This is the 10th in a 12-day series looking at Michigan State’s opponents this football season and their chances against the Spartans.
Week 10: Maryland
Time and Date: 8 p.m., Nov. 15
Venue: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.
TV: Big Ten Network
Terrapins at a glance
Coach: Randy Edsall (fourth season, 13-24)
Last season: 7-6 overall, 3-5 ACC
Returning starters: 16 (seven offense, nine defense)
Preseason magazine predictions
Athlon: 6-6 overall, 3-5 Big Ten (5th, East Division); ranked No. 48 nationally
Lindy’s: 5th Big Ten East; ranked No. 59
Sporting News: 6th Big Ten East
Why they’ll beat the Spartans
The Terrapins are a better team than their record or performances last season. The welcoming Big Ten perhaps sees a middling ACC program, coming off a 7-6 season — one that included a 63-0 loss at Florida State, a 34-10 loss at Wake Forest, a 20-3 home loss to Syracuse and then a double-digit defeat to Marshall in its bowl game. But this could a terrific offense, and a program that surprises a few foes in its inaugural Big Ten season.
Injuries played a massive role in Maryland’s slide after a 4-0 start. The Terrapins lost their top three receivers (two to broken legs), including junior Stefon Diggs, who the Big Ten will learn about quickly. And their most complete running back, Wes Brown, missed his sophomore season due to suspension. All are back. Athletic senior QB C.J. Brown returns, as well, after a 2,000-yard passing season, despite the lack of healthy targets. And four starters return in front of him on the offensive line.
The schedule is also in Maryland’s favor. While MSU is coming off its own emotional prime-time showdown with Ohio State a week earlier, the Terrapins have a bye to prepare and heal, and work their fan base into a frenzy for this mid-November night game.
Why they won’t
MSU is simply the more talented program, and at this point possibly again smelling a division title. Maryland’s lines on both sides of the ball are considered no better than average, even if experienced, and average in the trenches won’t due in November. Not against a team known for its physicality, and with a defense capable of caving on an offense.
The night atmosphere might actually be a detriment to the home side. For an upset, a lazy early start can be better than a kickoff under the lights.
The Spartans will either be walking on air or depressed entering this one — all pending the previous week’s outcome against Ohio State. If it’s the latter, and Maryland still has its spirit, confidence and health, this could be a tough trip.
Prime-time showdown with Buckeyes on Nov. 8
Desperate Wolverines visit on Oct. 25
A dangerous visit to Indiana on Oct. 18
Spartans look to avoid letdown at Purdue on Oct. 11
No easing into Big Ten play, as Huskers visit Oct. 4
Impressive new coach adds intrigue to Wyoming’s Sept. 27 visit
New coach, same EMU Eagles visit on Sept. 20
A telling test at Oregon on Sept. 6
Rose Bowl encore begins with Friday night lights vs. Jacksonville State on Aug. 29