I’m a little late with it this week, but the triumvirate of authors at Testudo Times is here to answer my questions about the Terrapins in advance of tomorrow's homecoming game. Lila Bromberg, Cody Wilcox, and Sean Montiel collaborated to answer my questions about Maryland.
1. Maryland has been really up and down all season. What is closer to the truth: The team that blew out Syracuse or the one that got blasted by Penn State?
Definitely somewhere in between, but probably closer to Penn State. More and more, Maryland’s win over then-No.22 Syracuse is looking less meaningful. After two large wins, the Terps were brought back down to earth by Temple and Penn State. Maryland’s offensive line could not keep starting quarterback Josh Jackson upright all night, which is a problem that the team has been dealing with all year. Injuries haven’t helped the Terps either, forcing less experienced offensive linemen into the starting lineup. So far this season, Maryland has allowed 16 sacks for a total loss of 100 yards. The Terps’ offense thrives on rhythm and if the team cannot get this issue fixed then Maryland will have to rely on its defense.
2. Both teams are playing backup QBs this week. Tyrrell Pigrome even has experience against Purdue from 3 years ago. What should we expect from him?
Mike Locksley maintains that the offense this week will be very similar to what it was with Josh Jackson under center. In that case, look for a lot of RPOs and quick passes from Pigrome, who has been praised for his decision-making ability. I wouldn’t expect to see many deep balls -- not that there were many with Jackson at the helm -- and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery will likely not ask Pigrome to do too much in his first start of the season. The Terps’ offensive line is coming back to full health, but if Purdue can find a way to rush the passer effectively on Saturday, look for Pigrome to take off and run if a lane opens up.
3. Both teams have struggled against the pass and are the two worst passing defenses in the conference. With Jack Plummer being more of a passer does Purdue have a small advantage?
Not necessarily, given that Plummer hasn’t looked that great and his best receiver is out. He’s already been sacked 14 times and thrown four interceptions at a 50.9 completion percentage and 30.9 QBR rating, so I wouldn’t say that gives Purdue an advantage. Maryland’s defense looks bad statistically because of Penn State, but it’s been able to force at least one interception in all but one game this season and has 15 sacks on the season, which should slow Plummer down.
4. The last time these two teams met Maryland ran for 400+ yards. How do you feel the RPO game will work on Saturday?
With Tyrrell Pigrome starting at quarterback due to Josh Jackson’s injury, one can expect the RPO offense to be more fluid. Pigrome is more elusive and uses his legs more than Jackson. Against Temple and Penn State, Jackson struggled to make decisions, which is crucial in the RPO offense. Pigrome should offer as a boost of energy for the offense and his legs will be utilized by head coach Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery. The Terps probably won’t have 400+ rushing yards on Saturday, but look for Pigrome to keep the ball a lot on the option.
5. Since this is the first full year of Mike Locksley how do you feel it is going?
Through the first couple games of the season, all seemed positive. Everyone within the team is really high on him and there’s a palpable culture change for the better and you can tell the guys on this team will play their hearts out for him already. But the 59-0 loss to Penn State definitely upset the fan base, from what we can tell based on our audience, and hopes for the season have diminished a fair amount as the team has been really up and down.
6. What is your prediction for Saturday?
Lila: 42-28, Maryland
Cody: Maryland: 35, Purdue: 21 -- Tyrrell Pigrome has three total touchdowns en route to the win.
Sean: Maryland 35, Purdue 31