton of man coverage which we haven’t quite seen throughout the year. That’s an area where Maryland really excels, so we’re going to have to win some one-on-one battles and we’re going to have to win with details, releases, ball placement, accuracy and all that. But we’re going to have to win in the contested catch ratio. That’s an area that we don’t really have a ton of bank reps at this year just because of how much zone and different type things that we’ve seen.”
With the big one looming against Ohio State, it is important for the Wolverines to keep their focus on the task at hand against Maryland. After all, if they drop this one, the implications of the Ohio State game are not nearly as big.
Michigan at Maryland duke it out at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday on Big Ten Network.