FACTS & STATS: Site: Michigan Stadium (109,901) — Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: UMD 2-3, UM 4-2. Away Record: UMD
4-1, UM 1-3. Neutral Record: UMD 0-0, UM 0-0. Conference Record: UMD 3-3, UM
3-3. Series Record: Michigan leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Michigan Wolverines will try to become bowl eligible on
Saturday afternoon when they host the Maryland Terrapins in a Big Ten
Conference clash at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan has turned things around with wins in three of its last four games
and figures to be well-rested coming off a bye. In their latest contest, the
Wolverines came up with a big defensive stop to win at Northwestern in the
final seconds, 10-9. This will be the final game of the season at The Big
House for the Wolverines, who wrap up their schedule at rival and seventh-
ranked Ohio State next weekend.
Maryland has already secured the requisite six wins needed to participate in a
bowl game, although the team is coming off a lopsided 37-15 home loss to 10th-
ranked Michigan State. This marks the final road game of the season for the
Terrapins, who have gone 4-1 as the visitors. They’ll host fellow Big Ten
newcomer Rutgers next Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Michigan is 3-0 all-time against the Terps, although this marks the first
meeting between the two teams since 1990.
Maryland’s C.J. Brown is a dual-threat quarterback who leads the team with 375
yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Of course, that speaks to the Terps’
inept running game as much as it does anything else, considering Brown is
averaging only 37.5 rushing yards per tilt. And while he has the ability to
buy some extra time in the pocket, Brown is completing only 52.7 percent of
his throws on the season while averaging 172.3 ypg through the air.
Complicating matters is the fact that his top target, Stefon Diggs (52 rec,
654 yds, 5 TDs), sat out last week’s game with a lacerated kidney that will
cause him to miss the rest of the season.
Defensively, Maryland held nationally-ranked Michigan State to just nine
first-half points on a trio of field goals until the Spartans ended the half
with a touchdown drive. They eventually stretched that lead to 30-7 midway
through the fourth quarter, although one of those scores came on an
interception return that was Brown’s doing. By game’s end, the Terps had given
up 242 yards (5.1 ypc) and three TDs on the ground, and another 240 yards
through the air as they lost the time-of-possession battle by a full 15
minutes. Cole Farrand totaled 18 tackles in the loss.
Throughout the season, Michigan’s offense has left plenty to be desired. The
Wolverines enter this tilt ranked 109th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in
scoring (20.7 ppg) and 114th in total offense (322.6 ypg). And although they
are coming off a hard-fought road win over Northwestern, the Maize and Blue
managed only one touchdown and were outgained, 264-256. De’Veon Smith
accounted for that TD on a three-yard run in the third quarter, and he
finished with a game-high 121 yards on 18 carries. Smith’s ability to move the
chains on the ground proved key, with quarterback Devin Gardner completing
only 11-of-24 passes for 109 yards and two picks for the game.
Michigan’s defense gave up the potential game-tying score with three seconds
remaining in regulation, after NU went on a 14-play, 74-yard drive. But rather
than settle for overtime, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald opted for the two-
point conversion to try to steal the win right then and there. Fortunately for
Michigan, senior defensive end Frank Clark was up to the task as he came up
with a huge sack to seal the win for the Wolverines. Senior linebacker Jake
Ryan led the way with a game-high 11 tackles and an interception, while junior
defensive end Mario Ojemudia posted two of the team’s six sacks. Michigan,
which ranks seventh nationally in run defense (103.2 ypg) and eighth in total
defense (300.8 ypg), bottled up Northwestern to -9 rushing yards and a long
play of just 16 yards.
The Wolverines have pitched a first-half shutout in two straight games. If
they can set the tempo early on again in this one, they’ll have a good shot at
becoming bowl eligible, which seemed almost unimaginable only a few weeks ago.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 20, Maryland 13