GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. TERRAPINS DEFENSE
Maryland had six sacks against Purdue and three against Penn State. With RT Jonah Pirsig (sprained ankle) out, the Gophers will have challenges protecting inexperienced QB Conor Rhoda. The Terps will try to take away Minnesota’s running game and go after Rhoda on third down. Advantage: Maryland
Emmit Carpenter (9-for-9 on FGs) gives the Gophers a kicking edge, but he and punter Ryan Santoso need to be careful not to set up Will Likely for long returns. Advantage: Gophers
PLAYER TO WATCH
Maryland senior Will Likely is a two-time All-Big Ten selection. The 5-7, 176-pounder has started at both cornerback and receiver and is an electrifying returner. Between kickoff returns, punt returns and interception returns, he has eight career touchdowns.
After going 3-9 last season, Maryland replaced Randy Edsall with Michigan D coordinator D.J. Durkin. Their four wins came against Howard (a 1-5 FCS team), Florida International (coach since fired), Central Florida (0-12 last season) and Purdue (Darrell Hazell is 3-23 in Big Ten).
GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. TERRAPINS OFFENSE
Maryland QB Perry Hills (above) left last week’s game with a right (throwing) shoulder injury but is expected to play. Last week, Penn State came in and held this offense to 270 yards, winning 38-14. Minnesota’s defense started clicking last week vs. Iowa. Advantage: Gophers
The Terps will have about 40,000 fans at 51,802-seat Maryland Stadium with pleasant fall weather. Not exactly hostile environs for Rhoda’s first career start. Advantage: Gophers
Minnesota will rediscover the running game, making Rhoda’s job easier, as the Gophers get a road win.