COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Ty Johnson will look to join some select company when Maryland celebrates homecoming Saturday in a Big Ten game against visiting Rutgers. The senior needs 65 yards to become the fourth player to amass 4,000 career all-purpose yards for the Terrapins, who have split four games with the Scarlet Knights since becoming conference foes in 2014.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Maryland -25.5
Johnson, who can join Torrey Smith, LaMont Jordan and Stefon Diggs in the 4,000-yard club, and backfield mates Anthony McFarland and Tayon Fleet-Davis, could be primed for a big day against one of the worst rushing defenses in the country. The trio has racked up 839 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground while giving the Terrapins three different players with a 100-yard game in the same season for the first time since 1984. The Scarlet Knights have dropped five straight games and have allowed 229 rushing yards per game overall, which ranks 117 out of 130 teams in the FBS. The offense, which is run by freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski, hasn't been much better as it has failed to crack 17 points in six straight conference games dating back to a 31-24 victory over the Terrapins last season at home.
ABOUT RUTGERS (1-5, 0-3 Big Ten)
After having senior Giovanni Rescigno come on in relief of Sitkowski in three straight games, the Scarlet Knights and coach Chris Ash have stuck with the 6-5, 224-pound New Jersey native in the last two games to mixed results. Sitkowski had career-highs in completions (29), attempts (46) and yards (267) in last week's loss to Illinois, but also threw three interceptions for the third time this season and has 11 picks overall. Raheem Blackshear has been the top weapon as he is first in rushing yards and third in receiving yards but will be going against one of the better run defenses in the FBS.
ABOUT MARYLAND (3-2, 1-1)
The Terrapins don't have much choice but to run the ball on average 40.5 times per game as the passing attack has been anemic, particularly in their two defeats. Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill has had his moments, especially in wins against No. 14 Texas and Minnesota, but all told the Terrapins have 638 passing yards, which is better than only six teams in the FBS -- none from a Power Five conference. "There will be a game - I don't have any doubt in my mind - when we throw for a whole bunch of yards and we don't run for many," interim coach Matt Canada told the media. "I have great faith in our wideouts, great faith in our quarterbacks and great faith in our pass protection."
1. Maryland hasn't had three players rush for 100 yards in the same game since Richard Jennings, Steve Atkins and Jamie Franklin did so in 1975.
2. Jonathan Hilliman, who played four seasons at Boston College, has a team-leading five rushing touchdowns this season for Rutgers to give him 31 for his career, which ranks eighth among active career leaders in the FBS.
3. The Terrapins, who lead the series 7-6, have won seven straight games when leading at halftime.
PREDICTION: Maryland 44, Rutgers 16
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