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Rutgers Football Game #8 Preview vs. Maryland

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The Scarlet Knights will finish off their regular season schedule against Maryland on Saturday.

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Penn State at Rutgers

Where: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland

Kick-off: Saturday, December 12 at 12 PM ET

Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy with a 10% chance of rain, 6 mph winds

TV: BTN with Joe Beninati (play-by-play), James Laurinaitis (color), and Coley Harvey (sideline)

Stream: FOX Sports App

Radio: RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network (WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, XM 384) with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Eric LeGrand, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli (sideline).

Current Spread: Maryland -7.5

Series History: Maryland leads 9-6; last season Maryland defeated Rutgers 48-7.

SB Nation Maryland site: Testudo Times

Statistical Leaders

Rutgers

Passing: Noah Vedral - 128-for-203, 63.1%, 1,217 yards, 9 touchdowns, 8 interceptions

Rushing: Isaih Pacheco - 394 yards on 91 carries, 4.3 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Bo Melton - 37 catches for 512 yards, 13.8 ypc, 6 touchdowns

Defense: Olakunle Fatukasi - 91 tackles, Mohamed Toure - 3 sacks, Toure, Tre Avery, Brendon White, Christian Izien - 1 interception

Maryland

Passing: Taulia Tagovailoa - 75-for-122, 61.5%, 1,011 yards, 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Rushing: Jake Funk - 336 yards on 43 carries, 7.8 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Dontay Demi’s Jr. - 23 catches for 342 yards, 14.9 ypc, 3 touchdowns

Defense: Chance Campbell - 42 tackles, Mosiah Nasili-Kite, Ruben Hyppolite II - 2 sacks, Kenny Bennett, Nick Cross - 1 interception

What to watch for

Rutgers will complete the daunting task of playing eight Big Ten games in eight weeks. This is a huge testament to Greg Schiano and the program at-large for navigating through tough times to stay on the field and play every week.

With that being said, the fatigue seemed to set in last week against Penn State.

Rutgers played by far it’s worst game of the season in the Week 7 loss to the Nittany Lions. The Scarlet Knights will look to turn it around against a Maryland team that has been a bit inconsistent this season.

When Rutgers has the ball

We have beat the dead horse all season about turnovers and penalties. That is a priority no matter how up or down any team is at any given time. Heading into Week 8, it is time to change the tone for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers rushed for 83 yards on 32 carries against Penn State for an average of 2.6 yards per carry. Noah Vedral totaled 56 of those yards on the ground. Isaih Pacheco finished with just four yards on five carries while Kay’Ron Adams led all backs with 26 yards on seven carries. This was the worst offensive game of the season for Rutgers and it was highlighted by their lack of a rushing attack.

In Week 8, the Scarlet Knights will have a chance to get the run game going. Maryland has allowed 228.8 yards on the ground in the four games they have played this season. This would open up more options for Rutgers in the passing game and take a bit of pressure off Vedral.

“Defensively they are multiple, are talented and can really run. Offensively, they have great skill,” Schiano said of Maryland. “They’ll operate out of three or four wide out sets. They have really good wide receivers. They have a stable of running backs but have one who averages close to seven yards per carry. He is an elite player, for sure.”

Bo Melton is expected to play in this game after taking a big hit in the loss to Penn State. The Scarlet Knights will have their full assortment of skill players ready for this game.

When Maryland has the ball

Schiano had great things to say about Tagovailoa and the job he has done for the Terrapins this season.

“The quarterback is dangerous both with his arm and his feet,” Schiano said. “When he went to the portal about how good he is. I can tell you he is real good. It seems to me he has very good control of their offense after not having a lot of time in the offfense. It’s a challenging team.”

Tagovailoa has been dynamic for Maryland all season. His inconsistency has been the issue. In win overs Minnesota and Penn State, Tagovailoa threw three touchdowns and completed an average of 72% of his passes. In both losses against Northwestern and Indiana, Tagovailoa finished with three interceptions.

Funk has been able to take pressure off Tagovailoa by dominating the run game. He is averaging nearly eight yards per carry which has helped steady the Terrapin offense.

Rutgers has not been able to generate much pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. They will need to stop the run and create a turnover or two in this contest. The Scarlet Knights have just four interceptions on the season but are near the top of the Big Ten in forced fumbles.

“These guys fight for four quarters,” Locksley said. “You’ve got to bring the mentality and match the intensity in which they’ll play with. It gives your team confidence. It helps a young team that typically plays kind of to the ups and downs of the game, the ebb and flow.”

Can Rutgers win this game?

This game is a maybe. Neither yes or no can be said when asked if the Scarlet Knights can win this game. There was positive feelings going into last week and they ended up being dominated in a 23-7 loss to Penn State. A win cannot be expected from either Rutgers or Maryland this season. It will simply come down to which team makes less mistakes.

Final thoughts

There has been just one game this season where Rutgers entered with no shot of winning. That was the Week 3 matchup against Ohio State. Even in home games against Indiana and Penn State, fans felt good about their chances heading in. This has not happened in years. That will not change in this matchup.

Despite being a touchdown underdog, the Scarlet Knights have a chance to win a game and fans have a chance to be optimists one more time.