2021 Record: 7-6 (3-6 Big Ten)
Maryland qualified for its first bowl game since 2014 thanks to a win over Rutgers in the final game of the regular season, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Not only that, but a non-conference victory over West Virginia and a Pinstripe Bowl win over Virginia Tech capped off an otherwise lackluster season for the Terrapins that saw just three wins in Big Ten Conference play over bottom feeders Illinois, Indiana and Rutgers. The victory over IU was conveniently placed between two separate three-game losing streaks as well.
The Spartans will be facing off against Maryland for the 13th time in a series that dates back to 1944. However, the two programs played five times between 1944 and 1950 and did not play again until the series became an annual division matchup in 2014 (barring 2020 when the game was rescheduled then canceled due to COVID outbreaks on the Terps’ roster). MSU is currently riding a four-game winning streak in the series and holds the significant edge in the all-time series, 10-2. The only losses came in East Lansing in 1950 (34-7) and in College Park in 2016 (28-17).
2022 Program Outlook
Barring injuries derailing his season, Taulia Tagovailoa is the unquestioned leader of the Terrapins offense following a 2021 season that saw him throw for almost 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has no shortage of talent to throw to, either, with Rakim Jarrett returning after leading the team with 62 catches last season and a healthy Dontay Demus returning as well. Demus did not play after the Iowa game last season due to injuries, but was averaging 18.1 yards per catch on the season. Florida transfer Jacob Copeland adds 85 catches and nine scores from the past three seasons. The ground attack is not much to write home about, but as long as it can keep a defense honest, that’s all Maryland really needs.
Maryland’s defense is the problem for this squad, especially up front, with top 2021 recruits defensive end/linebacker Demeioun Robinson, linebacker Terrence Lewis and linebacker Branden Jennings all leaving via the transfer portal. West Virginia transfer Vandarius Cowan and four-star freshman Jaishawn Barham should help to fill some of those shortcomings, along with middle linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II’s move to the outside. The defensive front will hope that hybrid end Durell Nchami can stay healthy, while the secondary looks to create more takeaways, led by returning starting cornerback Deonte Banks.
Why No. 7?
Until proven otherwise, this Spartans squad is vulnerable to pass happy offenses with talented arms and receiving corps. For all of its other shortcomings, Maryland has both of those in plenty of supply. Not only that, but this road game is sandwiched in between visits to East Lansing by both Minnesota and Ohio State. Illinois feels like more of a trap game scenario with lesser talent, so the Terps got the narrow edge in this ranking.
This game could get interesting for Michigan State fans, and by that I mean the kind that is bad for one’s heart. Michigan State won by 19 in East Lansing last season, but it took until late in the second half for this one to truly feel out of reach. Playing at Maryland earlier in the season when the Terps are less likely to be suffering from injuries in key positions, this one could be a high scoring affair early on. Expect MSU to leave with a win, though, and by more than a touchdown in the final margin.
Catch up on the rankings here:
2022 MSU Football Schedule
|Sept. 2||Western Michigan||East Lansing, MI||7:00 PM||ESPN|
|Sept. 10||Akron||East Lansing, MI||4:00 PM||BTN|
|Sept. 17||Washington||Seattle, WA||7:30 PM||ABC|
|Sept. 24||Minnesota||East Lansing, MI||TBA||TBA|
|Oct. 1||Maryland||College Park, MD||TBA||TBA|
|Oct. 8||Ohio State||East Lansing, MI|
|Oct. 15||Wisconsin||East Lansing, MI||3:30/4:00 PM||TBA|
|Oct. 29||Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 5||Illinois||Champaign, IL||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 12||Rutgers||East Lansing, MI||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 19||Indiana||East Lansing, MI||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 26||Penn State||State College, PA||TBA||TBA|