The Maryland Terrapins could be without two of their top players Saturday when it welcomes the Michigan State Spartans for a Big Ten contest on Saturday. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and receiver Rakim Jarrett will be game-time decisions for the Terrapins and head coach Mike Locksley.
“We’ll see what happens on game day, but I think both are progressing nicely,” Locksley told the media. “We’ll have to make a decision as we move closer to the end of the week.” Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, has lit up opposing defenses for 275.5 pass yards per game.
The Spartans have to get their defense straightened out before the season spirals out of control. Scottie Hazelton’s unit has given up more than 30 points and 500 yards in back-to-back losses to Washington and Minnesota.
“Are we super far away? No,” Hazelton told the media of his defense, which ranks 53rd against the run and 101st against the pass among 131 FBS teams. ”Do we have little things that are adding up that are making us seem far away? Sure. And those are the things we really got to tighten up.”
Jacoby Windmon, a senior defensive lineman, has been the Spartans’ top player on defense, ranking first in the FBS in forced fumbles (five) and sacks (5.5). Windmon claimed back-to-back Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards earlier this season.
If Tagovailoa can’t go, Locksley would hand the reins to freshman Billy Edwards Jr., who has thrown all of 13 passes, completing nine for a pair of touchdowns. The offense can absorb the loss of Jarrett, who is one of six receivers with 10 or more catches while giving a bigger workload to running backs Roman Hemby and Antwain Littleton II.
Hemby, a freshman, ranks ninth in the nation and fourth in the Big Ten in yards per rush (7.12) and 39th in the nation in rushing yards per game (85.5). Littleton, another freshman, has made the most of his 20 carries, going for 147 yards and five scores. Receivers Jeshaun Jones and Jacob Copeland, who have combined for 23 receptions for 374 yards and four touchdowns, and tight end Corey Dyches would have to pick up the slack if Jarrett is out. Hemby is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Michigan State Spartans
Protecting the football needs to be first and foremost on the minds of the Spartans if they want to avoid a third straight defeat. The offense, led by quarterback Payton Thorne, has moved the ball reasonably well, averaging 382.8 yards of offense (85th in the FBS), but they have committed eight turnovers. Thorne, who had 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2021, already has six picks and a fumble this season against seven touchdown passes.
The running game doesn’t have a monster back like Kenneth Walker, but the duo of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard have been solid enough, gaining 428 yards and scoring six touchdowns on 85 attempts. The Terrapins can be had both on the ground and through the air, as Michigan State Spartans demonstrated in a 34-27 victory last week. The Spartans need to maintain their offensive versatility by not falling in a big hole early, as was the case against Washington and Minnesota.
Michigan State vs Maryland Injury Report
Neither team has provided an updated injury report.
Spartans vs Terrapins Head-to-Head
The Spartans hold a 10-2 advantage in the series against the Terrapins, including wins in four straight and six of the last seven games. The Spartans are 3-1 at Maryland.
Thorne threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan State’s 40-21 victory over Maryland last season. Tagovailoa had 350 yards and two touchdowns for the Terps.
Spartans vs Terrapins Game Information
- Game: Spartans vs Terrapins
- Location: SECU Stadium, College Park, MD
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Spartans vs Terrapins Live Stream: ESPN
Take a Look at These Special Articles For This NCAAF Season
- Colorado vs Arizona Prediction, Preview, Stream, Odds & Picks
- Indiana vs Nebraska Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds & Picks
Spartans vs Terrapins Betting Lines
Spartans vs Terrapins Prediction
If the Maryland quarterback is held out, take the Spartans on the money line (+260).