A Preview Of Penn State’s Matchup Vs Maryland On Friday Night

A Preview Of Penn State’s Matchup Vs Maryland On Friday Night

Penn State Versus Maryland College Football

Welcome back for another week of Penn State football and a preview of Friday night’s road matchup against Maryland. I’ve gone over a lot of film on Maryland in the lead up to this matchup Friday night and have come to the conclusion that Maryland is more like the team we saw lose to Temple two weeks ago and not the one we saw eviscerate Syracuse a week prior to that.

The line for the game on PlaySugarHouse legal PA online sportsbook as of Friday afternoon is at -6.5 (-115) with a total set at 61.5. So where does this game end up?

Maryland had a massive win against Syracuse in their second game, but stumbled miserably last week in Philadelphia. Their 63-20 victory over Syracuse was hugely due to missed assignments, bad tackling, and blown coverages. Everything seemed to go right for the Terps and wrong with Syracuse. Last game, Maryland went on the road to play a rested Temple Owls team in Philadelphia.

Maryland ran their RPO offense (Run-Pass-Option) with varying degrees of success, but fell short on a late goal-line stand for the third time in the game. Maryland unsuccessfully faked a field goal earlier in the game and struggled mightily in the secondary (at corner, primarily). Let’s explore the areas of concern for Maryland and how Penn State can exploit them.

Attack the Maryland corners in single coverage

Penn State may not have the household name prospects at receiver they once had, but they have KJ Hamler and he’s going to be a mismatch for whomever Marlyand decides to put on him. Temple challenged the secondary of Maryland, primarily the corners in single coverage, again and again. The Owls seemed to come up with a big reception in single coverage or drew a big pass interference call on most of these plays.

Whether it was struggling on double moves, vertical routes, or just playing the receiver poorly and not turning for the ball, the Terrapins secondary was dreadful. The corners for Maryland look like a real Achilles heel for this defense. I hope Penn State was paying attention, because there’s a lot from this game they can use this week.

Maryland Offensive line is weaker than you think

On paper, it looked like Maryland had no issues running the ball and protecting the paqss. This is where the numbers are very misleading. Because the Terps run an RPO style offense, it freezes the blitz and allows the quarterback to read the defense to see if there are passing windows for simple, short routes. If the quarterback doesn’t see an immediate window, he can go through one or two more progressions and the idea is that freezing the blitz will give him the time necessary to go through a few reads and get the ball out. If that second level is blanketed or the blitzes are too aggressive, the quarterback is going to hand the ball off.

It’s an offense that can be extremely difficult to stay disciplined against. It’s also a good way for the offense to circumvent offensive line issues. By creating the movement at the line and freezing defenders, you give your line a little bit of leverage. I believe Penn State is a disciplined defense, as we saw with the Pitt game — Pitt made plays on the outside, through the air and the quarterback stepping up into an outside collapsing pocket.

When it came down to the Red Zone and near the goal line and the Terps needed a push, their line couldn’t provide it. It’s an offense predicated upon creating holes through deceit and schemes made popular by the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Josh Jackson isn’t a dual threat quarterback and he certainly isn’t as talented of a passer as Pitt’s QB from the last game (Pickett). If the Nittany Lions defensive front can get the same push Temple was generating, as well as applying pressure in those interior rushing lanes, they can blow up this Maryland offense. I like the Penn State defensive line in this matchup.

Expect a heavy dose of Penn State running backs

Penn State will need to hammer this defensive line throughout the game, so they can find success in the fourth quarter like Temple did two weeks ago. Penn State has been getting it done on the ground and you can guarantee the game plan this week will be to wear down the Terps to set up favorable outside matchups through the air. I expect to see a lot of Journey Brown tonight.

Discipline on defense is the key to winning in Maryland

As we saw with Maryland’s last two opponents, failure to make tackles and maintain assignments is how Maryland can blow the doors off an opponent and succeeding in those areas is how to stymie them. Josh Jackson is not a prolific quarterback and I think the Nittany Lions will be up to the task this week, on the road.

The spread is -6.5 in favor of Penn State. I’m not sure if the Nittany Lions will be able to mount a comeback, given the inconsistencies of their quarterback, but I think their defense and running game should get them there. Have a great watch party tonight and as always, Fight on, Penn State.

Penn State 27 Maryland 20. We would take Penn State with the -6.5 and take the under.