One-sided Penn State-Maryland series to restart
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Geography sets the stage for Penn State and Maryland to develop a rivalry. But the annual results haven’t helped.
Penn State has won 35 of 37 games against Maryland; the Lions lost to the Terps in 1961 and tied them in 1989.
The teams play Saturday for the first time since 1993, when Penn State (4-3, 1-3) joined the Big Ten. The Terrapins (5-3, 2-2) joined the conference this season, renewing the series.
Terps coach Randy Edsall said it will take a few Maryland victories to turn it into an actual rivalry.
“You have to win games and that’s one thing that we haven’t done here at the University of Maryland,” said Edsall, a York, Pennsylvania, native whose Terps had won five straight road games prior to losing 52-7 at Wisconsin last week.
“We will get the chance to play them now on a yearly basis and what we have to do is continue to get better,” he said.
Penn State coach James Franklin coached at Maryland from 2008-10 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in charge of quarterbacks.
“This is a Big Ten game for us,” he said. “There’s some regional perspective to it, the fact that we’re border states.”
But Penn State doesn’t look at it as a rivalry, he said.
“This is an opportunity to play a Big Ten football opponent, similar to Rutgers, similar to Ohio State,” he said.
Here are things to watch when the Lions take on the Terps:
THIS GUY’S EVERYWHERE: Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs has three 100-yard games this season, 26 straight games with at least one reception, 1,032 all-purpose yards this year and 3,840 in his career. He also leads the Big Ten in kick return average at 25.2 yards.
ON TARGET: Australian-born kicker Brad Craddock is 12 of 12 on field goals this season for Maryland and has converted 18 straight, good for the second-longest streak in the nation and third-longest in Big Ten history. He also has kicked a 57-yard field goal.
USING THE DEPTH CHART: Penn State’s Franklin said freshman defensive back Troy Apke will come off his redshirt and play special teams in November and also will be worked in on defense. He switched from wide receiver to safety in the preseason.
ROTATION, ROTATION, ROTATION: Penn State last week lost two fifth-year senior players for the season. Tailback Zach Zwinak injured his lower left leg during a double-overtime loss to Ohio State. Safety Ryan Keiser broke a rib in practice and it evolved into multiple surgeries for a torn bowel. Left tackle Donovan Smith was shaken up late in the OSU game and did not return. If he cannot play against Maryland, right tackle Andrew Nelson would switch to left tackle, center Angelo Mangiro, who played three positions against Ohio State, would move to right tackle, and Wendy Laurent would be the center. It’s possible injured guard Miles Dieffenbach (knee) could see some playing time. Penn State’s rushing offense is ranked last in the Big Ten and quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been sacked 25 times.
NUMBERS THAT MATTER: Penn State’s Mike Hull leads the conference with nearly 12 tackles per game and 83 overall. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown paces the Terps’ ground game with 376 yards. ... Penn State is on a three-game losing streak — all conference games — but is third nationally in rushing defense (83.4), seventh in total defense (284.7) and ninth in scoring defense (17.4). Maryland is No. 88 nationally in total yardage and 95th in rushing yardage.