5 Players to Watch Against Maryland

5 Players to Watch Against Maryland

Football

5 Players to Watch Against Maryland

It’s homecoming for the Michigan Football team, and they welcome their former defensive coordinator’s team, except the former coordinator DJ Durkin will not be there as he is still on administrative leave. That doesn’t mean his team won’t come ready to play as they look to upset the No. 15 ranked Wolverines. Maryland is fresh off a bye week, while the Wolverines are off a tough game against Northwestern. Here are my five players to watch in this week’s game.

1. QB Shea Patterson – Michigan

Quarterback Shea Patterson had to lead his team down by 17 last week and while he never saw the end zone, he helped lead the drive to the 20 points that the Wolverines scored. Patterson is getting comfortable in this offense and has started using his legs to make some big plays when needed. He is starting to look like the same Patterson that we saw at Ole Miss and it is exciting.

The weather could be a factor with Patterson this week though. If the weather goes like predictions say, it will be raining all game and that could mean more running plays than passing as the ball being wet could affect the throw and catches by wide receivers.

Maryland also has the 20th ranked defense in college football so this game will be a tough challenge for the Wolverines offense as a whole. Patterson will have to lead them down the field once again and try and put points on the board in what could be a low scoring game.

2. RB Anthony McFarland – Maryland

Maryland running back Anthony McFarland isn’t the starting running back, but he has been the most productive one on the team. While Ty Johnson, the starter has more carries and more yards, and the third string back Tayon Fleet-Davis has more carries and touchdowns, McFarland is the most dangerous.

Johnson has 40 carries for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Fleet-Davis has 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. McFarland? He has 27 carries for 291 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.8 yards per carry.

Michigan has the number one defense so it will be hard for any of the three running backs to run as Michigan is allowing 2.37 yards per carry this year, those numbers are still impressive for McFarland and Michigan should put an emphasis on stopping all three running backs this week.

3. DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

After having his best game of the season so far last week against Northwestern, defensive end Chase Winovich will look to one-up what he did last week, nine tackles, three for loss and a sack. The crazy thing too, he believes he hasn’t played his best football yet either.

Michigan could also be without star defensive end Rashan Gary as he has been dealing with a shoulder issue and head coach Jim Harbaugh listed Gary as “questionable” for this week’s game.

If Gary is missing, then all eyes shift to Winovich, which could lead others to have a big game, or it still won’t be enough and Winovich can drive into the backfield and make a few plays. Gary’s health will be a factor in how Winovich plays, but how Maryland’s offensive line shows up to play is also a factor. They have only allowed nine sacks this year, but seven were against Temple. Michigan has a better defensive line than Temple so this game could get real ugly, real fast if they can’t hold up against Winovich and company.

4. LB Tre Watson – Maryland

A reason why Maryland has a top 20 defense is this impressive freshman linebacker, Tre Watson. Watson has 39 tackles, two for loss, two interceptions (returning one for a touchdown), and a sack this season. He has been everywhere on defense and certainly a playmaker.

Michigan’s offensive line has improved throughout the season so far and has created running lanes for running backs Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, and Tru Wilson, and have given time for Patterson to throw the ball.

Watson could still get involved someway somehow as if the game gets wet, more running plays will happen and that gives him more of a chance to get in on every play and try and turn the ball over and give it back to his offense.

5. K Quinn Nordin – Michigan

Weather can be a factor (have I said that enough?) and if Michigan isn’t able to drive down the field and punch the ball into the end zone, kicking field goals could be their only way of getting points, and that could even be difficult with a wet ball that the long snapper could slip and mess up, the holder could mess up the catch and hold, and the wet surface could affect Nordin’s kick.

Nordin has done well this season, making 23/24 extra points and 6/7 field goals. Kicking isn’t easy, especially when the weather is wet and windy so Nordin could be put in a tough spot for the Wolverines if the offense has issues.

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