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Maryland opened as a 4-point home underdog before the news of Miami’s suspensions came down. After learning eight Hurricanes were banned, including quarterback Jacory Harris and Sean Spence, oddsmakers moved Maryland to a 4-point favorite. The total is down to 46.5 after opening at around 48.
Backed by a balanced offense, Miami put up 421 yards and 26.2 points per game last season. The Hurricanes averaged 5.8 yards per play despite a completion percentage of 53. With the quarterback situation still up in the air, the ‘Canes will pound the running game again this season. They averaged 182.5 yards per game on the ground last season, piling up five yards per rushing play. Two areas they’ll look to improve this season are red zone efficiency and discipline. They scored 76 percent of the time inside the 20 last year and were whistled for 72 penalty yards per game.
With Danny O’Brien taking the snaps last season, the Terrapins piled up 32.2 points per game. O’Brien was efficient, firing for more than 2,400 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Terps averaged 7.3 yards per pass and completed around 57 percent of their attempts, while allowing 22 sacks on the season. Maryland’s running game put up about 138 yards per game, averaging 4.1 yards per attempt.
Last year’s Hurricanes gave up just 150 yards per game through the air – good for third in the nation – while also tying for sixth overall with 21 interceptions. Miami also did a great job getting after the quarterback with 37 sacks last season (14th in FBS). That helped this unit allow 342 yards and 22.4 points per game, while holding its opposition to fewer than five yards per play on the year. The Hurricanes really buckled down on third down, allowing offenses to convert only 35 percent of those attempts.
Maryland stuffed the run last season, allowing only 3.6 yards per rush and 134 yards per game on the ground. That helped them yield only 23.8 points per game (377 yards). The Terps finished last season with 28 sacks and 19 interceptions, while averaging two takeaways per contest. Maryland’s opposition scored only 74 percent of the time when they entered the red zone
Maryland hit 77.8 percent of its field goal attempts last season (47th in FBS) and was 48th in the nation averaging 41.7 yards per punt. The Terps really struggled with kickoff returns, managing just 18.3 yards, but were much better returning punts. They averaged 16.9 yards per punt return, which ranked them third in the nation.
Miami’s punt return game was terrible at 4.5 yards per return, though the kickoff return numbers were a bit better at 19.7 yards per attempt. The Hurricanes converted 76.5 percent of their field goals, but attempted just 17 on the year while also missing three extra point tries. They averaged 44 yards per punt (41.4 yards net).
Word on the street
"We're not really focusing who's going to play there, who's not. It's going to be the same scheme. They're going to be athletic. They're going to be fast. They're going to be aggressive. They have playmakers." – Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien on facing the shorthanded Hurricanes.
"We're playing a lot of freshmen under the lights in a big setting. …Ultimately, you've got to cut the cord and let them go do it." – Hurricanes coach Al Golden.