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OTB Staff predictions: Rutgers at Maryland

Our contributors make their picks for the regular season finale.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers (2-5) will play its regular season finale at Maryland (2-2) on Saturday in what has been a strange season due to the global pandemic. RU will play a program record eighth Big Ten game in consecutive weeks while the Terps have played just once in the past month. Our contributors make their picks as to what they think will happen on the gridiron in this matchup.

David Anderson: Rutgers should bounce back somewhat against the Terps, but Maryland is totally fresh with plenty of time to prepare their QB for zone defense. It’s a bad matchup for Rutgers, even though the Knights should be able to throw the ball a little bit more with better weather conditions and the fact they are on the road. I’m hoping RU can win this game in the high 20s or low 30s, but Maryland’s big play potential was the difference in the 2016 and 2019 defeats, notably their speed on the perimeter. As I said in the position meter post earlier this week, with the Terrapins being the first pure speed team Rutgers has faced all year, I am concerned. Of course for the first time in three years Rutgers COULD win. Maryland 34, Rutgers 23.

Fred Gaudios: Rutgers seemed exhausted in the second half of last week’s game against Penn State, and the very least you can say about Maryland (with multiple cancellations on their schedule so far this year, including their game last week) is they have to be well-rested. Being well-rested can sometimes be a bad thing, though. I still think Rutgers will enter this game better-prepared and more energized. Call it a hunch, call it whatever. I don’t have a ton of deep analysis to offer here, but I say Rutgers wins this week and enters the final week of the season with three wins. Three wins! I never would have predicted this at the beginning of the season. 2020’s been a garbage sandwich of a year, but a silver lining for me has been watching Rutgers athletics develop from afar. Rutgers 28, Maryland 17.

Aaron Breitman: I don’t think this is a good matchup for Rutgers for several reasons. Whie I don’t think the two teams are too far apart, I do think the Terps have the talent edge, have more speed and are much more rested after only playing once in the past month. Rutgers has gotten beat up with the grind of Big Ten play and expecting them to pull the upset while playing an eighth conference game in as many weeks seems like asking too much. Maryland has the worst run defense in the Big Ten, but the Scarlet Knights have struggled on the ground so I’m not sure they’ll have enough to take full advantage. A fun regular season ends with a close loss. Maryland 31 Rutgers 21

Dave White: Wait, who is Rutgers playing this week? You think I’m making a “I’m distracted by basketball” joke, but the reality was there was some speculation around Ohio State getting Maryland to fill the hole in their COVID decimated schedule. Then Rutgers would travel to Nebraska or maybe not play at all and oh man now my head hurts. But that’s life in college sports 2020. That said, Rutgers will in fact line up against Maryland on Saturday. Maryland is better than expected and probably a step ahead of Greg Schiano in terms of rebuilds. So, that’s a challenge. And, after all the hype and build up for Penn State, I just don’t feel it from the fan base for this game. Does that translate over to Rutgers? Is Rutgers worn down after a brutal schedule and giving it 1120% (no typo) week after week? I think Rutgers definitely puts a scare into Maryland early, but like most teams that are running out of gas, the question depends on how Maryland is able to bounce back from that punch in the face. This one is close for a half. Maryland 42 Rutgers 25

Cara Sanfilippo: I don’t really know where to go with this one. I know I have been the optimist of the season, and was the only one to (rightfully) predict a win against Purdue. I think for those who wonder if we should be predicting these wins, remember that the point of watching sports, at least for me, is to have fun and enjoy it. It brings people together in a time when things seem bleak. Hey, it’s why the All American Women’s Baseball league was created. Shout out, a League of their Own. Great movie. Another fun fact, I almost went to University of Maryland after deciding not to go into student loan date by attending Boston University. My dad “encouraged” me to go to Rutgers. Great choice, and always makes this an interesting matchup for me. Anyway, I digress and excuse the PSA but I hate the negativity. If I am being my optimistic self, I think that Rutgers is not far off in talent and B1G experience than Maryland and is hungry after a close loss to Penn State. I don’t think Maryland’s front 7 is as strong as PSU’s by any means and we have strong runners. However, if I am putting on my pessimistic hat, we get slashed by mobile quarterbacks and we are tired. Due to COVID, Maryland didn’t have to play half the tough opponents we have faced. On the other hand, well-rested could mean rusty and maybe we are gelling. Ok, fine a prediction. If we, and particularly Noah Vedral, can be the team that went into Triple overtime with Michigan and control our errors, I think we eek out a close one. I can’t let the negativity keep me from having hope in my team. Let’s go, Knights. Rutgers 24, Maryland 21

Let us know your prediction for Rutgers at Maryland in the comment section.