Penn State Football

Gameday breakdown: Maryland Terrapins (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) at Penn State Nittany Lions (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten)

Ohio State’s Isaiah Williams tries to pull down Penn State’s Saeed Blacknall as he runs with the ball during the Saturday, October 25, 2014 game at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State won in second overtime, 31-24.
Ohio State’s Isaiah Williams tries to pull down Penn State’s Saeed Blacknall as he runs with the ball during the Saturday, October 25, 2014 game at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State won in second overtime, 31-24. CDT photo

WHEN: Noon, Saturday

WHERE: Beaver Stadium

SERIES: Penn State leads, 35-1-1

LAST MEETING: Penn State won 70-7 on Oct. 2, 1993

COACHES: Maryland — Randy Edsall, 4th season, 18-27 (92-97, 16th overall); Penn State — James Franklin, first season, 4-3 (28-18, 4th overall)

TELEVISION: ESPN2 (commentators: Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway, Paul Carcaterra)

RADIO: WQWK 1450, WBUS 93.7 (announcers: Steve Jones, Jack Ham, Loren Crispell)

TIPS TO WIN:

For Penn State — Keep Maryland’s skill position players in check. The Terrapins have been pretty successful at getting down the field in chunks, and have run 109 plays of 10 yards or more this season with 33 plays of 20 yards or more. Stefon Diggs is Maryland’s most notable playmaker and demands tight coverage. By doing so, he also opens up the field for other Terps.

For Maryland — Force turnovers. Since Penn State’s defense is playing at an elite level, you have to figure the Terps will need an extra possession or two plus short fields to score from. They can force Christian Hackenberg into bad throws by bringing pressure and shutting down Penn State’s running game.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH: Diggs can burn defensive backs and run through arm tackles to earn crucial yards after the catch. He’s averaging over 13 yards per reception and 75 yards per game and can break big plays in the return game where he’s averaging more than 50 kickoff return yards per game.

PENN STATE PLAYER TO WATCH: Akeel Lynch is in line to see his most extended action with Zach Zwinak sidelined for the rest of the season. Lynch’s ability to get upfield and his one-cut running style should benefit Penn State’s offense and bring more suddenness to the line of scrimmage. Oh, and he’s averaging more than five yards per carry so far.

KEY MATCHUP: William Likely isn’t the biggest cornerback but he makes big plays, as evidenced by his four interceptions he’s returned for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Penn State’s receivers haven’t gotten a lot of separation this season and the ball-hawking Likely could thrive if Hackenberg tries to force passes to his area of the field.

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