Michigan State vs. Maryland prediction and game preview. The Spartans hope to avoid a fifth straight loss when they face the Terrapins on Saturday night.
Michigan State vs. Maryland Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Michigan State is struggling like never before during coach Mark Dantonio’s 10-year tenure. It has lost four in a row while working through a shaky quarterback situation and spotty defensive play that has resulted in a freshman wide receiver becoming a starting cornerback. Dantonio still hasn’t decided whether Tyler O’Connor or redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke – who started last week – will get the nod under center against a Maryland defense that has held five of its six opponents to 200 passing yards or fewer.
The Terrapins are going through their own issues, though. They’ve lost back-to-back games following a 4-0 start and are dealing with injuries to starting quarterback Perry Hills and standout defensive back/returner Will Likely. Coach DJ Durkin isn’t certain if either will be able to play against the Spartans.
What To Know About Michigan State
Dantonio decided to bench O’Connor during Michigan State’s 31-14 loss to BYU two weeks ago in favor of Damion Terry, who guided a touchdown drive but also threw an interception. He then started Lewerke last week against Northwestern but later inserted O’Connor, who three three touchdown passes in the 54-40 loss. The depth chart released this week has O’Connor or Lewerke getting the nod, with a decision expected later in the week.
The running game that was so strong last year during the Spartans’ run to the College Football Playoff has suffered in part because of inconsistent quarterback play and losses on the offensive line. MSU has been held to fewer than 100 yards on the ground three times during its losing streak.
The biggest concern, though, is the defense. The Spartans are 13th in the conference against the pass and now are starting Justin Layne, a true freshman who has converted from receiver to cornerback. Malik McDowell, one of the top defensive linemen in the nation, has been moved outside to the end position.
What To Know About Maryland
It’s uncertain who will be quarterbacking the Terps’ offense against Michigan State’s struggling defense. Hills is suffering through a shoulder injury, forcing true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome to start last week’s 31-10 loss to Minnesota. He also replaced Hills for a time during the previous week’s 38-14 loss to Penn State. Pigrome rushed for 71 yards against the Gophers, but he completed only 48.7 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions.
There’s more concern for Likely, though, as he is dealing with a knee injury suffered last week. His status is uncertain, and if he can’t go it would leave a major void in the secondary and on special teams, where he shines as a dangerous return threat.
Offense: Even – Neither team is sure who will be starting under center, which isn’t a good way to go through a week of practice leading up to this one.
Defense: Even – Michigan State is having its problems, sure, but Maryland has allowed over 600 rushing yard the last two weeks.
Special Teams: Maryland – Michigan State pulled within two points in the third quarter with a touchdown last week, only to allow the ensuing kickoff to be returned 95 yards for a touchdown.
Coaching: Michigan State – For all the struggles, Dantonio has remained as upbeat as possible and accepted responsibility when necessary.
Intangibles: Michigan State – The Spartans have won both meetings by a combined 61-22 since Maryland joined the conference.
Matchup To Watch
Michigan State’s running backs vs. Maryland’s run defense
LJ Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes need to start putting up better numbers for the Spartans. This could be the week with the Terps having major trouble plugging holes.
Spread: Michigan State -3
Over/Under: No line
Michigan State vs. Maryland Prediction
Considering the quarterback situations, this one is going to come down to which team is more successful on the ground. The Spartans find enough success with their trio and get a touchdown in the final minutes to eke out a win.
Nebraska vs. Purdue final score prediction: Michigan State 24, Maryland 20