Each week during Big Ten play, the Washington Post's Roman Stubbs, another Maryland football beat writer and I share our predictions for the Terps' upcoming game.
This week's rotating writer is Aaron Kasinitz from The Diamondback, Maryland's independent student newspaper.
Here are out predictions for Saturday's game between Maryland (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) and Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1) in Madison, Wis.
Matt Zenitz Wisconsin 34, Maryland 23
I think Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown will have some success as a runner against a Wisconsin defense that plays primarily man coverage and likes to blitz, according to Terps players and coaches. I also think Maryland's wide receivers are better than Wisconsin's cornerbacks despite the Badgers' pass defense being ranked first in the Big Ten. The primary reasons I am picking Wisconsin are 1) I think Maryland's offensive line could have problems in pass protection against one of the top pass rushes in the Big Ten; and 2) Slowing down Melvin Gordon and Wisconsin's running game is easier said than done.
Maryland's defense made great strides against Iowa last week but will have an elevated challenge Saturday against Wisconsin's vaunted rushing attack. Wisconsin looks beatable, but behind an offensive line that averages 321 pounds and running back Melvin Gordon (7.9 yards per carry), the Badgers should be able to control the ball. I don't think Maryland will be affected by Camp Randall Stadium – it's a veteran team that has played in huge venues before – but it must find a way to contain the run and create offensive opportunities for C.J. Brown and the offense. If it can do that and sustain offensive drives, Maryland will be in position to win.
The Terps certainly could trot into Camp Randall Stadium a bit before noon and limp out several hours later with a demoralizing loss. But I think C.J. Brown will find success on the ground and the Terps will produce a big play on special teams to hang around before Melvin Gordon and the Badgers' huge offensive line ultimately wear down Brian Stewart's defense and pull out a slim victory.