The Maryland Terrapins experienced last year what they have experienced far too many times over the past 10 years. If you have studied this program, you know that injuries to quarterbacks have been improbably common for the Terrapins. It is one of the most luckless developments in major college football. No school at the FBS level has had worse fortunes with quarterback injuries than Maryland. Everyone in college football will tell you that. The Terps’ ability to exceed their regular season win total in 2018 will depend in part on their ability to stay healthy under center.
Maryland 2018 regular season win total
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
The same thing which has happened in previous years happened last year. Maryland has lost multiple quarterbacks to injuries in several seasons over the past decade. The Terrapins simply haven’t been able to put their best and most talented quarterback on the field for a full season – not very often, at any rate. Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome both were knocked out for extended periods of time. It is hard to evaluate Maryland as a program when it is forced to play a third-string quarterback for most of its games. The Terps were able to beat Minnesota and Indiana, but they lost to Rutgers and were blown out by several other Big Ten opponents. Maryland – before the injuries at quarterback – was able to score 51 points in a season-opening upset win at Texas. Imagine what could have happened had the Terps carried their best quarterbacks through the season. As it was, Maryland gradually lost ground as October moved into November. The offense simply didn’t have the talent needed to get opposing defenses off balance.
What Will Change This Year
Hill and Pigrome both suffered ACL injuries and are rehabbing from them right now. Max Bortenschlager played in a lot of games last year as a result of the injuries to Hill and Pigrome, but he is likely to slide back to his No. 3 spot on the depth chart when the other two quarterbacks return. Hill is viewed to be the odds-on favorite to get the starting job in Week 1 if he is fully recovered.
Receiver D.J. Moore is now in the NFL, which will pose fresh challenges for the Terps’ passing game. That will be another difficult reality to deal with.
The change which could be very positive for the Terps in 2018 is that their new offensive coordinator is Matt Canada, who was never embraced by LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and was pushed out. Canada transformed Pittsburgh’s offense before coming to LSU. He enabled Pitt to have one of the most exciting and explosive offenses in the ACC. Canada, working with healthy quarterbacks, could give Maryland the offensive formula it is looking for.
Outlook & Prediction
The Terps are in the Big Ten East, which means that they play six games against the East every year, and three games against the Big Ten West. The three Big Ten West games are against Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. That is a great schedule. Maryland should be able to beat Illinois and Minnesota. Assuming Maryland can do that, it should also be able to take care of Rutgers and get three Big Ten wins. If the Terps can do that, they have non-conference games against Bowling Green and Temple which are very winnable. Ultimately, the games against Temple and also against Indiana, another Big Ten East opponent, will determine if Maryland gets over its win total. If Maryland can split those games, it should hit the over. With Matt Canada’s arrival at offensive coordinator, the Terps should be able to get the job done if injuries aren’t again a monster. Take the over.
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