Trace has seemed off the past couple games and last week in particular, the majority of his throws were off target and he passed up a handful of big run opportunities. Maryland is a far better team than Rutgers, but this one is at home and the Terps have been poor on the road. The Nittany Lions should have just enough offense for their defense that has been growing all season to get into the New Year’s Six conversation
Penn State 34, Maryland 20
Let’s examine the facts of the case:
1. Trace McSorley is nursing an injury, and seems to be suffering from a lack of mobility and accuracy as a result.
2. Coupled with #1, the receivers drop an inordinate amount of passes.
3. Combining #1 and #2, you get an offense that has struggled since the early part of the season to put up points.
4. Maryland just took Ohio State to task, scoring 51 points, and coming within a single dropped pass of defeating the Buckeyes.
Looking at all of the facts, it’s very apparent that the game this Saturday will be incredibly tough. If McSorley is still limited and the receivers continue to underperform, the offense will struggle. Going up against an offense that has shown it can score at a prolific rate against good defenses, you have all the makings of an upset. Buckle up kids.
Penn State 42, Maryland 10
Last week, somebody posted in our comments that there are two extreme types of sports fans: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative fans look at the season and see 8-3 and a potential NY6 berth and say “hey, that’s pretty damn good.” Qualitative fans, meanwhile, look past the record and the in-game performance and think “what the hell is going on out there?” I think I’m probably a little of both in that I reeeeallly want them to get to 9-3 and a NY6 game and don’t care how they do it, but damn it I hope this game isn’t a chore to watch like some of the others. Unfortunately, I have very little confidence that will be the case. Penn State once again wins ugly.
Penn State 27, Maryland 24.
Maryland’s offense has exploded over the past two weeks with the help of freshman sensation Anthony McFarland. Will Penn State’s defense be able to stymie Maryland the way Michigan State did, or will it get run over like Ohio State? Either way, we know that the Terps don’t have a great defense, so Penn State should be able to put some points on the board. That’s far from a certainty, though, based on how the offense looked against Rutgers. I’ll take Penn State to win based on Maryland not beating anyone impressive since September. The Lions will have to score a little, though.
Penn State 45, Maryland 38
Penn State better be ready to go on Saturday. The Terps, while lacking depth, have some dudes and few coaches in the FBS are better at getting their playmakers in space and in one-on-one situations than Matt Canada. Also, after a heartbreaking 52-51 overtime loss against Ohio State last week the Terps will enter this game needing a win to reach bowl eligibility.
Led by Anthony McFarland, the Terps’ offense is not a great matchup for Penn State’s defense. Especially when Koa Farmer and, to a lesser extent, Jan Johnson are on the field at linebacker. Canada will be looking to jet sweep Penn State to death, think back to the 2016 Pitt game when he was their OC, and this will exploit Farmer’s inability to read a play and Johnson’s athletic issues. The Terps, however, do not pose much of a passing threat with Kasim Hill out for the year. So, Brent Pry can sell out to stop the run.
While Maryland has some playmakers, Penn State has a more talented roster. It is also Trace McSorley’s senior day. No matter how injured he is right now there is no chance he doesn’t ball out in his Beaver Stadium finale. Maryland’s defense is poorus against the run, so look for Miles Sanders to have a strong game on Saturday as the Nittany Lions get the W and likely punch their ticket to a third consecutive New Years Six Bowl.
Penn State 28, Maryland 24
Let’s first take a moment to appreciate Richard Thomas McSorley, AKA... The Goat... AKA... Pat’s mancrush. Now. It’s senior day and it’s Trace’s last game at Beaver Stadium. There’s no way that he’s not going out in any way but a Penn State victory. The Nittany Lions surely looked horrendous offensively last week against Rutgers and Maryland gave Ohio State all they had, which makes you think Penn State should be on upset alert. But no, that’s not going to happen. Penn State’s defense on another level recently at home and I don’t think that will change on Saturday against the Terrapins. Stack the box and force Maryland to throw. Penn State wins going away.
Penn State 31, Maryland 13
Predicting this game has been a conundrum for me, given the numerous unknown factors playing into this game. Will a banged-up Trace McSorley will his way to a solid performance in his final game at Beaver Stadium (a la Curt Schilling’s bloody sock game)? Did Maryland shoot their collective wads last weekend against OSU to the point where they come out flat? Will the fact that Maryland will be Bowl eligible with an upset be enough to keep them from coming out flat? Will Anthony McFarland and the Terps’ ground attack be held in check, now that there is ample tape out there to study? Is there any pride left in this PSU team, particularly amongst the seniors? Will the combination of cold and rain hamper one team more than the other?
My wild educated guess: PSU wins in the fashion we’ve all become accustomed to this season, nerve-racking and ugly. Trace fosses a TD to Pat Freiermuth and runs for another one himself, and Amani seals the deal with an interception on Maryland’s final drive.
Penn State 24, Maryland 21
Trace McSorley isn’t losing.
Penn State 27, Maryland 17
Forget about everything else. Anyone willing to wager against Trace McSorley winning his final Beaver Stadium home game is a moron.
I always pull for the same outcome for any opponent the week prior to taking on Dear Ol’ State- an emotionally-charged loss where the team comes up just short, preferably in overtime. It’s the absolute hardest outcome to bounce back from and get back in your routine with another game coming up in a week. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we got as Maryland came up just short by losing to Ohio State 52-51 after a failed two-point conversion in overtime. It’s also Senior Day for a dedicated group who came to Happy Valley and helped bring the program back to prominence. Can you imagine Trace McSorley ending his illustrious career at Penn State with a loss to Maryland? It just seems somehow, someway, this team wills itself to victory.
In all honesty, this pick comes from the intangibles surrounding the game more so than anything else. After watching both teams last week, it’s clear that Maryland would have come away victorious had they met a week prior. But this is a new week, which means the previous game doesn’t matter (especially in an utterly nonsensical, topsy-turvey 2018 college football season). The defense is set up to limit Maryland’s one-sided attack, while the offense should be able to do just enough to come out on top.
McSorley goes out on a high note with three touchdown passes that go to DeAndre Thompkins, Pat Freiermuth and Jahan Dotson. Miles Sanders chips in 80 yards on the ground. Once again, the defensive line has itself a day as Shareef Miller and Yetur Gross-Matos each collect 1.5 sacks with Robert Windsor continuing his hot streak with two TFLs. Amani Oruwariye caps off his Senior Day with a late pick to seal the game for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State 24, Maryland 17