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UM vs. Maryland preview: Bowl or bust for Wolverines

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Maryland Players to watch

C.J. Brown, QB: He threw for 246 yards and two TDs last week in a loss to Michigan State. Brown has completed 53 percent of his attempts and has thrown 11 TDS. He is averaging 37.5 yards a game to lead the team in rushing.

Jacquille Veii, WR: He moved from running back to receiver during the summer because the Terrapins were overloaded at tailback. The 5-foot-9, 187-pound sophomore is expected to play a significant role because leading receiver Stefon Diggs is out with a lacerated kidney. Veii had a career-high four catches for 45 yards in the loss to Michigan State.

Brad Craddock, K: He is one of two kickers in the country who has not missed a field goal this season. Craddock is 14-for-14 and has made 20 straight, the third-longest streak in Big Ten history. The Lou Groza finalist is 9-for-9 on kicks of 40 yards or more.

Intangibles

Reaching a bowl: So maybe making a bowl isn't an everyday discussion among the Michigan players, but it has to be a goal at this point. Michigan is 5-5 with two games left, including next week at No. 7 Ohio State. If the Wolverines are going to make a bowl, today is must-win.

Balancing the run: De'Veon Smith rushed for 121 yards against Northwestern and Drake Johnson rushed for 122 in the win against Indiana. Both will be counted on to run the ball against Maryland.

So long, seniors: This is the last game at Michigan Stadium for the seniors, so how much more motivation do the Wolverines need? Among those playing their final game at home — Devin Gardner, Brennen Beyer, Jake Ryan and Ray Taylor.

Getting the rust off: Michigan is coming off its second bye. Devin Gardner, who has been hobbled by a high ankle sprain since last month, said he got healthier during the week off, and that should be a boost for the offense.

Relying on the D: Michigan has struggled to score, and the defense has had to repeatedly come through. Michigan has allowed seven rushing TDs, fewest in the Big Ten, but Maryland will want to find success against the secondary.

Facts and figures

■ Maryland is 4-1 on the road this season.

■ Maryland had 6 rushing yards on 17 carries in a loss to Michigan State last week.

■ Michigan is allowing an average of 103.2 yards rushing, seventh in the nation.

■ Maryland hasn't been consistent running the ball this season, averaging 113.9 yards, 12th in the Big Ten.

■ Maryland has 20 sacks in six Big Ten games.