Week 10 Preview: #3 Michigan Wolverines vs. Maryland Terrapins
Coming off a big win last week against the Spartans, the Michigan Wolverines head back home to take on the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan moved down in the rankings as the College Football Playoff Rankings have been released and Michigan fell from number 2 to number 3, still in the playoff picture. While the new rankings didn’t seem to affect the Wolverines as much, they will still be paying attention to them.
This week, Maryland head coach and former Michigan Wolverine defensive coordinator DJ Durkin returns to The Big House. Maryland is coming in 5-3 and off a six point loss to Indiana as they look to become bowl eligible. Michigan will be sure to put on a show against its former defensive coordinator, check out what to expect below.
What to Expect Against Maryland
Wilton Speight should have an easy day against the Maryland secondary. Will Likely, star defensive back is out for the year with an ACL injury. That gives the Wolverines an easier day through the air. Speight was held without a touchdown last week, but expect that to change this week.
The Michigan Wolverines don’t have a clear number one back, as De’Veon Smith does lead the team in carries, the workload splits between multiple backs. The Terrapins have allowed more rushing yards than passing this year, and with a stout Michigan offensive line, expect that trend to continue.
Amara Darboh lead the Michigan Wolverines last week through the air as it seems like the others should get some more action. With Will Likely out, the Wolverines will have to deal with Alvin Hill who leads the team in interceptions with two and four pass deflections. JC Jackson also has four pass deflections so Speight will have to be careful not to put the ball in contention for both players.
The offensive line will have another big test against Jesse Aniebonam who has a team high eight and a half tackles for loss and five and a half sacks. If the Wolverine offensive line can contain Aniebonam then their day just got easier for both the passing attack and the ground game.
Now while Durkin will have an advantage as he knows the Wolverines offense in a way to get prepared for it, it doesn’t mean this game is an easy win. The offense still has to hit the field and Maryland’s against a stout defense in the Michigan Wolverines, it won’t be easy. Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley will be attacking the line, along with Rashan Gary and Ryan Glasgow. It will be a long day for the offensive line.
Along with the defensive line is the linebackers for Michigan as they will need to provide help to stop the Maryland rushing attack. Maryland has a two back system in Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison. Johnson has 624 yards and four touchdowns while Harrison has 575 yards and five touchdowns. Jabrill Peppers will need to be involved in help stopping the run. Maryland relies on the run and if the Wolverines can stop it, Maryland is in trouble.
The passing game for the Terrapins hasn’t been horrible in its time though. Perry Hills has 10 touchdowns and three interceptions on 1,070 yards. He will have to deal with Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling though and that won’t be easy. The good thing for Maryland though is they have three receivers who lead the team and if Michigan takes one or two out, there still is another one to cause problems. D.J. Moore is the main receiver with 28 catches for 400 yards and five touchdowns. Teldrick Morgan also has 28 catches, but for 316 yards and three touchdowns. The final threat in the three-headed dragon is Levern Jacobs who has 26 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown.
Overall this should be a squash game for the Wolverines. While Maryland does have a duel-threat running game and a receiving core that could cause headaches, the Michigan defense is too good for that to be a problem. They had issues last week against the run and with broken tackles, but that should be all fixed up this week. Also, Maryland lost its best defensive player in Will Likely and Michigan’s offense will have too many options that will have even DJ Durkin scratching his head and Don Brown will show him how to run a true number one defense.
Prediction: #3 Michigan 49 – Maryland 7
Brandon Knapp covers the Michigan Wolverines, follow him on Twitter @BKnappBlogs