Penn State football vs. Maryland preview

Penn State football will look to get in the win column this week as it hosts Maryland on Saturday afternoon. After a rocky start to the season, this is a great Week 3 draw. If Penn State wants to make anything out of this year, a winning streak must start this week, and history gives you the indication that that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

If you’re a Maryland fan, don’t read this. Maryland has not scored a touchdown on Penn State in three seasons and has lost the last five meetings. To put it lightly, the Terps have been Penn State’s little brother over the past century. The Nittany Lions hold a commanding 40-2-1 all-time record against their Big Ten wannabe rival. I don’t think this is going to be a 59-0 blowout like last year, but I’m still anticipating a comfortable Penn State win.

Here are some things to watch during the game.


Over its past five meetings with Maryland, Penn State has averaged over 46 points per game. In its first two games, Maryland’s defense hasn’t looked promising, either. It let up 43 and 44 points to Northwestern and Minnesota respectfully. No disrespect to those two teams, but Penn State is more talented in all areas.

Penn State’s offense hasn’t looked great, but it has shown some promising signs in its two losses. It has averaged 30 points a game and has found some guys it can count on to make big plays when needed. I knew it’d take a little bit for the offense to get rolling because of the inexperience at different skill positions, but this is the week you see them look fluent and consistently move the ball down the field.

With Jahan Dotson emerging as one of the best wide receivers in the conference, Sean Clifford should have it easy spreading the ball around. With defenses now having to concentrate heavily on him, that should open up more of a running game than we’ve seen so far, as well as get better looks through the air for Pat Freiermuth and Parker Washington.

Freshman wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith will make his first career start on Saturday. Through two games with limited reps, Lambert-Smith has caught four passes for a total of 43 yards. Not eye-opening numbers by any means, but to get the nod to start as a true freshman should tell you what the coaches see in him. Hopefully offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and Clifford can get him involved early.


Like it does to everyone, Ohio State picked apart Penn State’s defense last week. The good news is that Taulia Tagovailoa is not half of what Justin Fields is, so the defense should be prepared. I’m not saying Tagovailoa isn’t good, but Penn State has seen better. In his first career start after transferring from Alabama, Tagovailoa threw for just 94 yards along with three interceptions as the offense was shutout by Northwestern. In the win against Minnesota, however, he came to life tossing three touchdown passes on top of 394 yards through the air.

Brent Pry’s defense has to create pressure and force turnovers this week. Penn State has a 2:4 turnover ratio through two weeks and that has to change. Oh, and by the way, Lamont Wade is responsible for both of those turnovers. Someone else needs to step up and make a big play. Although it’s not a big sample size, allowing 37 points per game isn’t going to get you very far. For the first time since 2016, the Terps score a touchdown against Penn State football, but the defense will settle in and be better than what we’ve seen so far.

Game info

Date: Nov. 7
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Penn State -25
Over/Under: 64

Prediction: Penn State 41, Maryland 20

Hot take: Freiermuth has two receiving touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics