Penn State vs. Maryland prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in the game between the Nittany Lions and Terrapins.
I’ve become such a fan of this Maryland team that I might even buy a Terps t-shirt. DJ Durkin surpassed last year’s win total in his first season with leftover players, and Maryland will be even better once he gets a couple recruiting classes in College Park. The biggest difference is offensive coordinator Walt Bell, whose name will be much more familiar within the next couple of years. Perry Hills is playing like a different quarterback from last season, and his solid decision-making is going to be the difference in Maryland’s win over Penn State. James Franklin’s seat will get even hotter as Nittany Lions fans become more impatient with the lack of significant progress.
From the time I first met D.J. Durkin when he was a linebackers coach for the Florida Gators, I knew he’d be a head coach sooner or later and that he’d do a great job. The guy is charismatic. Recruits love him. He’s passionate, and there’s no question the Terps are inspired under him. Perry Hills looks like a brand new version of himself this season. Now, Penn State has some talent, too, and it has home field advantage. But there’s no way I’m betting against Durkin. That guy can coach, man. He can coach damn well.
While the Nittany Lions have dominated this series, holding an all-time record of 36-2-1, the Terps pulled the upset when they last visited Happy Valley in 2014 and played the Nittany Lions tough at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore last year. James Franklin’s squad may have a little trouble moving the football against a Maryland defense that is allowing just 14.5 points per game, while the Terps are one of the better rushing teams in the Big Ten. PSU is wounded on defense, especially at linebacker, so it’s a unit that’s susceptible to the run. That’s why I think the Nittany Lions drop this game, which will cause some fans to question Franklin’s future in Happy Valley–fair or not..
Alright, D.J. Durkin. Your Terrapins are 4-0, but beating a lineup of Howard, FIU, UCF, and Purdue isn’t exactly garnering much respect for your team. Winning in Happy Valley against Penn State could open some eyes, and make the rest of the Big Ten stop talking about Michigan and Ohio State for a second. Are your guys ready? I think so. Penn State isn’t exactly a world-beater nowadays, and this is Maryland’s chance to turn some heads. Maryland wins in a small upset.