Maryland was given a much-needed shot of confidence with a 48-7 blowout win over Rutgers last week. They hit the road again on Saturday for another conference opponent, as the Terps (3-2) face the Purdue Boilermakers (1-4) on Saturday (12 p.m.).
Here are four things to know for Saturday’s game
Both teams will be playing their backup QB
Tyrrell Pigrome will start at quarterback for the Terps on Saturday after Josh Jackson suffered a high-ankle sprain against Rutgers. Jackson has not been completely ruled out, but if he is not healthy enough to start, it seems doubtful he will be healthy enough to play.
There are still two reasons why Maryland fans should be optimistic. First, Pigrome is not your typical backup. This is not a guy with three career pass attempts suddenly being thrust into the lineup. Pigrome has 28 games worth of experience, 100 completions in 177 pass attempts and 14 total touchdowns.
Second, Purdue is in the exact same boat. Starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar underwent surgery to repair a broken clavicle on Sept. 30 and is out six-to-eight weeks. That means the reins to the offense have been taken from a fifth-year senior and given to redshirt freshman Jack Plummer.
In three games, Plummer has completed 49 of his 97 attempts for 545 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.
To make matters worse, Purdue will also be without star receiver Rondale Moore for the second straight week.
Expect Maryland’s offense to be run-heavy
OK, so this is true every week, but Pigrome changes the dynamic a bit. When Jackson is under center he is supposed to give the Terps more of a passing threat. Yes, he has been inconsistent at times this season, but there is no doubt that he is the better passer than Pigrome. With Pigrome in, the pretense of trying to force the pass to establish the run is essentially gone. Pigrome is a better runner than a passer giving the Terps one more rushing weapon, but if Pigrome ends up throwing the ball 25+ times because Purdue is stacking the box, that is ultimately not going to help Maryland. If they are going to win this game, they are just going to have to run over the Boilermakers' defense.
The good news for the Terps is that they may be able to do just that. They are going up against a Purdue defense that ranks 78th in the nation giving up 162.8 yards per game on the ground.
The Terps will need to establish some passing threat just to keep Purdue honest, but this matchup sets up well for Maryland’s offense even without Jackson.
Purdue has one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation
Out of 130 FBS teams, the Boilermakers rank 129th in rush yards per game with just 50.8. That makes Purdue the second-worst rushing offense in the nation.
Considering the Boilermakers are already coming into this game without their starting quarterback and star wide receiver and its offensive line gave up 10 sacks last week to Penn State, just how does Purdue intend to move the ball?
Purdue is going to look good
Even if this game sets up to be an ugly one for Purdue’s offense, they at least are going to look sharp with some awesome uniforms.
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