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College football predictions: No. 43 Maryland Terrapins

Things were pretty good for the 2021 Maryland Terrapin football team in the beginning (4-0 start) and end (outscoring Rutgers and Virginia Tech, 94-26, in the final two) of the season.

Maryland had the fourth-ranked recruiting class among Big Ten programs in 2021, and the No. 7 class among conference teams in 2022. Now’s a good time for that influx of aptitude to help the Terrapins turn things around.

College football predictions: No. 43 Maryland Terrapins
Dustin Satloff / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The needs on the defensive side of the ball are evident. Maryland was 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams in total defense, ranking 13th in both scoring defense and passing defense.

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has eight 300-yard passing games in the 17 games he’s played at Maryland. However, Maryland is 0-6 and has been outscored, 286-84, against ranked opponents over the last two seasons. That’s a trend that has to change.

Maryland failed to cover seven games in a row before beating Rutgers, 40-16, as two-point favorites in the regular-season final game. Then, a 44-point win as a bowl-game underdog against Virginia Tech. Four of the last five games finished over.

Maryland has seen its odds to win the Big Ten title increase from +10000 to +15000 over the last month, per the sportsbook.

According to the college football picks, the expected regular-season win total at College Park is 6, with the odds at -125 of the Terrapins as an under proposition.

Maryland Terrapins

  • 2021 record: 7-6
  • 2021 conference record: 3-6
  • Head coach: Mike Locksley
  • Odds to win conference title: +15000

Talk about the 2022 Maryland team will begin with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. He did throw for 3860 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore. There were nine touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in the six losing efforts, compared to 17 TDs and one pick in the seven wins by the Terps. Consistency will be a point of emphasis.

Rakim Jarrett leading the Terrapins with 62 catches and 829 receiving yards. He and Dontay Demus (28 catches in six games) will continue to be on the receiving end of passes from Tagovailoa.

Spencer Anderson, Johari Branch, Delmar Glaze, Aric Harris and Mason Lunsford return to the offensive line. They were the starters when the Terrapins put up 54 points on Virginia Tech in the final game, and their cohesion could help move the college football lines in Maryland’s favor in 2022.

Maryland finished second in the Big Ten, 211 plays from scrimmage of at least 10 yards and 78 plays of 20 yards or more in 2021. Maryland surrendered 36 scrimmage plays of 30 yards or more. the most among Big Ten teams.

Defensive lineman Mosiah Nasili-Kite (37 tackles, four sacks in 2021) and defensive back Jakorian Bennett (24 tackles, three interceptions, 13 passes defended) are among the Terrapins named to preseason All-Big Ten teams.

However, the transfer portal was not friendly. The Terrapins saw 27 players leave the program, compared to just six arrivals from other schools.

Perhaps the biggest Byrd Stadium addition is former Florida receiver Jacob Copeland. He averaged nearly 16 yards on his 86 career catches for the Gators. Copeland is coming off a career-best 41 catches in 2021. Maybe he’ll help to fill the void left by the transfers of Brian Cobbs, Darryl Jones and Carlos Carriere. They were three of the seven Maryland players who had more than 20 catches a season ago.

Maryland imported some players who can help on the D-line. Defensive end Quashon Fuller had eight tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack a season ago at Florida State. Henry Chibueze, a 350-pound defensive tackle, had 18 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and two sacks at Liberty. Former Eastern Michigan kicker Chad Ryland is another incoming transfer. This after Maryland kickers missed seven field goals and five extra points last season.

Linebackers Terrence Lewis and Branden Jennings, and defensive lineman Darrell Jackson are the highest-rated outgoing transfers.

Maryland’s two leading tacklers (Jordan Mosley and Nick Cross) are off to the NFL. Ruben Hyppolite and Tarheeb Still are the top returnees on defense.

2022 Outlook

The Terrapins offered a glimpse with a 54-10 bowl win over Virginia Tech. Whether that momentum carries over to this season remains to be seen.

Opening the season against Buffalo and Charlotte (combined 9-15 last season) should give the Terps a chance to gain some confidence early in the season. Then, it’s Southern Methodist before the Big Ten opener at Michigan.

Maryland faces the three teams favored to win the Big Ten title (Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin). Two of those games are on the road, as is a tough test against Penn State.

This could be when the Terrapins hang with the elite teams in the conference. Maryland will definitely get the opportunity to show how far it has come as a program.

2022 Schedule

  • Sept. 3 vs Buffalo
  • Sept. 10 at Charlotte
  • Sept. 17 vs Southern Methodist
  • Sept. 24 at Michigan
  • Oct. 1 vs Michigan State
  • Oct. 8 vs Purdue
  • Oct. 15 at Indiana
  • Oct. 22 vs Northwestern
  • Nov. 5 at Wisconsin
  • Nov. 12 at Penn State
  • Nov. 19 vs Ohio State
  • Nov. 26 vs Rutgers

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