No. 22 Michigan takes its ground-and-pound attack on the road against Maryland on Saturday. The Wolverines racked up 371 rushing yards en route to a comfortable 33-10 win against Minnesota to take pressure off freshman quarterback Brandon Peters, who was making his first collegiate start, and they hope their impressive ground assault, which has accumulated 705 yards over their last two games, is the catalyst for their third straight victory against the Terrapins.
“It’s always important to have a good running game,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. “It pays big dividends being able to run the football as lots comes off it like play-action passes and bootlegs.” Maryland is left to pick up the pieces after its third-string quarterback suffered an injury in the 31-24 setback to Rutgers. The Terrapins had already lost Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome to season-ending knee injuries before Max Bortenschlager hurt his shoulder against the Scarlet Knights, forcing walk-on Ryan Brand to finish the game, and the former Air Force transfer could become the fourth different quarterback to start this season if Bortenschlager is unable to recover in time. “Nothing definitive yet, he’s probably a game-time decision,” Maryland head coach DJ Durkin told reporters. “We’ll continue to evaluate things every day, nothing we haven’t been through before.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN. LINE: Michigan -15.5
ABOUT MICHIGAN (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten): Karan Higdon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Evans added 191 on the ground with a pair of scores in the win over Minnesota as the running back duo earned Big Ten Co-Offensive Players of the Week honors. Hybrid linebacker Khaleke Hudson was named the conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week after setting a Big Ten single-game record with eight tackles for loss to go along with three sacks and a forced fumble against the Gophers. Running back Kareem Walker is likely to miss his second straight game with an ankle injury while offensive lineman Michael Onwenu (leg), running back Ty Isaac (head) and wide receiver Grant Perry (undisclosed) are expected to return after sitting out the win against Minnesota with injuries.
ABOUT MARYLAND (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten): Bortenschlager completed 11-of-20 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter against Rutgers. Brand came off the bench to throw for 68 yards while D.J. Moore, who leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (820) and touchdown grabs (eight), hauled in eight passes for 75 yards and needs 19 catches to break the Terrapins record for most receptions in a single season set by Geroy Simon (77) in 1994. Ty Johnson ran for 41 yards and a touchdown to pull within 43 yards of becoming the 13th player in program history to rush for over 2,000 yards in his career, while adding a touchdown reception against the Scarlet Knights.
1. Michigan is ranked third nationally in total defense (245.3 yards per game).
2. Higdon has scored eight touchdowns in his last four contests.
3. Moore has caught at least one pass in 30 consecutive games to equal the program record set by Torrey Smith.
PREDICTION: Michigan 31, Maryland 10