Maryland vs Penn State Odds, Picks: Blowout Coming in Happy Valley?
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford.
Maryland vs Penn State Odds
-105o / -115u
|Penn State Odds|
-105o / -115u
Penn State looks to move to 8-2 on the season when it hosts Maryland in Happy Valley for a Saturday afternoon Big Ten East clash.
Maryland played a terrible game in awful weather in Madison last weekend, losing to Wisconsin by a score of 23-10. It was only the third loss on the season for Terrapins, who have already achieved bowl eligibility.
However, they need to get back on track this week with a home game against Ohio State on deck.
Penn State cruised past Indiana in Bloomington last weekend for its seventh win of the season. The Nittany Lions' only two losses on the season have come at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan, so they've been pretty good against lesser competition.
This is also another game they need to win if they want to secure a berth for a premier bowl game.
Taulia Tagovailoa returned from injury against Wisconsin last weekend and had a terrible game in the pouring rain and high winds. He went just 10-of-23 for 77 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
However, you almost have to throw that game out the window given how bad the conditions were. He's been outstanding In every other game this season:
Image via PFF.
However, Penn State has an outstanding secondary, so the way Maryland is going to have to beat the Nittany Lions is on the ground. I'm not sure it can do that.
Maryland is averaging 4.7 yards per carry but ranks 79th in Rushing Success Rate and 64th in EPA/Rush. Its offensive line has been getting a decent push, ranking 22nd in Offensive Fine Yards and 55th in terms of a run-blocking grade, per PFF.
However, starting running back Roman Hemby has basically just been putting up big numbers against bad run defenses. In fact, he's averaged under 4.2 yards per carry against Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Maryland has faced two solid ground attacks this season in Wisconsin and Michigan. In those two games, they've given up a combined 521 yards and 6.5 yards per carry.
Maryland also ranks 118th in Power Success Rate Allowed, 78th in Stuff Rate and 70th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. So, good luck stopping star Penn State freshman Nick Singleton.
Maryland has also really struggled to generate a pass rush. It sits 121st in terms of a pass-rushing grade and ranks 95th in Havoc.
Sean Clifford has really only been effective when he has a clean pocket, so the secondary could be in for a long day if it can't get in Clifford's face.
The secondary hasn't really been that good anyways. The Terps rank 70th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 52nd in coverage grade.
Nittany Lions Offense
Clifford has struggled this season, but he still owns a 73.8 PFF passing grade while averaging 8.0 yards per attempt. Both actually mark career-highs for him.
Even against Ohio State two weeks ago, he finished with a PFF passing grade of 82.9 and an adjusted completion percentage of 81.9% on 47 attempts. Plus, only one of his three interceptions was graded as a turnover-worthy play.
Clifford really needs time in the pocket to throw because he really struggles under pressure. He owns an 86.7 PFF passing grade with a 78.2% adjusted completion percentage with a clean pocket. When he's under pressure, though, his PFF passing grade drops to 45.8 and his adjusted completion percentage falls to 67.9%.
Luckily for the Nittany Lions, Maryland has one of the worst pass rushes in the country. Clifford should have plenty of time to throw in this game.
Penn State's rushing attack really hasn't been that great this year despite the emergence of Singleton, a five-star freshman.
The Nittany Lions rank 103rd in Rushing Success Rate and 73rd in EPA/Rush. However, Singleton has been known to break off a lot of big runs, as he's averaging 6.1 yards per carry and has 14 rushes of at least 10 yards.
Nicholas Singleton is a DUDE pic.twitter.com/guAE0CluVa
— Saturday Gameday (@SaturdayGameday) September 17, 2022
Nittany Lions Defense
Penn State's defense has been the main reason why it's sitting at 7-2 on the season. The Nittany Lions are allowing only 5.0 yards per play while ranking fourth in Havoc and 29th in Finishing Drives Allowed.
The run defense has been above average, ranking 16th in Defensive Line Yards, fourth in Stuff Rate and 49th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
However, it sits 92nd in rushing explosiveness allowed, so it's prone to giving up big plays. Maryland essentially lives off of explosiveness in the run game.
The Penn State secondary has been one of the best in the country and will give Tagovailoa a lot of problems. The Nittany Lions rank top-40 in terms of Passing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Pass Allowed and coverage grade.
They also held Tagovailoa to just 6.3 yards per attempt and forced three turnover-worthy plays against Maryland last season.
Maryland vs Penn State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Maryland and Penn State match up statistically:
Maryland Offense vs. Penn State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Penn State Offense vs. Maryland Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||22||60|
|Seconds per Play||26.6 (71)||25.6 (47)|
|Rush Rate||51.1% (78)||51.9% (73)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Maryland vs Penn State Betting Pick
Even though Clifford has been an average quarterback this season, Maryland's inability to generate a pass rush is going to have a drastic impact on this game given how good Clifford is with a clean pocket.
Additionally, Tagovailoa will be going up against an above-average secondary, and the game will be on his shoulders if Maryland struggles to run the ball — much like what happened against Wisconsin last weekend.
I have Penn State projected as a -13.2 favorite, so I like the value on the Nittany Lions at -10.