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Knowing your enemy: 2014 Rutgers football opponent - Maryland Terrapins

They will forever be linked with us as the "other" team that changed the Big Ten's Midwestern roots. But for this year, Maryland is the finale to what should be an interesting opening season in the B1G.

Rob Carr

Randy Edsall is the enemy we know. From 1999-2010, he led UConn, and we had a whopping 4-5 record against him. Including when they were an FCS upstart.  Enough said.

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (4th year)

Key returning players: QB C.J. Brown, WR Stefon Diggs, WR Deon Long

2013 Record: 7-5 (3-5 ACC)

There are those who say the Terps and Rutgers will be fighting it out for the bottom spot in the B1G East.  But there are just as many who think the red and gold...and black and white and plaid or whatever the House of Calvert design is....will be in the middle of the pack. The Terps have experience in a lot of key spots, enough so that they aren't looked upon as doormats.

Their game plan, first and foremost, is to stay healthy.  That is what really did in the Terps in '13.  At least six significant players went down for long stretches of time, some for the season.

They opened the season last weekend by pummeling a usually good (albeit FCS) James Madison, 52-7.  And the Dukes seven points didn't come until the fourth quarter on a short field.

Defense: Most of the defense, which was rebuilding/reloading in 2013, is back.  They look good up front and there is good young talent on Edsall's squad.  They yielded a pretty substantial 326 yards against JMU but clearly dominated the game.

Offense: They've got some weapons.   After crushing injuries last year, Maryland's top receivers, Stefon Diggs and Deon Long,  are back and healthy.  They had a rather pedestrian opening game with a combined 7 catches for 101 yards. They are, arguably, one of the best receiving combinations in the country. And with quarterback C.J. Brown (11-24-0, 111 vs. JMU) being granted an incredibly unusual sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, the offense could create some fireworks.

Injuries/Schedule:  A 4-0 start in 2013 turned nasty once injuries (see above) started to hit.  In fairness, the 3-5 finish was largely due to those significant injuries to key offensive pieces.  Most people feel that if the Terps can take advantage of the softer early part of the schedule and get a good jump out of the gate, they might withstand the grueling "welcome-to-the-Big-Ten" schedule that follows.  After opening the season against JMU and USF, the Terps have an eight-week stretch that has tOSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, PSU, MSU, and Michigan.  Saving grace? Two bye weeks in that segment.

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It will be the season finale for both teams.  Will the RU secondary be improved enough by game 12 to withstand a not-so-B1G-like passing attack as the Terps seem capable of showing?  Will RU be playing for something, or playing out the string?