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Indiana football 2022 opponent preview: Maryland

After sky-high offseason expectations turned into a 2-10 regular season campaign in 2021 for Indiana football, head coach Tom Allen and company are looking to get back on track in the 2022 season. We are profiling each of the 12 teams Indiana will face this season as the Hoosiers look to right the ship. Up next is Maryland.

  • Opponent: Maryland
  • Date/Time/TV: Sat., Oct. 15, Time/TV TBA
  • Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
  • 2021 record/postseason result: 7-6 overall, 3-6 Big Ten, won Pinstripe Bowl 54-10 vs Virginia Tech.

Returning Production, Offense: 83% (per Bill Connelly/ESPN)

Offensive Outlook: Maryland’s offense was inconsistent last season, bouncing from 62 and 37-point performances back down to 17 and 14-point outings. The Terrapins could not find consistency and struggled against Big Ten opponents a season ago, but it was not for a lack of talent, much of which returns. 

Former five-star wide receiver prospect Rakim Jarrett and four-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former Alabama star Tua, are back for their third seasons in College Park after a pair of highlight-filled campaigns. Maryland’s other star wideout, Dontay Demus, had a strong start to his 2021 season with 507 receiving yards through five games, prior to suffering a season-ending leg injury. Demus is expected to return at full strength for Maryland.

Jarrett and Demus will be playing on Sundays by this time next year, and with a good season, Tagovailoa could find himself in the NFL just like his older brother. The Terrapins have elite talent on the offensive side of the ball and should be able to score points in a hurry, but an inconsistent 2021 shows that that is far from a given.

Returning Production, Defense: 61% (per Bill Connelly/ESPN)

Defensive Outlook: Maryland ranked 85th in the nation last season in total defense, tending to play well against bad teams and struggle against better teams. Much like on offense, the defense was inconsistent. 

The Terrapins had outings of 16 and 10 points allowed to close out the season, respectively, in wins over Rutgers and Virginia Tech. However in the two weeks prior, the Terps allowed 40 and 59 to Big Ten heavyweights Michigan State and Michigan. 

The player who will draw the most eyes for Maryland on defense is Durell Nchami, who was named second-team preseason All-Big Ten by Pro Football Focus in 2022 and notched three sacks in an injury-shortened 2021 season. Nchami made two strip sacks against Rutgers in 2020, earning him PFF National Defensive Player of the Week honors. 

The biggest loss on the defensive side of the football for the Terrapins is safety Nick Cross, a 3rd round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The 20-year-old has continued his rapid ascent after a strong 2021 campaign, already listed as a starter for the Colts at safety in his first training camp.

Returning Starters, Special Teams: P Anthony Pecorella, LS Ethan Gough.

Starters Lost, Special Teams: K Joseph Petrino.

Special Teams Outlook: Placekicker transfer Chad Ryland looks to be one of the top kickers in the Big Ten in 2022. The former Eastern Michigan standout made 19 field goals and set the program scoring record with 104 points last season, while currently holding the nation’s second-longest active made kicks streak with 17-straight.

Overall outlook: Maryland was as talented as they were unpredictable in 2021. With two top players returning from injury in Demus and Nchami and momentum from a big bowl game win, the Terrapins have a chance to make some serious noise in a crowded Big Ten East. Maryland will succeed in pass-happy shootouts, with a pair of elite wideouts that would make even the sport’s best teams envious. Defensively, questions remain, but should either unit be able to perform consistently, Maryland could turn some heads in 2022. 

More 2022 opponent previews:

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”