ANN ARBOR, MI.Michigan football kicks off Big Ten play this weekend, hosting Maryland in a battle of undefeated teams led by dynamic young quarterbacks.

This will be the first Power Five test for both Michigan and Maryland after sweeping their non-conference slates. While Michigan has wins at home against three of the nation’s worst teams, Maryland has had a slightly more difficult road to 3-0.

The Terrapins already have a win on the road, albeit against a lower-ranked Charlotte team. Their more impressive win came last week against previously undefeated SMU.

Maryland’s high-powered offense

Offense is the name of the game for Maryland, which features a dangerous passing attack and one of the top running backs in the country.

That’s Roman Hamby, who rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown against SMU last weekend, catching four passes for an additional 62 yards. He totaled 385 yards from scrimmage in three games.

Antwaine Littleton II is also a threat out of the backfield, with four touchdowns and an average of 9 yards per carry on 12 touches as Hamby’s backup.

But the offense is all about quarterback Taulio Tagavailoa, who has completed 77.3% of his pass attempts this season for an average of 10.2 yards. He’s an accurate passer, an opportunistic runner and arguably the most dangerous offensive player Michigan has faced.

Tagovailoa has a trio of strong receivers in Rakim Jarrett, JaShon Jones and Jacob Copeland. All three are big threats, so DJ Turner, Gemon Green and Mike Sainristil should be on their games.

Defense issues

Defensively, Maryland hasn’t been as experienced, allowing 392 yards per game, 89th in the nation.

Maryland held its first three opponents to an average of less than 20 points per game, but that yardage total seems high given the competition.

Most of the damage was done last week when SMU piled up 520 yards in College Park. The Terrapins allowed 369 passing yards, but limited the damage by forcing two passes and holding the Mustangs to 3.6 yards per carry.

Maryland also committed 15 penalties and fumbled twice. It’s a testament to Tagovailoa and Hemby that the Terrapins found a way to run away with the win.

Michigan’s plan of attack

It’s too early to label Maryland as a bad pass defense, but right now it’s outside the top 100 in the country in passing yards allowed per game.

Michigan has a chance to exploit that potential weakness because Tagovailoa isn’t the only dynamic young quarterback playing in the Big House this weekend.

With two starts and some cleanup duties in the opener, JJ McCarthy has put together one of the most impressive stat lines in the Big Ten. He completed 30 of 34 passes for 473 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

That’s an 88.2% completion rate and 13.9 yards per pass attempt. He also carried the ball seven times for 73 yards with just one sack.

McCarthy gained enough experience last year as a true freshman to know that playing in the Big Ten won’t be easy. His numbers are guaranteed to come back down to earth starting this weekend.

But if he can take care of the ball, get it to his playmakers and occasionally move the chains with his feet, McCarthy should be able to put some points on the board against this Maryland defense.

On the bright side, we finally get an idea of ​​what Jesse Minter is all about. Defensive success against Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn doesn’t mean much, but a good performance against Maryland would be a confidence booster.

The Wolverines are ranked No. 4 nationally and look to win this game. But there is still mystery surrounding this team due to the non-conference schedule. No one really knows what to expect.

Michigan can’t lose to Maryland at home and expect to contend for another Big Ten title, so this is a critical game. It’s about time we got a chance to see how this team plays with some stakes.

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