No. 24 Michigan State looks to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Ohio State last week when it returns home to host Maryland in a Big Ten game Saturday. The Spartans fell out of first place in the league’s East Division with the 45-point rout by the Buckeyes while the Terrapins have dropped five of six, including last week’s loss at home to Michigan.
Maryland is just hoping to stay healthy under center for a week after Ryan Brand became the fourth different quarterback to start a game for the Terrapins this season last week against Michigan, though the player he replaced, Max Bortenschlager, may be ready to return against the Spartans. Either quarterback has a solid pair of targets in wide receivers Taivon Jacobs (career-high eight catches, 92 yards against Michigan) and DJ Moore (Big Ten-best 64 receptions) to throw to, though the Terrapins are averaging just 164 yards a game through the air. The Michigan State offense grounded to a halt against the Buckeyes, though quarterback Brian Lewerke (2,338 passing yards, 16 TDs) is still dangerous, having passed for 400 or more yards in each of the two games prior to the Ohio State loss. Defensively, the Spartans are stout, especially against the run, ranking 10th in the country, allowing 111.8 yards a contest.
TV: 4 pm. ET., Fox. LINE: Michigan State -16
ABOUT MARYLAND (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten): Which quarterback starts this week will be uncertain up until kickoff, just as it was last week when Maryland coach DJ Durkin named the former walk-on Brand the starter right before the loss to Michigan. It’s uncertain what kind of injury Bortenschlager suffered the previous week against Rutgers -- it appeared to either be a mild concussion or an injury to his left shoulder or clavicle -- but Durkin said he will start if he’s healthy. Brand seemed to get better as the game progressed last week, though either quarterback is going to have his hands full against a fired-up Michigan State defense looking to atone for last week’s loss.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (7-3, 5-2): The Spartans’ offensive line has been hearing it after last week’s loss in which Michigan State managed just 195 yards of total offense and averaged under two yards a carry. Ohio State dominated up front, recording six sacks, tying for the most given up by a Mark Dantonio-coached squad at Michigan State. Co-captain and the only senior on the offensive front, center Brian Allen, said the young line can only learn from the experience and that the only way to get better is play harder and more sound in the future.
1. Maryland RB Ty Johnson became the 13th player in school history to reach 2,000 career rushing yards with 67 in the loss to Michigan.
2. Michigan State S David Dowell made his fifth interception of the season against Ohio State, tying him for third in the country.
3. The Spartans’ 195 yards of total offense against Ohio State were their fewest in a game since a 2011 loss at Nebraska (187).
PREDICTION: Michigan State 38, Maryland 17