This is a difficult game to figure out. The Nittany Lions looked listless and unimpressive last week against Rutgers, almost as if they were content with whatever bowl sent along an invitation. The Terrapins have lost their last two games by a total of three points despite 1,077 yards of total offense.
Which team has more to play for? Yes, the Lions want to give their seniors, particularly Trace McSorley, a victory in their final game in Beaver Stadium, and that would keep them alive for a New Year's Six bowl. The Terps still are one win short of bowl eligibility while continuing to play in memory of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, whose death in June, two weeks after he collapsed during a team workout, plunged the program into turmoil.
The rushing attacks of both teams will be a key factor. Maryland ranks 17th in the nation in that department, and redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland has amassed 508 yards on the ground in his last two games. The Lions rush defense was not sharp last week, allowing Rutgers 188 yards. Penn State had difficulty at times last week running the football, with Miles Sanders averaging less than four yards per carry. The Lions have to put together some time-consuming drives and convert third downs to keep the ball away from McFarland. Plus they must avoid turnovers – the Terps are plus-8 in turnover margin and are tied for the FBS lead with 18 interceptions.
This game will be closer than most expect but the Nittany Lions should hang on for a win, 34-27.