Michigan vs. Maryland Breakdown and Prediction

The game rolls on. Despite the inclement weather, Michigan will visit College Park on Saturday at noon rather than 8pm, as originally scheduled. Here is my weekly breakdown and prediction for the game.

The Michigan offense looked great last week in a 31-0 victory over BYU. Things looked shaky in the first series as Jake Rudock did not notice a wide open receiver on the first play of the game, but got much better after that. Rudock went on to throw for 194 yards and a passing touchdown, while also running for two. Rudock will not be throwing the ball much in this game due to the weather. It will be very windy, and likely rainy, and I don’t expect the Wolverines to throw many passes. When the Wolverines do throw the ball, it will be dink and dunk passes, which is right in Rudock’s wheelhouse, he will take full advantage of the short passes and the check downs. It will be an efficient game for Rudock, he may not throw for many yards, but I would not expect many incompletions or turnovers.

Michigan is going to focus on running the rock in this one without a doubt. DeVeon Smith is allegedly healthy enough to play, and said he will play through soreness. Again, I expect more out of Drake Johnson as he continues to work his way back into a more prominent role after his knee injury last year. Ty Isaac and Derrick Green have been sprinkled in and out this season, but with a partially healthy Smith, and the fact that the Wolverines will likely run about 70% of their play, I expect both to play a considerable amount. I expect a heavy dose of Jake Butt in the passing game, and a lot of throws into the flats to running backs.

For Maryland, their offense has struggled. They average throwing an interception every 10 pass attempts, which is great news for the Michigan defense. It will be very tough for the Terps to get moving against this strong Michigan team. Maryland has only scored four rushing touchdowns this season and nine passing. The Terps quarterbacks have also thrown a combined 12 interceptions. It will be very difficult to score, and move the football against this strong defense, and the weather will make it much more difficult.

The Michigan defense is going to have a field day against Maryland tomorrow. They can almost expect run on most plays, and pile the box with linebackers to stop it. If Maryland does throw it? Well Michigan should intercept at least one if they throw it 10 times or more. Michigan has one of the best defenses in the country. The “E” word is getting tossed around quite a lot these days for this defense, and after this week it will be cemented in. This defense will prove on Saturday they have the elite status. Jabrill Peppers will walk away from the game with his first career interception, and the Michigan defense will force three total turnovers, and all three turnovers will lead to points.

The Maryland defense is going to benefit from the weather. With the weather being how it is, Maryland can also expect mostly runs. While Rudock has thrown interceptions this season, that is not typical of him. So the short passes might bend the Maryland defense, but likely won’t break them. The Maryland defense will need to focus on stopping the run, and hope Michigan doesn’t try a deep pass play. The key for the Maryland defense is to get off the field, if the Wolverines can get three to four yards per run, and five to six yards on short passes, they will wear down the Terps defense, and keep them on the field for long drawn out drives, much like Michigan had towards the end of the Oregon State game.

The Wolverines will score off of the three turnovers they create against the Maryland offense, but only one of them for a touchdown. The weather will play a major factor, and the Wolverines will be able to move the ball, but very slowly.

Final prediction: Michigan 20, Maryland 0
Michigan will have its second consecutive shutout of the season, and become number one in most of the national defensive categories.

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