Indiana Daily Student

The Other Sideline: Get to know Maryland before its game against Indiana football

<p>Freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley scrambles for a run against Ohio State on Oct. 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana will play Maryland on Oct. 30 in College Park, Maryland.</p>

Freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley scrambles for a run against Ohio State on Oct. 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana will play Maryland on Oct. 30 in College Park, Maryland.

The Other Sideline is a weekly segment where the Indiana Daily Student interviews a student reporter from Indiana football’s weekend opponent. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Indiana football plays Maryland this week with a chance to rebound from a 54-7 blowout to Ohio State in which the fifth-string quarterback played significant snaps

Maryland is 4-3 this season but has only won one conference game and has yet to win a game in October. In its three losses, Maryland has been outscored 151-47.

Before the game, the Indiana Daily Student spoke to Jacob Richman, co-sports editor and football reporter at The Diamondback, to preview the matchup.

IDS: What has Maryland been doing to prepare to face an underperforming Indiana team?

Richman: Head coach Mike Locksley sees Indiana and Maryland in pretty similar junctures in a way. They’re two very banged up teams, and he doesn’t think Indiana’s record shows the whole story, they’ve played a lot of tough matchups so far.

Maryland’s big thing right now is making sure they don’t beat themselves because that’s been a big issue for them recently. Locksley talked about earlier today that given they don’t know who the quarterback is, they want to be prepared for everything. 

IDS: Both teams seem to be on similar trajectories. How is Maryland trying to correct their season?

Richman: It starts with not beating themselves. These past couple games, penalties have been a real killer. What we saw at the beginning of the season was them really dictating games, and they’ve been unable to do that lately. 

IDS: What is Maryland the best at?

Richman: It’s obviously the one that most people focus on: junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. He’s had quite a season. He’s been very consistent, he’s been flexible depending on how the pass rush is able to get to him and he’s been doing this all with two of his primary receivers out for the season.

Another I’d say is their interior defensive line has been really strong this year. Maryland returned two transfer players from last year, senior Ami Finau and junior Mosiah Nasili-Kite. They were doing really well. Senior Greg Rose came in and he’s been a big, big highlight for the defense. He’s turned into pretty much a full-blown starter.

IDS: What does Indiana need to do to pull off a win?

Richman: The first thing is causing turnovers. One thing that made the Iowa game impossible to handle was getting those turnovers and shorting the field for its offense. The Maryland defense is much more banged up than the offense is right now so being able to shorten the field will make it much easier.

In that vein, trying to exploit the defensive backs. It’s been a very injury-prone unit. Being able to exploit that group if Indiana can, trying to get one-on-one matchups and with the injuries, targeting the younger players that are out there right now.

IDS: If Maryland wins, what will it have done right?

Richman: It’s all about the offense as always. Against some better opponents it's been shown the defense can’t halt a game and win a game for the team. It’s going to come down to how well the offense is moving. During parts of the Minnesota game, they were calling a lot of rushing plays and weren’t able to get anything going. 

But when they started passing, it opened up a couple more lanes. Their first touchdown, the rushing touchdown, was wide open and that was really just created through consistent passing and making the Minnesota secondary respect what Tagovailoa was doing.

IDS: What will the final score be?

Richman: I’m thinking it’s going to be something in the realm of 27-17 to Maryland. I think the uncertainty around Indiana’s quarterback is going to give them an advantage they haven’t had.

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