BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After going through a week filled with drama and distractions that would test the mettle of a veteran NFL team, Maryland resumes pursuit of bowl eligibility when it visits Indiana on Saturday in a Big Ten game. The Terrapins are coming off a 24-3 loss to Michigan State, capping a week in which coach DJ Durkin was reinstated from a suspension stemming from the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair only to be fired the next day after pressure from inside the university and out.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Indiana -2.5
“There’s obviously been a lot of noise outside the walls of the football house,'' Maryland senior linebacker Jesse Aniebonam told reporters. "To me and to a lot of other guys, it’s been a normal week. We’re all trying to shift our focus on the right things. To us, that’s keeping it consistent.” The Terrapins, who finish with No. 7 Ohio State and at No. 20 Penn State, have alternated wins and losses after a season-opening 34-29 victory over No. 19 Texas. The Hoosiers have lost four straight after a 38-31 setback at Minnesota on Oct. 26 and must win two of their last three games to gain bowl eligibility for the third time in four seasons. The sight of fans leaving Memorial Stadium early during the 33-28 loss to Penn State on Oct. 20 still lingers with some Indiana players but coach Tom Allen told reporters: “To me it’s our responsibility to be able to put a team on that football field that plays for 60 minutes to a level where those fans don’t want to leave.''
ABOUT MARYLAND (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill (50.6 percent completion rate, 15 sacks) has thrown all nine of his touchdown passes in wins this season and his three interceptions during losses. Senior running back Ty Johnson (468 yards, three touchdowns), who is fourth in school history in all-purpose yards (4,140) and needs 375 to pass Steve Atkins (1975-78) for third, missed the Michigan State game with a calf injury after rushing for a total of 33 yards in his previous two contests. Senior linebacker Tre Watson and senior safety Darnell Savage Jr. have four interceptions apiece, tied for third in the country and combining for half of Maryland's nation-most 16.
ABOUT INDIANA (4-5, 1-5)
Running back Stevie Scott is second among true freshmen nationally in yardage (791), carries (159) and 100-yard games (three) while tied for fifth in touchdowns (seven). Scott's performance has complemented the performance of sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey (68.2 percent completion rate, 15 TDs, 10 interceptions this season), who has completed a respectable 65.4 percent of his passes with seven scores and five picks during the losing streak. The Hoosiers boast 10 receivers with at least 12 receptions while junior wide receiver Donavan Hale (28 receptions) has a team-leading five TD receptions.
1. Maryland boasts the best turnover differential in the Big Ten at plus-9, which is tied for eighth nationally while the Hoosiers lead the conference and are tied for eighth in the country with 20 turnovers gained.
2. Ramsey is on pace to break his own school standard for completion percentage after connecting on a record 65.4 percent of his passes last year.
3. The schools have split four meetings since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten in 2014 with Maryland prevailing 42-39 last season
PREDICTION: Indiana 31, Maryland 27
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