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Rutgers vs Maryland // Game Preview

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Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Well, folks, we've finally reached the end of the regular season. It has been one to forget, for sure, but there is still a chance Rutgers can make a bowl game if they beat Maryland and things work in their favor on the Saturday slate of games.

Regardless of what some fans may say, Rutgers' true rival is Maryland, due to the great game last year, kinda close geography, B1G join date, and of course, recruiting battles. With all that on the table, this game was looked at as possibly a really big game to end the regular season. With all the turmoil that has gone on at both schools, it is looking like this game will go by unseen by many.

It is a holiday weekend, so most students are home with their families, and the forecast isn't great. This will lead to a poor crowd and likely a disappointing atmosphere for the seniors who have all seen the worst of this program. Now on to the game.

Opposing player spotlight

Will Likely, everywhere, 5-7 175

Likely is without a doubt the best player on Maryland, and serves as their Jabrill Peppers. He used to be the starting CB and bring back punts for the Terps. However, in an effort to stimulate the offense, Likely has turned into a key player on all sides of the ball. If the commentators on B1G are un-biased, they will surely have a Likely-O-Meter, to measure his total snap count. The bad news for Rutgers is that they tend to struggle against do-it-all players. Peppers had a nice game against them, Dri Archer ran wild on them in 2012, and T.Y. Hilton was a problem to defend back in 2010. They key for Rutgers will be to limit his big plays. If they keep Likely out of the endzone, there is a good chance Rutgers can pull out the victory.

How Rutgers wins

Don't give up a touchdown

Little known fact: Maryland's offense is not very good. If the Rutgers defense starts giving up touchdowns to Maryland, it will be a long day. This offense is a hell of a lot worse than the offense that Rutgers shut down in the second half last year. However, this Rutgers defense is also a hell of a lot worse. Rutgers cannot afford to let the Maryland offense get into a groove because quite frankly I don't like our chances if Chris Laviano has to win the game for us.

Non-offensive production

Special Teams...whenever you guys are ready to show up again, that'd be great. Grills: get yours. Kemoko Dragon: block a gosh-darn kick for once. ANYONE: KICK THE DAGGONE BALL INTO THE ENDZONE ON A KICKOFF. THANKS. In essence, Rutgers has had to rely on their offense a lot this year because the defense has been terrible and Janarion Grant can only return so many freakin' kicks for TDs. The offense isn't built for that and the defense or special teams needs to step up and win a game.

Linebackers

Steve Longa is back from being "injured", Kaiwan Lewis should be good to go, and Quentin Gause is ready as always. These 3 will once again be very busy. Maryland, Brandon Ross, specifically, ran all over Indiana. At this moment in the season, I can't trust the d-line to penetrate enough to consistently stop the run. The linebackers will need to pick up the slack and not get blown out of the play by blockers.

How Rutgers loses

  • Joe Rossi shows up on the sideline
  • Kyle Flood shows up on the sideline
  • Chris Laviano starts
  • 0 blocked kicks
  • 0 non-offensive scores
  • Bad kicking (once again)
  • Bad weather
  • Low attendance
  • Head coach losing his team
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.

My Prediction

Maryland is 2-9, but unlike Rutgers, has been playing with a lot of pride. They clearly have their coach's back and have the will to compete with the best teams in the conference. The Terps were tied with tOSU in the 3rd quarter, they played with Wisconsin, and nearly beat Penn State. Rutgers was blown out by all 3 of those teams. Because they have "nothing" to play for, I think Maryland comes out with more emotion and more will to win. I think they will put up points because the Rutgers defense loves to give them up. Whoever plays QB will have the game of his life because thats what every QB does against Rutgers, and the Terps will win 31-14.

In GIF form:

Game Specifics

Maryland @ Rutgers | Rutgers Stadium, Piscataway, NJ | 12pm | BTN