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Maryland Football Preview 2020

Written by: Ben Pekay

Sept. 5 Towson-Win

Sept. 12 Northern Illinois- Win

Sept. 19 @ West Virginia- Loss

Oct. 3 Minnesota- Loss

Oct. 10 @ Indiana- Loss

Oct. 17 @ Northwestern- Win

Oct. 24 Wisconsin- Loss

Oct. 31 Rutgers- Win

Nov. 7 @ Michigan-Loss

Nov. 14 Ohio State-Loss

Nov. 21 @ Penn State- Loss

Nov. 28 Michigan State- Win

Record: 5-7

The 2020 Maryland football season will be a small improvement. Last year they went 3-9. The starting quarterback role is wide open. It will probably be either Josh Jackson or Taulia Tagovailoa. Jackson was the starting quarterback last year and he threw for 1,274 and 12 touchdowns. Tagovailoa is the brother of the number 5 draft pick in the NFL draft Tua Tagovailoa. He transferred from Alabama over the summer. Taulia Tagovailoa's transfer waiver has not been approved yet by the NCAA. If approved, then he can play this season, but if not he will have to wait out a season. I expect Jackson to start the season as the starting quarterback, but as the season goes along Taulia will replace him once he gets to know the offense if his transfer waiver is approved. They have a decent receiving corps. They return Dontay Demus Jr. who had 625 yards and 6 touchdowns last year and have 4 star recruit Rakim Jarrett who is very talented. Jarrett will be the lead pass catcher on the Terps this year. Maryland also returns 3 of their starting offensive lineman. They are weak at the running back position. They lost Javon Leake and Anthony McFarland Jr. to the NFL draft. They had a combined 16 touchdowns and 1,350 yards for the Terps last year. On the defensive end, they will not be as good. Last year, they finished last in the Big Ten in total defense. No returning Terps defensive lineman had more than one sack. They return Ayinde Eley who was the leading tackler with 79 tackles last year. The Terps defense will struggle throughout the year because of the inexperience and lack of depth.

Maryland's first game of the season is against Towson. Last year, Towson went 7-5. Maryland will win this game because of the talent of their team. Next up for Maryland is Northern Illinois. Last year, Northern Illinois went 5-7. They return Ross Bowers who threw for 2,130 yards and 8 touchdowns last year. Maryland will win this game because of the decent play of Josh Jackson. Next up for Maryland is a tough away game at West Virginia. West Virginia returns Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall who had 1,989 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He will be improved this year. They also return speedy Wide Receiver Sam James who had 677 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. Their offense should be adequate this year. The defense was solid last year and will be more improved from last year. They were one of the best run defenses in the Big 12. They return brother tandem Defensive Lineman Dante and Darius Stills who both had 7 sacks last year and Sean Mahone who led the team with 77 tackles last year. West Virginia will beat Maryland because of the poor play from Maryland's defense. Next up is a home game against Minnesota. Minnesota returns Quarterback Tanner Morgan who threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and Rashod Bateman who was the Big Ten’s receiver of the year last year. Their offense will be very potent and score lots of points. On the defensive end, they are more questionable. They lost All-American Safety Antonie Winfield Jr. to the draft. They return Defensive Back Jordan Howard who had 57 total tackles last year and 6 pass deflections. Minnesota will beat Maryland because of the good play of the Minnesota offense and the poor play of Josh Jackson.

After Minnesota, Maryland has Indiana. Indiana returns Michael Penix Jr. who threw for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns in 6 games last year. They also return Wide Receiver Whop Philyor who had 1,002 yards last year. On the defensive end, they return their leading tackler, Micah McFadden. Both sides of the ball are very talented and have a few weak links. Indiana will be a challenge for any team. Maryland will lose because of the poor play of Josh Jackson and the poor play of their defense. Next up for Maryland is Northwestern. Northwestern’s starting quarterbacks last year combined for 1,404 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. They will be a little improved at quarterback, returning Peyton Ramsey who transferred from Indiana. He threw for 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. They have few other weapons on offense. The defense is going to be ok this year. They return Linebacker Paddy Fisher who had 88 tackles last year. Maryland will win this game because the Maryland offense will outplay Northwestern's defense. Next up for Maryland is Wisconsin. Wisconsin returns Quarterback Jack Coan who threw for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Wisconsin always has an effective running game and a strong offensive line. One strength for Wisconsin is their defensive line. They return almost every defensive lineman including Isaiahh Loudermilk who had 24 tackles last year with 3 sacks. They also return Linebacker Noah Burke who had 36 tackles last year. Loudermilk and Burke are both poised for a breakout season this year. Wisconsin will beat Maryland because of the strength of their defense and the poor play of Maryland’s offense.

Next up for Maryland is Rutgers. Well, Maryland has been bad in the past few years, but not Rutgers bad. Next up for Maryland is Michigan. Michigan’s Starting Quarterback will be Dylan McCaffrey who is a very effective runner but inaccurate with his arm. McCaffrey was Shea Patterson’s backup last year. They return Running Back Zach Charbonnet who ran for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. On the defensive end, they return Defensive Lineman Kwity Paye who had 50 tackles and 6.5 sacks last year. The Michigan defense will be solid this year. Maryland will lose to Michigan because of the talent in Michigan and the solid play of the Michigan defense. Next up for Maryland is Ohio State. Ohio State returns preseason Heisman candidate Quarterback Justin Fields who threw for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns and Wide Receiver Chris Olave who caught 12 touchdowns last year. Their offense is very talented and will have no problem scoring a large number of points on the Maryland defense. On the other end of the ball, Ohio State returns Cornerback Shaun Wade who had 25 tackles last year and 8 pass deflections and is probably a future first-round pick. Ohio State will blowout Maryland because of the talent on their team and the good game from Justin Fields.

After Ohio State, Maryland plays Penn State. Penn State is also very talented. They return Quarterback Sean Clifford who had 2,654 yards and 23 touchdowns last year and Tight End Pat Freiermuth who had 507 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. On the defensive end, they return Linebacker Micah Parsons who had 109 tackles and 5 sacks last year and who is arguably one of the best linebackers in the country. Penn State will beat Maryland because of the good play of Sean Clifford and the poor play of the Maryland defense. In the final game of the season, Maryland plays Michigan State. Michigan State starting quarterback will be Rocky Lombardi who will be very inaccurate this year and struggle in the passing game. Michigan State also returns Running Back Elijah Collins who ran for 988 yards last year and had 5 touchdowns. They lost 8 starters on defense and have inexperienced players replacing them. Maryland will pull off the upset because Josh Jackson will have an impressive game and the defense will show up in big moments.

Maryland will end the season with a 5-7 record. This is an improvement from prior years and Maryland will look towards making a bowl game in the 2021 season. Currently, Maryland has the number 12 recruiting class in the nation for 2021 according to 247 sports. Maryland has potential on offense this season, but their defense will hold them back through the season. Taulia Tagovailoa has potential and will give Maryland fans hope for upcoming seasons.

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