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Rutgers vs. Maryland Football Prediction and Preview

Rutgers vs. Maryland Football Prediction and Preview

Rutgers vs. Maryland Football Prediction and Preview

The Maryland Terrapins have had an interesting season. While Maryland is 2-2 overall, they have had some games lost due to COVID-19 issues with their own team or opponents. Now they will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday.

The Terrapins did not play last week because of Michigan's COVID-19 problems, but the Scarlet Knights did, losing 23-7 at home to Penn State. In head coach Greg Schiano's first season back at the helm, Rutgers (2-5) has notched wins over Michigan State and Purdue this season, already matching its total for all of 2019 (2-10). A win over Maryland would give the Scarlet Knights their most Big Ten victories since going 3-6 in 2017.

Maryland has won four of the last five meetings against Rutgers, including last year's 48-7 victory in Piscataway.

Rutgers at Maryland

Kickoff: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Maryland -7

When Rutgers Has the Ball

Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral has completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns, but he has eight interceptions. Vedral will clearly need to take better care of the football for Rutgers to have a chance against Maryland. What could help is if running back Isaih Pacheco can get going.

Pacheco leads the Scarlet Knights in rushing with 396 yards and two touchdowns. But collectively, the team is 11th in the Big Ten with 128.3 rushing yards per game and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

"I think you see consistency in the (Rutgers) product," Maryland head coach Mike Locksley said. "As a head coach, I watch all three phases. You just see a bunch of players really playing hard and with great effort. They're building and having gotten to know Greg (Schiano) ... you see them taking on his personality."

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When Maryland Has the Ball

In his first season with the Terrapins, Taulia Tagovailoa has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,011 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. In the team's two wins, he has been really good, but when he's struggled, so have the Terps. In his last game against Indiana, Tagovailoa connected on fewer than half of his attempts (17 of 36) with three interceptions.

One player who could be a significant factor on Saturday is wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. In last year's meeting against Rutgers, Demus scored an 80-yard touchdown on Maryland's first possession. This season, Demus has recorded 23 receptions for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

Final Analysis

Rutgers is better than it has been in recent years, as the Scarlet Knights have won a couple of games and two of their losses have come by a total of nine points. But Maryland appears to be better in all three phases at this point, starting on offense.

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While Taulia Tagovailoa has undoubtedly had his struggles this year, he also has put up good numbers in the Terrapins' two victories. Expect Maryland to test Rutgers' secondary early, trying to hit on some big plays through the air. If that works, Maryland can rely on its ground game to eat up some clock in the second half.

Rutgers has the ability to keep the game close, but Maryland has the edge especially playing at home.

Prediction: Maryland 31, Rutgers 23

Podcast: CFB Rankings, Coaching Changes and Week 15 Preview and Predictions

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.