Game Preview: Maryland at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- It's Senior Day at Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights could back into a bowl game with a victory over Maryland and a 5-7 finish. Head coach Kyle Flood needs the win Saturday to keep the hopes of a fourth straight bowl game alive and to send his seniors out on a high note.



Maryland (2-9. 0-7) vs. Rutgers (4-7, 1-6)

Time – Noon, High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.

TV/Radio – Big Ten Network, 1450 AM WCTC, 710 AM WOR

Series – Maryland leads 6-5

Last meeting – Nov. 29, 2014, Rutgers won 41-38

Coaches: Rutgers – Kyle Flood (4th season, 27-23); Maryland – Interim coach Mike Locksley (4th season 2-31, 1st at Maryland, 0-5)

Storyline Central

Goodbye to a Great – When you look at the numbers, Leonte Carroo is one of the all-time Rutgers greats, and Saturday is the final chance to see him perform at High Point Solutions Stadium. Carroo holds the school’s all-time record in receiving touchdowns. He ties Brandon Coleman and Marco Battaglia for the single-season record with a touchdown against Maryland. His first touch from scrimmage went for a touchdown in each of the last two seasons. Injuries and suspensions kept him from a complete season, but he plans to make it count against Maryland.

Back Into a Bowl – The chances are slim, but Rutgers is not officially out of the bowl conversation. A victory plus the solid APR standing keeps Rutgers in technical contention for a 13th game (Bahamas Bowl anyone?). Flood made his own interests in a bowl game clear, but the question is – will the administration agree and push for a postseason after a fall full of negative headlines? Early signs point to yes.

Flood Returns Home – Flood speaks with confidence in public but the silence of the Rutgers administration and boos from the fans against Nebraska speak loudly. Whether it is a message of support or a message of change, president Robert Barchi and athletic director Julie Hermann will have to say something after the final home game of the 2015 season. Flood is 14-9 in four seasons at home but, he is 1-3 this season.


Matchup to Watch

Rutgers LBs Steve Longa & Quentin Gause vs Maryland RB Brandon Ross

Maryland spreads out its opponents well, and Rutgers does not have a good recent history in stopping the run against similar offenses. Ross comes off an electric 250-yard game against another struggling defense, Indiana, and represents a serious threat to the Scarlet Knights. Ross leads the Terps with 807 yards from scrimmage and a team-high seven touchdowns.

Scarlet Knights win if …

They Want it – Does Rutgers buy in when it comes to Senior Day and an outside shot at a bowl game or does Rutgers simply want a tumultuous season to end? The healthy players showed motivation and hunger against Army. That needs to return tomorrow.

Terrapins Win if …

Start Hot  – Maryland plenty of talent but can be streaky when it comes to big runs. If Maryland hits early, the confidence will be up for a finish. If the Terps fall behind, the winless team in Big Ten play may simply pack it in.




Impact Player

WR Leonte Carroo – With records in his crosshairs and one final chance at home, you know Carroo will give it everything he has. Carroo is far from 100 percent after ankle and hip injuries in the last month. But like Carroo said on Monday, recovery time is for after the season ends.

Something to Prove

QB Chris Laviano – This is Laviano’s final opportunity to show something before an offseason destined for more quarterback drama and competition. Laviano enters the Maryland game with a 3-7 record as a starter and 1,903 yards on a 61 percent passing clip. He has 12 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Looking to Build

DT Kevin Wilkins – Wilkins is one of the most improved players from first- to second-half of the Rutgers season. The backup nose tackle disrupted plays at the line of scrimmage for two straight weeks. He also showed a nose for the football that cannot be taught. Wilkins picked off a screen against Nebraska. He followed it up against Army with a blocked field goal.

Freshman to Watch

WR Dontae Owens – Does the true freshman get in after he sat against Army for injury reasons? The decision to play Owens looks like the wrong one with almost no on-field action since he debuted in game eight against Michigan, but one solid game to build on against Maryland would take out some of the sting. 

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