Who: Maryland (2-0) vs. Connecticut (0-1).
When: Saturday, 7:34 p.m.
Where: Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
DMV radio: WTEM (980 AM), WJZ (105.7 FM).
Satellite radio: Sirius channel 136, XM channel 190.
Coaches: Terps – Randy Edsall (Third season, 8-18). Huskies – Paul Pasqualoni (Third season – 10-15)
Series: Third meeting, second in two seasons. Series tied 1-1.
All eyes will be on Coach Randy Edsall’s return to Connecticut, the school he left to come to Maryland, but the Terrapins have something much more important and relevant at stake. With a win, they would move to 3-0 for the first time since 2001 and avenge a three-point loss to Connecticut at home last season. The Huskies, on the other hand, will try to rebound from a crushing season-opening loss to Football Championship Subdivision visitor Towson, a defeat that seemingly turned the vitriol away from Edsall and onto the current regime.
1) Will the magic continue? For the first time in program history, Maryland has notched consecutive 40-point games to open the season. C.J. Brown has exceeded expectations. Stefon Diggs has met them. Deon Long and Brandon Ross have, over the first two weeks respectively, shown bursts of brilliance. Granted, those performances came against Florida International (probably one of the worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision) and Old Dominion (a program transitioning from FCS to FBS). Given its struggles against Towson, Connecticut might not provide the stiffest test either. But given who’s wearing a headset on the opposite sideline, the Huskies should be more motivated than their sluggish loss to the Tigers.
2) Can the running game impose its will? Towson running back Terrance West abused Connecticut for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, but accounted for just six runs of at least six yards. The Tigers controlled the clock and wore down the Huskies, but Maryland might have more big-play potential with Ross and Albert Reid in the backfield. Connecticut, like most future opponents, will have to key on someone in this diverse Terps offense. If it’s Brown in the read-option, like Old Dominion did, look for Ross and Reid to have big days. If not, Maryland will bank on Brown to carry the ground load again.
3) What reception will Edsall receive? Edsall expects boos. His players expect boos. But to the Terps, boos are just noise, and noise can be quieted. Maryland wants to take Connecticut’s crowd out of the game. Connecticut’s beat writers have speculated all week about the reception Edsall will receive, with some going as far as to predict that, with a particularly lopsided loss, Huskies fans would actually begin to clamor for Pasqualoni’s ousting and fondly recall the days when Edsall ran the program.
97.3: C.J. Brown’s raw QBR, a quarterback statistic devised by ESPN, which ranks third among Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks.
1,162: Total yards through two games for the Terps this season.
1,126: Total yards through four games for the Terps last season.
“He’s said that’s probably going to happen. He just tells us we need to 3-0. A lot of us felt bad that we lost last year, just because they weren’t better than us and we let one get away. That’s more of a motivation than him getting back up there. I definitely feel like he wants to beat them, but I really think he’s approaching it as another game. He hasn’t hinted to us it’s any different, so we won’t approach it any differently.” – Maryland linebacker Matt Robinson.
“Anytime you lose, you prefer to jump right back and play again just to erase the loss. Then you have to live through a whole ‘nother week of losing. It just drags it out. But we’re alright. We got some things corrected. Every year is different. You never know how kids will handle it. They’re kids. You have to teach them how to handle it. That’s the key.” – Connecticut offensive coordinator T.J. Weist.
THE SONG OF SATURDAY
“Come Back Home” by Suburban Legends.
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