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BSD Prediction Roundtable: Penn State vs. Maryland

The Nittany Lions have one more chance to fully right the ship before Michigan comes to town.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Will

After sleep walking against the Hoosiers, expect Manny Diaz’s group to be fired up and ready to roll against a reeling Maryland squad. The defense was clearly emotionally and physically spent last week after prepping for Ohio State and single handedly keeping James Franklin’s team alive in Columbus, but I see them being back to 100% against the Terps, even without Maryland native Chop Robinson in the rotation.

With the defense spoken for, I simply don’t know what to say about this offense. Some other BSD staffers have led me to believe that all Drew Allar needed to do was throw an interception, and with that now out of the way, he’ll play free and loose the rest of the year. I’d love for that to be true, but with a mediocre offensive line, a disappearing run game, and no dominant wide receiver in the mix, it’s hard to imagine the light will suddenly come on for the 19-year old.

I’m predicting the offense to once again struggle out of the gate this weekend, but will eventually find its spark by spreading three total touchdowns to its stable of big-time tight ends, and punch one in on the ground. While that goes on, the defense holds Maryland to two field goals.

Penn State 31, Maryland 6

Lando

Normally, Penn State comes to play when facing the Terps, especially in College Park. This time, I think the combination of the lackluster offensive production, and the fire Maryland may show after falling to Northwestern will make it closer than perhaps Penn State fans are hoping. Expect a few more completed deep shots after last week’s ending, and a solid effort by the defense.

Penn State 24, Maryland 10

Chris

Apropos of nothing that I’ve seen to date, I expect this game not to be very close. Both teams seem to be trending in the wrong direction, but Maryland appears to be trending a bit harder, and I’m not sure that Penn State is actually trending the wrong way at all. I think they are who they are, got beat by OSU, and then played flat against Indiana given their demoralization.

Penn State is who they are at this point, which is a stingy defense (two long, broken pass plays notwithstanding), sound-if-not-world-shaking special teams, and an offense that seems to have remembered it’s a run-first system. I expect we’ll see something similar to the Iowa game, though I do predict Maryland will put at least a few points on the board.

Penn State 35, Maryland 14

Bennett

Well, I can’t believe I’m writing this, but here goes. This game plays out in only two ways in my opinion: Penn State dominates per usual or Maryland finds a way to win a close game. I just don’t have confidence, any, in Penn State’s offense. I can’t see them putting up 30 points against the Terps and therefore can’t bring myself to making that dominating performance sort of prediction. I know Penn State has the far superior defense and I know Maryland has looked even more listless in recent games. That was especially clear last week against Northwestern. But, just a gut feeling sort of game and one that I hope I get very wrong.

Maryland 23, Penn State 20

Ryan

I think Penn State is very much on upset alert, but I don’t believe Maryland will be able to get the job done. For whatever reason, I’m choosing to believe that the Nittany Lions have learned from their struggles and are ready to come out swinging with Michigan on the horizon. Also — I’m bought into the “Drew just needed to through a pick” theory. Sure. I predict Yurcich & Co. will use this as a get-right game and make meaningful tweaks ahead of the Wolverines coming to town. I’m not sure if I’m confident, though.

Penn State 27, Maryland 20

Tim

As long as James Franklin is the head football coach at Penn State, you can bank on the team being focused and dialed-in against Maryland. Not only is it personal for James, who was once Maryland’s head-coach-in-waiting, it’s also personal for the numerous players who come from Maryland and the DC metro area, as it’s a homecoming game of sorts for them. Expect closer to a 50/50 partisan crowd, given how that PSU has a massive alumni base in the Washington/Baltimore region and the Terps are currently in free fall, having lost three straight after a 5-0 start, including back-to-back games as a double-digit favorite.

The defense will clean up the mental errors that led to the two long passing TD’s for Indiana and even without Chop Robinson, I expect the D-line and front seven as a whole to generate some serious pass rush on Taulia Tagovailoa, getting sacks, and forcing Taulia into making some ill-advised throws that could be ripe for intercepting.

While I don’t suddenly expect the offense to go on a tear, I do think the way Drew Allar responded by firing the game-winning TD pass right after throwing his first career interception leads me to believe he will be less afraid at taking some more shots downfield, especially against a suspect Maryland pass defense. Look for the tight ends especially to have a field day in this one, while Singleton and Allen do just enough on the ground to move the chains and help punctuate drives in the end zone.

Penn State 34, Maryland 17

Jared (Originally Appearing in the Game Preview)

We typically know what to expect by the first weekend of November, but this game has the feel of trying to predict an early-season game. Penn State is coming off a disappointing loss to Ohio State, following with their worst overall performance of the season in a late victory over Indiana. Maryland is in a similar spot — the Terps got off to a 5-0 start before consecutive losses to Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern.

Something about the intangibles of this game give me an uneasy feeling — the way Maryland’s defensive front seems to match up well with the Penn State offense, Drew Allar’s lack of touch on the road, the injuries that have piled up over the last two weeks causing uncertainty with the lineup. Plus, it’s hard to tell which version of either team will show up on Saturday afternoon.

I’ll go with my optimistic side and trust the defense to clean things up from last week and force enough three and outs and turnovers to get the job done, and that we see a more mature version Allar following his 57-yard go-ahead touchdown in the closing moments of last week’s victory over the Hoosiers. Penn State comes out on top in a tight contest for the second week in a row.

Penn State 27, Maryland 20