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If Maryland-Michigan game is on, hurricane changes game plan

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If Maryland-Michigan game is on, hurricane changes game plan

COLLEGE PARK -- Assuming that things remain on track and Saturday's game is played, despite the threat posed by Hurricane Joaquin, the torrential downpour expected in College Park and the rest of the region will undoubtedly change how the game between Maryland and Michigan is played.

Michigan has already shown a commitment to running the football, quarterback Jake Rudock is still working through early season turnover issues, and Maryland's defense hasn't shown the ability to consistently stop the run. All signs point to a lot of pounding the ball on the ground for the Wolverines.

"Even with the rain, they might not be able to throw as much," sophomore linebacker Jermaine Carter said. "The ball gets heavier, it gets wet so it may be a little more slippery so we can hopefully cause some turnovers.

"You've got to be ready. Get your helmet on the football."

But there is still caution. Iowa transfer Jake Rudock is more than capable as a passer, though he may be turnover-prone.

"With all that run, they'll run, run, run," defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski said, "then hit you with the play-action pass and we've got to be disciplined on the back end."

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND FACES QB BACK-TO-BACK UNDER UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES

Michigan’s staff has been coy about fully addressing the extent to which running back De’Veon Smith’s injury will affect his availability for Saturday, saying that he is “working through” it and “doing a nice job,” according to the Detroit News.

Smith is the key to the entire operation, leading the team in rushing with 331 yards on 69 attempts this season.

On the other side of the ball, turnover-prone quarterback Caleb Rowe will need to be particularly careful with the football in wet conditions against the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense.

“If, in fact, [the hurricane] hits, then we have to adjust our game plan and our thought process to protecting the football,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said on Wednesday. “Obviously, running the football, taking your shots when you can throw it and we’ll be prepared to do that.”

That would mean more weight falls on the shoulders of running backs Brandon Ross and Wes Brown.

Ross, who was made aware of the possible weather conditions on Wednesday, was Maryland’s lone bright spot on Saturday against West Virginia when he carried the ball 15 times for 130 yards.

In the past, though, he has had issues with ball security.

“Coach has always preached ball security in practice so nothing is really changing up too much,” Ross said. “We haven’t really changed up too much. Coach hasn’t really said much about it.” 

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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