No. 4 Michigan will host yet another game on Saturday and this time the 3-0 Maryland Terrapins will come to the Big House.
The Wolverines are on a five-game win streak against the Terps - 8-1 overall. Last year, in College Park, Michigan defeated Maryland, 59-18.
Maryland is coming off of a thrilling game last Saturday where it beat SMU. 34-27. While the Wolverines just blanked Connecticut last week, 59-0.
Like most years, Maryland will enter Big Ten play with a prolific offense. The Terps average 40.3 points-per-game and Maryland has the 20th-ranked offense that averages 499 yards-per-game. The Terps will have their hands full on Saturday going up against, statistically, one of the best defenses in all of football. Michigan allows 5.7 points and the third-ranked defense gives up 194 yards-per-game.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa returns to Maryland for his third year there. Tagovailoa is off to an incredible start to the 2022 season. He has thrown for 895 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 77% of his throws. Tagovailoa is 15th in the country averaging 298.3 passing yards-per-game. This will be the first true test for the Michigan secondary that lost three key players from last year's squad. But, so far the maize and blue have defended the pass with ease. Michigan is third in the country allowing 91.3 yards-per-game through the air.
Maryland has plenty of weapons surrounding Tagovailoa and that is another reason that the Terps have been so proficient on the offensive side of the ball. Maryland has a trio of receivers that are dangerous. Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus Jr. are the stars, but Demus Jr. is slowing back into action after being injured last season. Jarrett leads the team with 11 receptions, 196 yards, and one score. Demus Jr. has six catches for 57 yards. Jeshaun Jones is the third receiver, and he has really come out of nowhere this season. Jones also has 11 catches, and he has 145 yards and two scores through three games.
Redshirt freshman Roman Hemby has given Maryland a running game. Hemby averages 98 yards-per-game - 294 yards this season - he has three scores and averages 9.1 yards per carry. He runs behind a very strong offensive line. The line averages over 300-pounds per lineman. PFF grades Maryland run blocking 32nd overall and the Terps have a 70.9 grade. Michigan allows a little over 100 yards on the ground to the opposition this season, so Michigan will have a test defending the run against a solid offensive line.
But what hurts Maryland is the defense.
The Terps only allow 19.3 points-per-game, but they allow a ton of yards. They have the 88th-ranked defense allowing 392 yards-per-game to the opposing team. Through three games, Michigan is the highest-scoring team averaging 55.3 points-per-game and it averages 497.7 yards-per-game.
The Maryland secondary could be up to a huge challenge Saturday against J.J. McCarthy and the Michigan weapons. The Terps are the 107th-ranked team against the pass through three games allowing 273.7 yards-per-game. With McCarthy under center for Michigan, the Wolverines are 266.3 yards a game throwing the ball and McCarthy is completing over 88% of his passes. The former five-star gunslinger has a 234 QB rating this season in three games.
Maryland is formidable against the run though. Maryland is the 49th-ranked team against the run this season giving up 118.3 yards-per-game. But Michigan averages 231 yards-per-game on the ground, so that should be a good battle in the trenches.
The Terrapins are also one of the most penalized teams in all of football. They have had 31 penalties in three games and the most penalized team in all of football has 32. Maryland has an issue of shooting itself in the foot during drives and it will be crucial for Michigan to capitalize on those mistakes.
The game can be seen on FOX at noon EDT.
See the next page for our staff predictions.
WolverinesWire staff writers Isaiah Hole and Trent Knoop will share their thoughts on the game, two soft predictions, one bold prediction and the final score.
Michigan will certainly have its hands full defensively on Saturday.
Maryland has perhaps the deepest wide receiver room the Wolverines will face outside of Ohio State, and it appears its running game has gotten going thus far this year. However, the only team that the Terps have faced with a pulse is SMU, and the Mustangs probably should have beaten Maryland in College Park.
What does that say for the collection of talent that Maryland is about to face on both sides of the ball?
Michigan will have to be stout in both the run and the pass instead of just teeing off against the pass, here. The big question for me is if the pass rush is able to get home when Taulia Tagovailoa does have the ball in his hands.
Even if the defense stumbles a bit, Michigan's offense should be able to do pretty much whatever it wants against the Terrapin defense. The Terps have been OK this year, until the SMU game, but Buffalo and Charlotte don't pose much of a challenge.
Despite many saying this will be a big test for Michigan, I'm not convinced. Michigan has much more talent and depth than Maryland, and I don't expect it to look much different than it has in previous years.
J.J. McCarthy completes 75% or more of his passes again
McCarthy gets over 250-yards passing
Michigan's defense makes Maryland's offense look pedestrian
-Final score prediction
Michigan 48, Maryland 17
This is going to be the first true test for Michigan after playing three teams that have a combined 2-11 record this season. But I think the Wolverines are going to be ready for the challenge.
Like the past three seasons, Maryland has a prolific offense but a very suspect defense. Taulia Tagovailoa is one of the best passers in all of football and he has a ton of weapons to throw the ball to. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Terps pick the Wolverines apart the first few drives before the Wolverines regroup and throw some creative packages for the Maryland offense.
If the Wolverines can create some havoc against Tagovailoa and get a sack or two against him early, then I'm not sure the Terps will have an effective day whatsoever. But the Terrapins have a solid offensive line and I don't know how easy it will be for Michigan to get ahold of Tagovailoa.
On the other side of the ball, Maryland is one of the worst defenses against the pass. I believe J.J. McCarthy will continue to look like a five-star player and will continue to gain confidence against a team he should be able to sling the rock against. Michigan also has a ton of weapons and that should show this game.
In the end, I look for Michigan to have a huge second half and pull away from Maryland.
J.J. McCarthy throws three touchdown passes
One Michigan wide receiver catches for over 100 yards
The Wolverines surpass 550 yards of total offense
Final score prediction
Michigan 42, Maryland 24
Predicting every Big Ten college football game in Week 4
Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire