There’s no real reason to believe that Maryland will win with a healthy Sean Clifford taking snaps. Yes, last year was a disaster and I don’t want to place too much blame on any individual player, but the biggest culprit isn’t on the team this season and that beatdown should be the motivation the team needs coming off Ohio State. That said, it does seem like we’re one bad hit away from the Christian Veilleux experience and who knows what could happen in that scenario since he hasn’t played a game in nearly two years.
Penn State 31, Maryland 20
Man, I so want to believe that Penn State exorcised its demons against Ohio State, and the team we saw play against the Buckeyes is the one we see the rest of the season. But PSU has NOT done well a) after playing Ohio State, and b) after losing, let alone c) both of the above. I don’t think I can in good faith predict the Lions to buck any of those trends this year. The defense plays well, but the offense reverts to uninspiring play, and the turnover bug ultimately does the Lions in.
Maryland 21, Penn State 14
If Penn State plays the way they did against Ohio State last weekend they’ll beat the Terps. Hell, if they do that they could very possibly win out, finish the season 9-3, and still get to a quality New Year’s Day Bowl. That said, I am not ready to buy back in yet.
First off, Penn State still can not run the ball. Even though Maryland stinks against the run, since Penn State could not run the ball against Villanova or Illinois, there is no reason they can run against anyone. The team also remains one hard hit on Sean Clifford away from disaster. With Cliff likely still not 100% and at a higher risk than usual, this has to continue to be a concern. Finally, Penn State has been flat out bad under James Franklin in the game after Ohio State. Penn State is 1-6 against the spread in their next game after the Buckeyes under Franklin and just 3-4 overall, including losses against Maryland in 2014 and 2020. Finally, Penn State is always Maryland’s Super Bowl. There is bad blood between the programs due to recruiting battles, Franklin’s past with Maryland and the rocky past between him and Mike Locksley.
Penn State is the more talented team but I fear this has letdown loss written all over it. Also, with their remaining schedule, this is one the Terps may have to have in order to ensure that they reach bowl eligibility. The inability to run the ball, a big passing play or two by the Terps, and a costly Penn State turnover prove to make the difference here.
Maryland 23, Penn State 20
I totally get where Chris and Marty are coming from with their concerns about PSU having a letdown performance after stepping up against Ohio State. That being said, this is a game the team has likely had circled as a revenge game ever since getting shockingly embarrassed by the Terps in an empty Beaver Stadium last year.
I see this one being competitive the whole way, but Cliff picks up where he left off by throwing for a couple TD strikes and even sneaks one into the end zone, himself. I will also go out on a limb and say the wet noodle finally sticks to the wall, as PSU rips off a big 40-plus yard gain on the ground, in what will otherwise be your typical lackluster running performance.
Most importantly, PSU’s defense is best built to contain a spread attack like Maryland’s. While I expect Maryland will be able to move the ball between the 20’s, look for that “bend but don’t break” to continue as the Terps are forced to settle for three points instead of seven (PSU’s D has not given up more than two TD’s in a single game this year, and I think that streak continues). If the front seven is able to rattle Taulia Tagovailoa with some pressure/sacks, all the better. This would also be a great game for the secondary to strut their stuff and get an interception or two, which Taulia is prone to throwing at times. .
Penn State 31, Maryland 20
I’ll try to go back to being positive optimistic Lando. Given the way Penn State looked against the Buckeyes, there is every reason to believe that the Nittany Lions will more than contend in this one. Yes, it’s on the road-but Capital One Field isn’t exactly the Horseshoe. I think Clifford, Dotson, Parker, and more with make up for the lack of a running game, and the defense will continue to impress.
Penn State 24, Maryland 21
This could turn out to be a very competitive game, as Maryland will be fighting for bowl eligibility and will bring its best with the Nittany Lions coming to town. But something tells me that despite the loss, Penn State reset itself and regained its confidence in Columbus on Saturday night. We’ll see the grittiness that defined the season prior to the Illinois debacle, and use this game as a springboard for a challenging and meaningful November.
There’s little mystery to each team’s gameplan, as both offenses will rely on the passing game to get points on the scoreboard. While Maryland certainly has some talent in that department, I’ll take the Nittany Lions secondary over the Maryland secondary any day of the week.
Sean Clifford appears back to his normal self, throwing for 310 yards and three scores - one each to his favorite targets of Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith. On defense, Arnold Ebiketie stays in Tagovailo’s face all day, finishing with 2.5 sacks, while Ellis Brooks leads the way with 11 tackles as Jaquan Brisker and Joey Porter Jr. each get an interception.
Penn State 31, Maryland 17