What: Wisconsin Badgers (7-2, 4-1) @ Maryland Terrapins (2-6, 0-4)
Where: Byrd Stadium (College Park, MD)
When: November 7, 2:30 PM CT
TV: BTN/BTN2GO
Radio: Badger Sports Network
Odds: Badgers -11.0

The Badgers come off a 48-10 beatdown of Rutgers behind running back Corey Clement’s three-touchdown performance in his return back after missing the previous seven games. They’ll head to College Park, MD to take on the 2-6 Maryland Terrapins, who have had a distracting and unfortunate season to say the least.

On October 11, Maryland fired head coach Randy Edsall after heavy speculation he would be let go. Interim head coach Mike Locksley. Maryland’s only wins this season have come against the Richmond and South Florida, but they have lost by 16 or more points in four of the past five weeks.

The Terrapins, as you can tell from their record, struggle in many facets of the game. Nothing stands out more than their turnover differential of -16, which is the worst in the country. But, Maryland does run the ball well, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with their dual-threat quarterback Perry Hills and starting running back Brandon Ross. Let’s take a look at the injury report and the keys to the game for the Badgers.

Injury Report

Wisconsin

RB Corey Clement (soreness) – OUT
DE Arthur Goldberg (ankle) – PROBABLE
RB Taiwan Deal (ankle) – PROBABLE
LB Chris Orr (leg) – DOUBTFUL
WR Robert Wheelwright (leg) – OUT

Maryland

DL Kingsley Opara (shoulder) – QUESTIONABLE
WR Levern Jacobs (knee) – QUESTIONABLE
OL Damian Prince (ankle) – DOUBTFUL

Wisconsin: Keys to Victory

  1. Time to get the Wisconsin rush attack identity back. We saw a sneak peak of what the Badgers season could’ve been like (mainly a closer game against Alabama and a win over Iowa) when Clement returned last week. But, Clement has been ruled out against Maryland. This week, according to Paul Chryst, power back Taiwan Deal will return from an ankle injury as well, giving the Badgers two of their three main running backs. Deal and Dare Ogunbowale will lead the rushing attack, with Alec Ingold possibly getting goal line and short yardage carries.
  2. Containing Hills. Since taking over as the starter, Maryland’s quarterback Perry Hills has thrown for 738 yards, seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. But, more importantly, Hills has been great with the ball in his hands, rushing 81 times for 517 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. From watching the tape, Hills reminds me of a poor-man’s professional Johnny Manziel, meaning that he has incredible wheels, but makes some questionable throws. His 10 interceptions to seven touchdown passes prove that, but the Badgers will really need to keep their eyes on Hills. Maryland will also hope their best wide receiver, Levern Jacobs, can go, although he’s been dealing with a knee sprain. For the Badgers, without inside linebacker Chris Orr, Jack Cichy will need to have another impressive game in effort to stop Hills from making any big plays. Look for Vince Biegel, Joe Schobert, and even Michael Caputo to spy on Hills as well, as the Badgers will use a similar gameplan as they did in stopping Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong, Jr. Additionally, getting back defensive end Arthur Goldberg should help the Badgers contain Hills.
  3. Protect Stave. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave had a pretty good return last week against Rutgers, but he did throw a pick-six on an awful throw. Much of Stave’s success derives from a strong offensive line, which also looked rather sharp last week. Marz-Kapoi-Deiter-Williams-Benzschawel will need to protect Stave again this week, especially because of Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue, who is third in the country in sacks with 10.5. If the Badgers can block Ngakoue and give Stave time in the pocket, the Badgers should have no problem bringing a balanced attack into College Park on Saturday.
  4. Will Likely. The Maryland cornerback and return specialist promised on Friday that the Terrapins will beat the Badgers on Saturday. The 5’7″ junior has two punt return touchdowns and one kick return touchdown, with averages of 19.1 and 25.5 respectively. He’s one of the top return men in the nation, and the Badgers will need to contain Likely as he can impact a game significantly on special teams.

Prediction

The Badgers truthfully should have no trouble against Maryland this weekend. With Clement back, Wisconsin has a revamped offense. Their #1 defense should force some turnovers and limit the Terrapins from doing much as long as they can stop Hills. I think the Badgers go up big early, and then Maryland scores a few garbage time points.

Wisconsin 35, Maryland 13