Maryland and Rutgers have identical 5-6 records overall and are 2-6 in Big Ten play. The winner will clinch a bowl berth while the loser is likely done. What does our staff think will happen on Saturday? Our contributors make their predictions here.
Art Stein (9-2): Well, it all comes down to this. One team (Rutgers) with good defense and a challenged offense and the other (Maryland) with a good offense and a challenged defense. This game is a toss-up as determined by the people who determine such things. But my belief is that Rutgers has some decided advantages going into this game. The colder the weather, the more the elements favor the run game. Can you say, Johnny Langan? I also expect to see some type of Gavin Wimsatt package which also hopefully will help jumpstart the offense. Maryland is prone to penalties and mistakes which I think speaks to coaching where the feeling here is that the Scarlet Knights also have the advantage. The game is home which normally has not helped Rutgers, but this week it will. Rutgers 28 Maryland 24
Cara Sanfilippo: I have not predicted the last two games but I would have been 50/50. I didn’t think we would beat Indiana and I decided not to make another with my heart not my head prediction with Penn State. I’ve been thinking a lot about this game and Art is correct. Rutgers and Maryland are sort of foils to each other. Here is what I think and what I would have said had I been able to talk about clean football and the Schiano signature team as I hoped this week. Rutgers, without some key mistakes, and any semblance of offense, could have at least made it closer with Penn State. Penn State has had its issues this year, but they are a good, strong team. Rutgers defense kept their scoring low (ish) despite being on the field practically the whole game. You can not do that, and expect them not to gas out eventually, despite having built some depth. Maryland’s defense, as mentioned above, is not Penn State’s defense, so I do believe we will be able to score some points. Wimsatt, according to Schiano, could potentially be used because if we are losing, a bowl game won’t be an option to burn a redshirt. This is a well-coached team, and I believe they want to end their bowl famine badly. The home-field advantage has been non-existent but I am hoping we can be the 12th man this time and bring this team a much-deserved victory. I am predicting a slogfest until the end, but I believe Rutgers can pull through. Rutgers 21 Maryland 17
Dave White (5-6): Thankful for everyone here and a long weekend. Rutgers 27 Maryland 7
Chris Banker (6-0): It can be categorized as coach speak for much of the season, but Saturday’s tilt at SHI Stadium against Maryland can truly and accurately be referred to as a “one-game season”. Rutgers, impressively, can end the six-year bowl drought in just the second season of Greg Schiano’s second stint in Piscataway. To me, the outcome of this game will be closely tied to the relative health of Rutgers’ playmakers — Olakunle Fatukasi, Noah Vedral, Patrice Rene, Matt Alaimo included. Some of these guys will be out, some will likely play through season-long ailments. Maryland brings a good offense, but as a whole has been exposed against superior competition in recent weeks, much like the Scarlet Knights have this season. I expect another tight game between these two teams, with a late field goal making the difference. This time, it’ll go Rutgers’ way and there will be more football to play this season. Rutgers 24 Maryland 21
Greg Patuto (8-3): We have seen predictions all season where victories for Rutgers have been attempted to be spoken into existence. If that happens this week, it is less far-fetched. The game is in Piscataway and a mediocre Maryland team is coming to town in a win-and-in game for bowl qualification. Both teams have it all on the line. Maryland’s defense leaves much to be desired but so does the offense for Rutgers. Something will have to give in this one. At the end of the day, give me the quarterback play. Rutgers still needs to prove it. Maryland 24 Rutgers 20
Sean McGrath (3-4): Maryland has a lot more speed and talent and this type of quarterback always seems to give Schiano problems. The key to this game is limiting the big plays when on defense. On offense, they need to immediately establish the run game. The Maryland defensive line is not very good. It’s crucial that RU runs the ball like they did against Illinois and Indiana. Maryland might have the talent but we have the better coaching. Hopefully we get a decent crowd and enjoy our first home BIG win in 4 years and bowl eligibility. If I was a betting man I would take the Terps which means RU will win. Rutgers 21 Maryland 17
B Vincent P (7-3): Late entry. I see this game as a slug fest, not of a championship heavy weight bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but more of an bar room brawl that only the locals will be watching just before last call. This will come down to the RU defense against the UM offense lead by Taulia Tangovailoa. The RU defense has played well enough to win, including last week against PSU, but as been noted all year long the RU Offense has been less than impressive lead by QB Noah Vedral. The offensive line gave Vedral time last week, though starting field position was on average in inside you own 20. He needs to step up and embrace the the moment in what should be his last game as the starting QB for RU, unless they make a bowl game. You cannot win games on heart alone. I am pulling for Noah to have the best game of his life. Game time temperature will be 43 degrees, with sunny skies. The RU women’s Soccer team advanced to the final 4, which I expect the Schiano to harness that energy to motivate the team. Yes, the Women’s Soccer team can motivate a men’s football team! Winning is contagious and Schiano will leverage every opportunity to generating the power of belief that this “Ain’t the same old RU Athletic program.” This game is close until mid 4th quarter. I am getting ready now to load up the truck, pick up the catering, and head to the stadium by 8:30am to tailgate. I predict we will go 2-0 today by winning the tailgate and the game. Rutgers 27. Maryland 17.
Aaron Breitman (7-4): The stage is set for Rutgers to end the regular season on a high note. That being said I’m concerned for a few reasons. Taulia Tagovailoa is the type of quarterback that traditionally gives Rutgers fits. They were lucky to avoid him last season and slowing him down shouldn’t be a given. Is the RU offense really going to be able to score enough points to win this game? The key to everything is forcing the Terps into sloppy play with turnovers and penalties, which they are prone to do. I also think Greg Schiano is a far superior coach to Mike Locksley. This really is as close to a 50/50 game as you can get, but I’m going with Rutgers to end the win drought at home and clinch a bowl berth for the first time since 2014. Rutgers 23 Maryland 21
What did you think of our picks and what are your thoughts on the regular season finale? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.