Maryland has already faced several of the nation's top defensive playmakers whose names are dotting midseason watch lists for honors such as the Bednarik Award or the Lombardi Award. Ohio State's Joey Bosa bullied the Terps offensive line on Oct. 10, while Penn State's Carl Nassib did the same two weeks later. There was Iowa's Nate Meier and an assortment of talented Michigan linemen.
So this weekend, Wisconsin's Joe Schobert is the latest challenge for Maryland. Schobert, who was once a high school prospect without a Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offer, ranks fourth nationally in tackles for loss (14 1/2) and forced fumbles (four) and sixth in sacks (9 1/2). An outside linebacker who can line up on either side of the formation or as a defensive end, Schobert is the lynchpin of the nation's top-ranked scoring defense.
"He's a hybrid guy that can play both defensive end or stand up and rush from the boundary," interim coach Mike Locksley said Tuesday. "Typically what that does is they're going create five one-on-one blocks up front. He's a relentless pass rusher who plays with great effort, great leverage. I can't say enough good things about the guy. He's a really, really good football player, and because of the type of schemes they run on the defensive end, they try to create the one-on-one matchup, and obviously, he's won a bunch of those one-on-one matchups throughout the course of this season."
Left tackle Michael Dunn and right tackle Derwin Gray, who will be making his first career start, will have the unenviable task of keeping Schobert out on the edge.
Maryland has had mixed results with some of the Big Ten Conference's top pass rushers. Bosa had only one tackle (a sack) against the Terps, but he constantly pressured quarterback Perry Hills, and the Buckeyes defense still sacked Hills four times. Nassib had four tackles and two sacks in Penn State's win over Maryland. Meier was active and had seven tackles and a sack last weekend.