Entering the 2022 football season, Penn State holds an overall 41-3-1 record against the Turtlefolk called Terrapins, lead by third-year head coach Mike Locksley. While the series is heavily lopsided in Penn State’s favor, two of the three Maryland wins came in the past eight seasons as Big Ten conference mates. Can the Terrapins continue to pose a threat to the Nittany Lions, or will these two wins serve to be more as an anomaly of a weird decade in Penn State football?
Maryland, as has been the case in recent memory, started the year hot. They took down West Virginia as a home underdog, blasted Howard and Kent State in the rest of their non-conference slate, and barely escaped out of Champaign with a win against Illinois.
All was well until the Terrapins’ Big Ten schedule heated up, starting with another Friday Night Humiliation™, this time against Iowa. Two more blowout losses to Ohio State and Minnesota followed, then, finally, a win against an Indiana team that would finish 2-10 on the season stopped the bleeding.
A valiant showing against Penn State at home ended in disaster as a late pick-six sealed the deal, two more blowout losses to Michigan State and Michigan, then a win against Rutgers locked up a bowl bid for the Terrapins, which they used to blow the doors off Virginia Tech, leading to this fun exchange during the bowl game:
Offensive Player to Watch: Taulia Tagovailoa
It would be foolish for PSU not to focus on the Redshirt Junior quarterback from Hawaii’s many talents throwing the ball. The quarterback is the field general, and if a general leads his troops well, then watch out if you are the enemy.
Basically, what Penn State has to watch here is how much time they are giving Tagovailoa in the pocket, if he sits back and finds his wide receivers, then the Nittany Lions can be picked apart to the tune of hundreds of yards through the air (much like my poor Eagles secondary over the last few years... please don’t throw eggs at me, Eagles fans!) Tagovailoa has the talent to make Penn State’s day (or night) a long one, which is why the Lions have to be ready for this player to watch.
Defensive Player To Watch: Greg China-Rose
The Redshirt Senior clocks in at 295 pounds and 6-foot-2 inches tall. Rose lines up in the middle of the defense and seeks to rain havoc down upon opposing offensive linemen while wrapping up the quarterback and making it look simple and pain free. Penn State’s offensive line will have their hands full, but it’s okay... The offensive line is a major strength of the program, right?
I expect Penn State will need to game heavily against GCR in order to get the run game going and the rest of the game will be a battle of wits.