Despite its near-upset against Ohio State on Saturday, the oddsmakers aren’t giving Maryland much of a chance to finish its season with a win this weekend at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are 13 1/2-point favorites over Maryland in the regular-season finale for both teams this Saturday in Happy Valley. While Penn State is looking to earn a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowls, thanks largely to West Virginia’s upset loss against Oklahoma State, Maryland just wants to earn a chance to keep playing. The Terps (5-6 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) need one more win to clinch a bowl game after falling just short — or more specifically, a few feet wide — of a monumental win over the Buckeyes. Interim head coach Matt Canada opted to go for the win after scoring in overtime, but Tyrrell Pigrome’s two-point conversion pass missed freshman JeShaun Jones in the endzone, and the Terps took a heartbreaking 52-51 loss at Maryland Stadium.
It remains to be seen whether not they’ll be able to summon the physical and mental energy to give Penn State (8-3, 5-3) a game after such a dispiriting ending.
“The message is, nobody matters but us. They believed … They leaned on each other, they trusted each other, I’m just disappointed we didn’t win the game,” an exhausted Canada said Saturday. “I’m proud of them. That’s what I told them after the game. As a staff, we’re really proud of them. They played really hard. But we wish we would’ve won. That’s it.”
Maryland’s had a tough time against Penn State in the years since Randy Edsall knocked off the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley in 2014. Penn State’s won the three games since then by a combined 135-47 score, the low point coming in a 66-3 bloodbath in College Park last season. They’re not as potent as they have been the past couple of seasons, but they rank third in the Big Ten in scoring at 34.2 points per game and fourth in points allowed at 21.5. Quarterback Trace McSorley should be extra motivated, playing the final home game of his stories career.
Maryland, meantime, will be looking for freshman running back Anthony McFarland to build off a career day against Ohio State. He rushed for 298 yards, nine yards short of LaMont Jordan’s single-game school record, becoming the first Maryland freshman ever to surpass 1,000 rushing yards and earning conference freshman of the week honors for the first time.
“It’s gonna be a pretty significant week ,” Franklin said. “This senior class has got a chance to really do some great things and end the season on a positive note.
“It’s gonna be an emotional day for me … We’ve gotta make sure to play well against a pretty good opponent coming to our house.”