Five predictions for Monday’s Maryland-Miami game at Byrd Stadium …
1. Maryland will surpass its rushing total from last year’s game against Miami.
The Terrapins managed 96 yards on 25 carries (just a bit less than four yards a rush) in last season’s loss to the Hurricanes. With three Miami defensive linemen among the nine players suspended as part of an NCAA investigation, it should open up some more possibilities for the Maryland ground game. And with that in mind …
2. Davin Meggett will set a career-high in rushing attempts.
The senior’s personal high for carries is 18. With D.J. Adams suspended and the Miami defense depleted not only on the line but also with Sean Spence and Ray-Ray Armstrong suspended, Meggett instantly will have a chance to fill the role of a “workhorse back” new coach Randy Edsall described in the preseason.
3. Miami will be just fine at quarterback.
Stephen Morris was a perfectly capable replacement for an injured Jacory Harris last year against Maryland, and he should turn in a solid enough day against the Terrapins this time around. Harris’ absence gets plenty of attention, but there is little (if any) drop-off between the two Hurricane quarterbacks.
4. Maryland will play at least three true freshmen in its opener.
Bank on seeing running back/kickoff returner Justus Pickett, defensive end Keith Bowers and fullback Tyler Cierski at some point during the night. What will be more curious is to see which (if any) freshmen are utilized heavily on special teams units. That could yield a few more true freshmen seeing the field.
5. Maryland will win by less than a touchdown.
Even though Miami is down nine players because of suspension and others because of injury, it still possesses plenty of talent and athleticism. Of course, a nearly full-strength Miami outfit barely squeaked out a win over Maryland at home last season. That game was played with entirely different coaching staffs, and this will be the unveiling of new schemes by both teams. Look for a game in the 20s, with the Terrapins winning their first game under Edsall and the Hurricanes acquitting themselves quite well considering the circumstances in Al Golden’s debut.