Week 9: Maryland at Wisconsin

    Maryland (5-2) at Wisconsin (4-2) Oct. 25, 12:00, BTNHere’s The Deal: It’s the first ever meeting between the new Big Ten brothers, and it should be a

    October 24, 2014

    Maryland (5-2) at Wisconsin (4-2) Oct. 25, 12:00, BTN

    Here’s The Deal: It’s the first ever meeting between the new Big Ten brothers, and it should be a revealing one. Wisconsin is a fourth quarter stop against LSU, and a pass thrown to the right team against Northwestern, away from being 6-0, but that’s being way too simplistic for a team that’s struggling a bit defensively, doesn’t have a downfield passing game, and is only surviving because of its light and bouncy schedule. When your best win is against Illinois, there’s a wee bit of a prove-it factor in play. Even so, the Nebraska and Minnesota games are at home, and road games at Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa are manageable. 

    Maryland did its part against Iowa last week, and now it has to go on the road for three of the next four week to Penn State and Michigan (yay) around a home date against Michigan State (boo). The passing game has been a bit strange thanks to an erratic quarterback situation, and the defense has been tissue paper, but there’s enough pop to give the possibly overrated Badgers – we’ll know more after this week – fits. 

    Why Maryland Might Win: Get the passing game going and don’t stop. Wisconsin is eighth in the nation in pass defense and seventh overall – don’t be fooled by the mirage. LSU threw when it had to, and Northwestern and Illinois each had a few nice moments, but no one outside of Bowling Green has really tried. LSU woke up in the second half and realized that its receivers were really good, and the big plays started coming. The Tigers have something Wisconsin hasn’t seen much of the rest of this year – wide receivers. The 1-2 punch of Maryland’s Stefon Diggs and Deon Long haven’t exploded quite yet, but the Wisconsin secondary doesn’t have an answer for them. 

    Why Wisconsin Might Win: The Maryland defensive front is relatively soft against the run – uh oh. Syracuse ran amok, and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Ohio State’s bunch had few problems. Maryland doesn’t run a lot of clock, and it shows thanks to a defense that gives up almost 200 yards per game on the ground and has slowed down the plays behind the line. Field position usually isn’t a big deal for a Wisconsin team that hits the big plays with the ground game, but the field might be tilted thanks to a bad Maryland punting game, a good Badger return game, and a massively unbalanced time of possession. 

    Who To Watch Out For: All of a sudden, the Maryland quarterback controversy is over, and not because C.J. Brown stepped up and took the job. Caleb Rowe is out for the year after suffering a torn ACL, and while Brown led the way to the win over Iowa, it wasn’t pretty. The senior has thrown three picks in his last two games with no touchdown passes, and while he ran for 99 yards against the Hawkeyes, he threw for only 120 yards and two interceptions. He has to be razor sharp to beat the Badgers. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Maryland beat South Florida 24-17 in Tampa, and Wisconsin beat the Bulls 27-10 at home. What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing, but considering the Terp defensive front is about to have a bad day, expect another huge performance from Melvin Gordon and the Badger ground attack. However, the Terps are going to make this very, very close with Diggs and Long going gonzo. Wisconsin is going to have a long, 60-minute battle on its hands to get out with a win. 

    Prediction: Wisconsin 31 … Maryland 27 
    Line: Wisconsin -11.5 o/u: 57.5 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Dumb and Dumber To – 1: Manhattan Love Story … 3 

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