The Purdue Boilermakers are starting to get desperate for a win as they get set to host the Maryland Terrapins this weekend. Game time is at noon EST on Saturday, October 12 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
According to the Week 7 college football odds, Maryland is a 4-point favorite on the road over Purdue. The game also has an over/under of 56.5 points.
Purdue has gone to a bowl game under Jeff Brohm the past two seasons, but the 2019 campaign has turned into a nightmare. It began with a surprising loss to Nevada. After the Boilermakers notched a win over Vanderbilt, they have gone into a tailspin, losing consecutive games to TCU, Maryland, and Penn State. Along the way, starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar has missed time due to a concussion and is now sidelined with a broken clavicle that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
At 1-4, the Boilermakers need to win five of their last seven games to salvage the season and reach a bowl game. With road games left against Iowa and Wisconsin, who are both top-20 teams, every other game on Purdue’s schedule is considered a must-win. That means a loss to Maryland this weekend could spell doom for the Boilermakers in 2019.
Maryland has endured similar ups and downs. The Terps began the season with a pair of convincing wins over Howard and Syracuse, only to lose to Temple and get blown out by Penn State. Maryland was able to get back on track last week with a lopsided win over Rutgers. However, they have also lost starting quarterback Josh Jackson to injury, throwing a wrench into their plans.
Sitting at 3-2, the Terrapins are in good shape to reach a bowl game in Mike Locksley’s first season as the full-time head coach. But with games against Michigan and Ohio State still on the schedule, Maryland doesn’t have much margin for error. The path to a bowl game will get incredibly narrow if the Terrapins lose on Saturday.
This will be just the third all-time meeting between Purdue and Maryland. The Terrapins have won both games, a bowl game in 2006 and a 50-7 blowout win in College Park in 2016. However, this will be the first visit to West Lafayette for the Terps.
This figures to be an interesting matchup with both teams being forced to play their backup quarterback. Unfortunately for Purdue, their problems run deeper than an injured quarterback. The Terrapins also have a more experienced backup quarterback in Tyrrell Pigrome, who should be capable of leading Maryland to a road win. I’ll eat the points and lean toward the Terps to cover.
With Sindelar sidelined, backup Jack Plummer has been a disaster for the Boilermakers. The freshman should get better with more experience. He’s also had the misfortune of facing three teams that are a combined 13-2 on the season. But that doesn’t change how ugly things have been for Plummer, who is barely completing 50% of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He also took 10 sacks in last week’s game against Penn State. The kicker is that wide receiver Rondale Moore, one of the most dynamic playmakers in the Big Ten, is out with an injury, depriving the Boilermakers of their best playmaker.
If you take away the 59-0 disaster that was the Penn State game, the Maryland defense has played well this year. Even in their loss to Temple, they only gave up 20 points. They’ve held up well against the run, which isn’t even a strength of the Boilermakers, who’s leading rusher is gaining just 3.3 yards per carry. Against a team with no running game and a freshman quarterback, the Maryland defense has a chance to dominate this game.
On the other side of the ball, Pigrome has actually played in every game this season and has seen the field in each of the last four seasons. His passing numbers during his career are a little uneven. But Pigrome is a strong runner, which complements the strengths of the Maryland offense. The Terrapins have a strong rushing attack behind Anthony McFarland, who averages over five yards per carry. Maryland also uses utilizes Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis, so they can throw multiple backs at teams to help make up for a passing attack that’s lacking at times.
In fairness, Purdue has been good against the run at times this season. But they’ve also been gashed on the ground against teams like Penn State and TCU. Good running teams can usually wear down the Boilermakers and create explosive plays, which is why I worry that Purdue won’t be able to contain the Maryland rushing attack for four quarters.
Ultimately, I’m not expecting the Purdue offense to score many points. I also think the Terps will find success in the running game sooner or later. This may not be another blowout win for Maryland, but I think they’ll get some separation and be able to cover the 4-point spread.