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Path to a Nebraska Victory is on the Ground
Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo

Path to a Nebraska Victory is on the Ground

November 18, 2016

Nebraska and Maryland face off on the gridiorn for the first time in history on Saturday. That means there are a fair amount of unknowns on both sides of the ball. Beyond that, both the Huskers and the Terrapins have an unknown at their quarterback positions. Needless to say, it could be interesting for both programs on Saturday.

To understand the Terrapins better, we reached out to Ryan Connors of SB Nation’s Testudo Times to get a better understanding of what the Huskers will face against Maryland.

Q: How can Nebraska beat Maryland?

RC: By exploiting Maryland’s weak passing game and run defense. The Terps haven’t been able to get their air attack, which mostly features short screen passes, moving consistently in Big Ten play. Offensive coordinator Walt Bell is installing his exciting brand of fast-paced offense here at Maryland, but that’s still a work in progress. Maryland’s offense often goes stagnant for long periods, especially against top defenses. Maryland’s run defense has been one of the worst in the country by any margin, and there isn’t much hope for that to change. The team has lost some key contributors in the secondary, but the front seven is the same one that gave up 414 rushing yards to Indiana.

Q: How can Maryland beat Nebraska?

RC: It’ll be a tough ask of the Terps, but the first thing that has to happen is Maryland getting its rushing attack back on track. Even without suspended freshman Lorenzo Harrison, the team has talented athletes in Ty Johnson, Wes Brown and Kenneth Goins. Johnson is a home-run threat, while Brown is more of a steady back, though we haven’t seen him much this season. Goins mostly stays in his role as a short-yardage back, and he’s been effective in that role. Maryland will need all three to have a chance at beating the Huskers.

Q: How are Maryland fans feeling about DJ Durkin as he nears the end of his first regular season?

RC: There’s a generally positive sentiment around Durkin’s first year as head coach here, though that’s waned a little in the wake of blowouts to Michigan and Ohio State in which the Terps lost by a combined score of 121-6. He’s hauling in the best recruiting class in program history in his first year at the helm, and that’ll buy him enough goodwill to last until this team improves.

Q: If Hills can’t go at quarterback, does the Maryland offense change under Rowe or Pigrome?

RC: It does. Hills is the team’s most accurate passer and possesses the best balance of throwing and running, and the team will be at a disadvantage if he’s not out there. Rowe provides a big arm, but he’s turnover prone. With him, you can expect the Terps’ offense to stretch the field a little more. Pigrome’s a threat with his legs, and there’s a chance we see him in a packaged role even if he doesn’t start. The key for either quarterback will just be to calmly string together short completions, something neither has done consistently so far.

Q: The Terrapin is clearly one of the best mascots in the Big Ten, but if you had to pick the second best, what’s your pick?

RC: Hmm. This is a tough one. I think I’ll have to go with Lil’ Red, if he counts. I’m a sucker for inflatable mascots who can dance, so he just gets me.

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