COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland faces Bowling Green in the program’s second game of the season.
Here are 5 things you need to know to get you ready for kickoff at noon on Saturday.
1) Prepare for the spread
Like teams including West Virginia and Old Dominion last season, Bowling Green will roll out a high-powered, fast-paced spread offense on Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
Conditioning, communication, and secondary play will all be key. The positive for Maryland, though, is that the unit most put under pressure in the spread -- that secondary -- is probably the team’s strongest defensive unit.
Cornerback Will Likely has no problem being on an island. Fellow cornerback Sean Davis has great size and length. Safeties Anthony Nixon and A.J. Hendy are both veterans.
More from defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski here.
2) Second go for Perry Hills
Hills’ first start in three years brought mixed results. He missed a lot of targets and started 0-of-4 with an interception, but also hit his stride later and converted at a high clip on third down.
Now we’ll see what a second start brings. He’ll have the opportunity to lean on the running game (more on that below) and should have better timing with his wide receivers in game two.
The fear should be if Bowling Green stacks the box to stop the run. Can he step up and make the throws he needs to make when they dare him to beat them?
3) Can’t afford just field goals
Of Maryland’s first five drives against Richmond, the Terrapins reached the red zone four times. They came away with three field goals and a touchdown. That can’t happen against the fast-paced, point-scoring spread offense of Bowling Green.
Part of it will fall on Hills to make throws. Part of it will be on the wide receivers to get open. Part of it will be for the offensive line to get enough push to make a difference in the running game.
Read more on that here.
4) Thunder & Lightning & The Freshman
Bowling Green surrendered 399 yards on the ground to Tennessee last week. Yes, 399. On the ground alone.
That means good things for Brandon Ross (Lightning), Wes Brown (Thunder), and Ty Johnson (The Freshman) as they try to supplement what Hills does in the air. If Hills is unable to find his groove, like what happened against Richmond, expect Edsall & Co. to lean on the running game.
But as Brown reminded the media on Wednesday, "Just because I'm Thunder don't mean I'm slow."
5) Second game in a crucial stretch
The road to six wins for Maryland hinges in part on these first three games. Maryland has to take advantage of opening the season with three home games against non-Power 5 (including one non-FBS) opponents.
If they can come out of this 3-0, then they can begin to worry about the toss-up games against teams like Penn State and Michigan down the line.