Detroit News scouting report: Michigan football at Maryland

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

No. 6 Michigan at Maryland

►Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland

►TV/radio: BTN/950

►Records: No. 8 Michigan 9-1, 6-1 Big Ten; Maryland 5-5, 2-5

►Series: Michigan leads 8-1

►Line: Michigan by 14.5

Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down the Wolverines’ Week 12 matchup with Maryland.

Maryland tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (9).

Key matchup


This is going to be about Michigan’s edge-rushing tandem of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo trying to get after quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. But the main matchup is Michigan’s defensive line trying to bully a Terps’ offensive line that has given up 23 sacks which ranks them ninth in the Big Ten.

The Maryland run game has been an issue and averages 112.4 yards a game (112th nationally), and that's partly on the offensive line as well as the running backs, a position where there’s an issue with depth.

Running back Challen Faamatau did not make the trip to Michigan State last week and may be out for the rest of the season with an injury, according to a Washington Post report. He had started ahead of Tayon Fleet-Davis against Penn State.

Michigan holds teams to an average 123.1 yards rushing, 28th nationally, and if the Wolverines successfully make the Terps’ offense one-dimensional, it could be a long day for Tagovailoa and the offensive line.

Terrapins to watch

►Jakorian Bennett, DB: The 5-foot-11 195-pound senior leads all Power Five players with 13 pass breakups this season. He also has two interceptions and an average of 1.4 pass breakups through nine games. Bennett also has five pass deflections the past three games and has four games this season with at least two pass breakups, tied for the most of any player in the country. Bennett’s 13 pass breakups are the most through nine games by a Maryland player since Will Likely had 17 in 2014.

►Taulia Tagovailoa, QB: Tagovailoa is closing in on single-season records in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, and currently is third-all-time in each category. Tagovailoa is also ninth all-time in career completions (343), career passing yards (4,116) and career touchdowns (27). He leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the country with 3,105 passing yards and is fifth nationally and leads the Big Ten lead in completions per game (26.80). He ranks second in the league and is top 20 in the FBS in completion percentage (69.3%), passing yards per game (310.5) and total offense (309.8) and ranks third in the league in passing touchdowns (20). He has thrown for 1,140 passing yards in the last three games (419 against Indiana, 371 against then-No. 22 Penn State and 350 at then-No. 8 Michigan State).

►Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE: The 6-3 250-pound senior the last two games has 20 receptions for 197 yards, the most receptions ever by a Maryland tight end over a two-game span and the most by any Maryland player since Torrey Smith tallied 21 against Florida State and NC State  in 2010. The senior’s 197 yards are the most by a Maryland tight end over two consecutive games since Vernon Davis had 298 against Clemson and West Virginia in 2005. Okonkwo had 12 receptions against Penn State (Nov. 6), the second-highest reception total ever by a Maryland tight end, and his 112 yards last week at Michigan State are the most by a Maryland tight end since 2005. He’s tied for team lead with five receiving touchdowns this season.

Facts and figures

►It’s a bird, it’s a plane ... It’s actually the Maryland pass game, which averages 319.5 yards a game, the 13th-best passing yards per game total in the FBS and third-highest in the Big Ten, trailing only Ohio State (353.6) and Purdue (338.2). Maryland has more than 250 yards passing in eight of 10 games this season and is one of only three Big Ten teams — Ohio State and  Purdue are the others — with at least one passing touchdown in every game

►The Terps have had 21 different players with at least one tackle for loss this season, the most in the Big Ten. They are led by defensive lineman Sam Okuayinonu, who has 8.5 tackles for loss, while nine additional players: LB Durell Nchami, DL Ami Finau, DL Lawtez Rogers, DL Mosiah Nasili-Kite, LB Deshawn Holt, DL Greg Rose, DB Tarheeb Still, LB Ruben Hyppolite II, DB Isaiah Hazel and DL Tyler Baylor all have at least two tackles for loss

►Maryland has blocked two field goals this season (Ami Finau at Illinois, Sept. 17 and Tarheeb Still at Minnesota, Oct. 23), 20th-most in the country and tied with Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State for most in the Big Ten. It is the fifth time in the last six seasons that Maryland has blocked at least two field goals in a season.

Twitter: @chengelis