Wisconsin looks to keep rolling while Maryland looking to define their 2017 team

Written by Garin Turner


Maryland (3-3, 1-2 BIG) travels to Madison, Wisconsin looking to spoil any College Playoff hopes the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (6-0, 3-1) have in another Big Ten matchup. The game is on FOX at 11 AM CST.  Last week, the Badgers held off Purdue 17-9. Maryland lost at home last week to Northwestern 37-21.

Third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager is coming off a career-high three touchdown game and 255 yards passing. It’s the most passing yards by a Terrapin quarterback since Caleb Rowe passed for 297 yards against USF in 2015. In his three starts this year, Bortenshlager hasn’t thrown an interception. That marks the longest span in conference play since 2009. On the year Bortenschlager has 561 yards passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions that came in backup duty.

Maryland will want to keep Wisconsin and their running attack off the field in this game. They can take a lot of pressure off the quarterback with a solid running game of their own. Ty Johnson has 68 carries on the year for 488 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also a threat in the return game. Against the Ohio Buckeyes, Johnson had his first career kick return touchdown going 100 yards.

When Maryland does go to the air, they’ll look for DJ Moore. Moore leads the Big Ten Conference having caught a pass in 27 straight games. During this streak, Moore has caught a pass from seven different quarterbacks. The streak is the longest for a Maryland player since Torrey Smith finished his career with a 30-game streak back in 2008-10. On the year, Moore has 44 receptions for 624 yards and seven touchdowns.

For the Badgers, they’re looking to win what would be their 25th game out of 29. They’ll need to cut down on the turnovers in this one after quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw two interceptions last week against Purdue. Hornibrook has 1,120 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.

Wisconsin relies on the running game to set up the pass and Jonathan Taylor leads that rushing attack. Taylor, a freshman, has 127 carries for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. Taylor leads all FBS freshmen in both rushing and total touchdowns. If Taylor gets 14 yards rushing against Maryland, he will match the FBS record for fewest games needed for a freshman to reach 1,000 yards rushing at seven. The company he’d join are Florida’s Emmitt Smith (1987), Marshall Faulk out of San Diego State (1991), Adrian Peterson out of Oklahoma (2004), North Texas running back Jamario Thomas (2004), and finally Wisconsin’s own P.J. Hill (2006).

Maryland has shown improvement this year under second-year head coach D.J. Durkin. A win here would do a lot for the program. A loss for Wisconsin would drop them in the rankings and might be hard for them at this point to get back into contention for that coveted top-four spot to be in the College Football Playoff.

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