There are probably too many people picking Northwestern to win in its first-ever game against Maryland. Then again, it’s more fun to be optimistic than pessimistic.
Tristan Jung: Northwestern 24, Maryland 14
Maryland has just had too many injuries to keep up with Northwestern. For once, it’s a good matchup for Northwestern’s offensive line and the Wildcats have to play a good game at some point, right? Right? Please?!
Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 27, Maryland 21
Maryland's pass-rush isn't anything special, so I see Northwestern having some semblance of competence on the offensive line. I have no idea how the defense will do without Godwin Igwebuike or Paddy Fisher — who might be the team's best two defenders— but the improved pass-rush will help keep the unit steady. Justin Jackson runs wild on his record-setting day, and Pat Fitzgerald gets his team back on track in a close game. It won't be easy, though.
Noah Coffman: Northwestern 28, Maryland 27
I’m aware that this is entirely too many people picking Northwestern, but I don’t see Maryland’s league-worst scoring defense (by a full touchdown!) being able to stop both Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson, especially with a pass rush that has gone from mediocre to outright bad with the loss of of Jesse Aniebonam. With only one front seven member, linebacker Jermaine Carter, for the Wildcats to fixate on, I think Northwestern will finally break through offensively, and the defense will do just enough in the first half for Paddy Fisher and Godwin Igwebuike to right the ship and hold on down the stretch.
Will Ragatz: Northwestern 31, Maryland 23
I’ve got a feeling Northwestern’s offense is going to look a lot better against the country’s No. 65 defense (per S&P+) than it did against the Nos. 8 and 9 defenses of the past two weeks. Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson will get back to looking like their old selves, and expect a return to the end zone for Bennett Skowronek. Regarding the first half defensive suspensions, a healthy Nathan Fox isn’t a huge drop off from Paddy Fisher and I’m not too worried about either Max Bortenschlager or Caleb Henderson in the passing game. Ty Johnson is going to make plays for Maryland, but Northwestern will pick up its first conference win of the season in College Park.
Davis Rich: Maryland 24, Northwestern 21
A mid-afternoon road game combined with the loss of Paddy Fisher and Godwin Igwebuike could spell a slow start for Northwestern especially on the defensive side. That’s probably not going to mean 28 first half points for Maryland given its problems at quarterback, but I expect the Terps to take a lead into halftime. The Maryland defense has allowed a ton of points this season, but S&P+ ranks the unit at 65th in the country, meaning the 41.2 points per game surrendered by the Terps isn’t necessarily indicative of their true talent. Justin Jackson breaks the all-time rushing record and finishes with over 100 yards on the ground, but a late interception means a third consecutive loss for Northwestern.
Talia Hendel: Northwestern 27, Maryland 24
Maryland’s runningback Ty Johnson is definitely putting up impressive rushing stats, but the Terp’s being forced to use their third-string quarterback certainly lessens the passing threat. That being said, the defense missing Paddy Fisher and Godwin Igwebuike for the first half, and Trae Williams sidelined with an injury, the previously well-performing squad will be much thinner than usual. However, Maryland’s defense is rather mediocre, and Justin Jackson should be able to take this opportunity to get back to his usual, impressive, rushing yards. This combination of uncertain factors will likely lead to a close game no matter what.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 24, Maryland 10
Whether it's banged up third-string Max Bortenschlager as the signal caller or redshirt junior Caleb Henderson, the Wildcats' defense was a bright spot in losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. The Terps managed just 66 yards of total offense last week against Ohio State. They'll turn to the running back duo of Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison III to shoulder the workload, but the Wildcats just held Saquon Barkley to his lowest yards from scrimmage total of the season. I don’t see Maryland putting up very points.