The third game of the B1G football season pairs Wisconsin with new-to-conference Maryland in its homecoming game.
Week 9, October 25: Homecoming against Maryland
Well, there is a first time for everything. Maryland, as with future opponent Rutgers, has never played Wisconsin on the football field. In fact, the last time Wisconsin even faced a team from the state of Maryland was a 48-13 victory over Navy in 1949.
The Badgers will actually get a sneak peek at Maryland after September 6 when they play mutual opponent South Florida. BoH already listed this as a potential trap game, and it will be if the Badgers cannot get the aerial offense to work under a solid quarterback. In 2013, Maryland was not weak against the run. The Terrapins started the year at 5-1, but its loss was 63-0 against future national Champion Florida State. Jameis Winston had nearly 400 yards. Maryland beat Virginia 27-26 the following game, but Wake Forest’s Tanner Price scored three times the next week and the defensive wheels started to fall off and the Terps lost five of seven.
I’ve liked Tanner McEvoy all offseason, but I’d almost prefer Joel Stave in this matchup, especially with his Ohio State performance to chew on and Gary Andersen’s call to spice things up. Even though the Badgers lost, Stave proved Wisconsin could pass when it wanted to.
Bad news will be the blitz. The Terps main defensive weapons will be Matt Robinson and Cole Farrand. Last season, the pair had 157 combined tackles, with 14.5 tackles-for-loss. Farrand’s numbers were solid for a linebacker, but Robinson will be more of a beast. The former DB bulked up nearly 30 pounds in the course of last season and could prove to be a challenge if Wisconsin has to rotate the offensive line.
Ladies and Gentlemen — Marcus Trotter. If there is any player who will want to introduce Maryland to Camp Randall, it will be the linebacker. I expect he will see an expanded role, or at least have the first few games serve as a a tryout for the Borland suite at inside linebacker. Should he get the main role, the upside against Maryland is huge. The Terps will trot out 6th-year C.J. Brown at quarterback, but have worthy backup Caleb Rowe to spell. Brown is like Curt Phillips with two less ACL injuries combined with former Oklahoma QB Blake Bell‘s running mentality. Pretty good when you need him, but try not to rely on him. If Trotter, or any other backer, sees this early the Terps will be in trouble.
Maryland had the No. 50 recruiting class of 2014. According to ESPN.com, the Terps biggest get was offensive tackle Damian Price, who declined offers from, among others, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Michigan and Ohio State. Price was one of five 4-star recruits by Maryland that included two “athletes” and a defensive end, but only Price has the real chance to take away the edge rush of the Badgers.
Home Field Advantage
This game is scheduled for a 11 a.m. CST start, which favors me when I roll out of bed in Michigan around noon. Maryland hosts its teams at Byrd Stadium, and might fill it up with around 50,000+ fans, a far cry from the 80,000 Camp Randall will definitely have by the second half.
Join us next week to see what might happen if Chris Christie lets the Badgers cross into New Jersey to take on Rutgers in Piscataway.