Michigan State Football: Staff score predictions vs. Maryland in Week 10

Rocky Lombardi, Michigan State football (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rocky Lombardi, Michigan State football (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Michigan State football and Maryland will face off on Saturday afternoon with a bowl berth on the line for each. Which side will come out on top?

Michigan State and Maryland are both sitting at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the division with both teams having key victories and a disappointing loss. Maryland has an impressive victory over Texas but had a letdown loss at home versus Temple. Michigan State’s substandard home loss versus Northwestern doesn’t look as bad now with the Wildcats holding a two-victory lead in the Big Ten West division, but it was a game the Spartans should have won.

However, this game will be watched and view for other reasons due to the off the field drama surrounding the University of Maryland football program.

Earlier this week D.J. Durkin was back as the head coach of the Terps as announced at a press conference by the University of Maryland. However, quickly after the announcement of his return, he was relieved of his duties as the head coach after the public backlash.  No one knows the mindset of the Maryland football players and many are unaware if the off the field issues will have an impact on the play of the Terps as they host the Spartans this Saturday. Which team will win this Big Ten East matchup? Once again, who really knows, but we will see as the two teams face off at noon on Saturday.

On paper, this game looks like a good matchup for the Spartans defense. Maryland ranks last in the Big Ten in passing which defending the pass has been one of the Achilles heels of the Michigan State defense. Maryland’s strength on offense is their rushing attack which ranks 2nd in the Big Ten but Spartan defense’s strength is their rush defense which has been stellar in stopping opposing teams rushing attack.

Michigan State’s offense and special teams will have some advantages and disadvantages versus the Terps. An oddity of Maryland’s special teams is that they ranked dead last in the Big Ten in field goal attempts with only 5 but they rank first in kickoff return yardage. On defense, Maryland is once again opposites as they rank first in the Big Ten in interceptions but tied for last in the Big Ten in total sacks.

In terms of personal, Maryland’s defense is led by senior linebacker Tre Watson. Junior defensive lineman Byron Cowart and senior lineman Jesse Aniebonam help anchor the front seven for the Terps and senior defensive back Darnell Savage Jr. holds down the back four for Maryland.

On offense, the red-shirt freshman Kasim Hill is the quarterback for Maryland and he likes to hand the ball off to another freshman in running back Anthony McFarland as well as senior running back Ty Johnson. Maryland does not have much production at the receiver positions that Hill has to throw to but if there is one it is senior Taivon Jacobs.

This is a once again, a must-see game for all Spartan fans wearing the green and white and now here are the picks.

Connor Muldowney: Maryland is a hot mess right now, to say the least. The Terrapins just reinstated and then fired head coach DJ Durkin within a 24-hour span and there are rumors of turmoil in the locker room. That doesn’t mean Maryland will be any easier to take down. Sure, they’ll be distracted, but the Terrapins are also one win away from bowl eligibility. They’ll put up a good fight, but Rocky Lombardi has his second strong performance and LJ Scott reaches that elusive 100-yard mark. Don’t look now, but the Spartans are bowl eligible after a tumultuous start.

Final Score: Michigan State 31, Maryland 20

Ryan Kay: Excluding the injuries to the offensive line, this may be the game where we see more players who were injured see the field in comparison to recent weeks. The other expectation being that Brian Lewerke will more than likely not play, however, the possible returns of Josiah Scott, Josh Butler, and Cody White should get the green and white faithful excited for the showdown against the Terps. Even with Lewerke not playing Rocky Lombardi played well against Purdue and looks to continue his success on the road leading the Spartans offense.

As I wrote last week, I had anticipated the Spartans to split between Purdue and Maryland. However, there is a very strong possibility that Michigan State is 6-3 after this game heading for a showdown with Ohio State.

Maryland is a good matchup for the Spartans and the turmoil and chaos surrounding the football program this week cannot be an advantage for the Terps heading into this game. I feel confident that Michigan State can win this game on the road and continue to build momentum.

Final Score: Michigan State 24, Maryland 14

Stephen Robb: Maryland runs the ball and MSU’s speciality is stopping it. While the Terrapins have had an emotional week that may lead them to play inspired football Saturday it will not be enough. Four times this year the Terrapins have thrown for less than a 100 yards. MSU wins this game.

Final Score: Michigan State 28, Maryland 10

Justin Thind: Maryland might’ve had a bunch of distractions in the week leading up to the game, but beating them still won’t be an easy task. However, Maryland has yet to resemble the form they showed against Texas early in the year. MSU’s defense will give the Spartans every chance to win this football game, like every other week.

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Assuming Brian Lewerke is held out of action again, the new-and-improved Rocky Lombardi-led MSU offense should be able to score enough on Maryland to get the win. Lombardi will have another 300-yard passing game, this time with three touchdown passes and an interception. LJ Scott also gets his season-high in rush yards this game. MSU takes this one, making next week’s OSU game a top 25 matchup.

Final Score: Michigan State 31, Maryland 21