After a solid debut for new Maryland head coach DJ Durkin last weekend at home, the rookie head coach takes his Terrapins down to the state of Florida to play FIU. The Panthers are playing their second straight home game against a team from the Big Ten, a pretty rare scheduling note in an age where power conference teams rarely take to the field as a visitor against a Group of Five program. Alas, FIU hopes to shake off a loss against Indiana and prove they can hang with a team from the Big Ten.
Maryland at FIU
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Friday)
TV: CBS Sports Network
Spread: Maryland -10
Three Things to Watch
1. Can FIU make things tricky for Maryland early?
Just last week saw FIU defend its home turf fairly well against another Big Ten opponent, Indiana. The Hoosiers did eventually make some plays later in the game to pull away and avoid a disaster of an opener, although it needed the defense to bail out the sluggish offense. The Terps should look to take advantage on the ground after piling up more than 300 yards of rushing offense last week.
2. Maryland was on fire inside the red zone
You never want to get carried away with stats from the season opener against a team from the FCS ranks, but Maryland did thrive inside the red zone last week against Howard. Maryland entered the red zone six times and came away with five touchdowns. FIU should be a tougher opponent for the Terps than Howard presented. FIU allowed the Hoosiers inside the 20-yard line just twice last week, and held them out of the end zone on one of those trips.
3. RB Trey Edmunds finding his role at Maryland
Edmunds had a nice debut for his new team last week. The former Virginia Tech Hokie scored two touchdowns for Maryland last weekend, with one on offense and another on special teams. Edmunds carried the football six times for 48 yards as Maryland got a bunch of backs involved in the blowout win last week. Look for Edmunds to get some opportunities on offense and special teams again against FIU.
For the second straight week, FIU will be looking to score a home upset against a Big Ten team. The effort came up short last week and it could be slightly difficult again this week. Maryland may have a long way to go to compete in the Big Ten East, but DJ Durkin’s squad has enough talent to scratch by a few games this season. Look for Maryland to find success on the ground and keep an eye on William Likely on special teams and defense for the Terps. He should make a few plays to help contribute to a win for Maryland.
Prediction: Maryland 31, FIU 23
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.