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TCR Staff Predictions: Illinois at Maryland

Most of us see this as a rough game for the Illini

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Boston College vs Maryland Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Berns

Maryland is really good at running the football. So is Illinois. Both have top 25 rushing offenses nationally. The difference here is that Maryland is 45th in the country at stopping the run, while the Illini are 117th. Illinois allows a whopping 5.41 yards per rush, which is atrocious and a recipe for disaster against Terps lead back Ty Johnson. The fact Maryland’s pass offense is so bad won’t mean a thing because the Illini are that bad at stopping the run. Maryland 42, Illinois 17

Raul Rodriguez

Matt Canada and Maryland will feast on the Illini Defense with motions, shifts and jet sweeps. Meanwhile, on offense, Lovie continues to give playing time to AJ Bush and the offense sputters. MJ Rivers comes in and leads a few garbage time touchdown drives. This one is ugly from beginning to end. Maryland 45, Illinois 14

Ben Ford

Apparently I am not as pessimistic about this one as others. Yes, Illinois is bad against the run, but they should be able to focus more resources on stopping the run in this one with Maryland’s ineffective passing game. It’s hard to see Illinois hemorrhaging the ball away like they did against Wisconsin too, which put an undue strain on the defense. The two offensive keys will be maintaining drives and not turning the ball over, regardless of who is under center, and both Illini quarterbacks are capable of that against a tamer defense. Illinois’ defense will be better if and when its not on the field constantly, and with better field position to work with. Maryland simply lacks the firepower to put a game away like Purdue and Wisconsin do, but with home field and a must-win mentality, the Terps still likely pull this off. Maryland 28, Illinois 23

Austin Jabs

Numbers don’t lie. The Illinois defense is atrocious and is much worse than in previous years, and that is saying something. That being said, Maryland is not an offensive powerhouse. This game will come down to running the ball, but if Rivers is starting I think the Illini will be able to move the ball through the air, something they have had issues with while Bush has been under center. I like the chances of the Illini with Rivers under center and legitimately think Illinois could have a HUGE upset win this weekend, IF MJ Rivers is the quarterback. So, with that said, I make this pick with the hopes Rivers starts. Illinois 30, Maryland 25.

Matt Rejc

Illinois has faced some very good teams recently, and hasn’t been competitive with them. Maryland represents a significant step down in terms of the strength of our opposition. But I still haven’t seen Illinois consistently compete with teams other than the very worst FBS programs in the country. With that in mind I can’t predict a win. However, I can see the possibility of being wrong here, especially if we’re able to pick up turnovers at a rate similar to our early games and if our offense is able to move under MJ Rivers. Maryland 35, Illinois 14

Jacob Rajlich

Illinois Volleyball beat Maryland 3-0 on Wednesday, so it’s only logical that the same results will follow this Saturday. Point Illinois. Illinois 3, Maryland 0

Stephen Cohn

If MJ Rivers starts, I give Illinois a fighter’s chance. That said, a fighter’s chance with this team on the road against a semi-decent defense and a fairly explosive running game is a 15-point loss. Start AJ Bush, and the issues (and questions) will pile up. Make the right choice, Rod and Lovie, and give MJ another chance to do something. Maryland 38, Illinois 20

Mark Schaer

I was pretty disappointed by the five first half turnovers against Wisconsin (I hope everyone was), but I was mildly pleased with how MJ Rivers came in and was competent on offense. I think Rivers can be good, but he is still just an inexperienced freshman. He is exciting because Bush has been that bad in the passing game. If Rivers can get going and Corbin tears it up like he has been doing, Illinois might only lose by two possessions. Maryland 35, Illinois 21

TCR Staff Cumulative Pick (Minus Jacob because he’s a jokester) - Maryland 35.4, Illinois 19.9