Each week, the WNUR staff will submit their predictions for Saturday’s football game. Over the rest of the quarter, we’ll keep track of each picker’s record.
Matt McHugh (@mattmcsports27): Northwestern 27, Maryland 24
The Wildcats are looking to bounce back after being blown out at home, but the first half of this game should be difficult defensively without Godwin Igwebuike or Paddy Fisher. Ultimately, the ‘Cats should take advantage of Maryland’s 4th-stringer at QB and do enough to pull out a solid road victory.
Player to watch: Nathan Fox, LB, Northwestern. With Paddy Fisher, the team’s leading tackler, out for the first half after his targeting ejection last week, Fox will need to be back to 100 percent at middle linebacker. He’s missed the last two weeks with an injury, but will have a tough task in slowing down Maryland running back Ty Johnson.
Sam Brief (@sambrief): Northwestern 24, Maryland 13.
Northwestern has looked ugly at times in the last two games. But Penn State and Wisconsin are a lot better than Northwestern. Maryland is (seemingly) a lot worse. Let’s bank on that.
Player to watch: The entire offensive line — only three QBs in America have been sacked more in 2017 than Clayton Thorson. That’s gotta stop on Saturday.
Amit Mallik (@amitkmallik): Northwestern 31, Maryland 20.
The ‘Cats grind out a tough conference victory behind a dominant run game and a defense up to the task.
Player to watch: Blake Gallagher, LB, Northwestern. The Terps have their quarterback issues, but they still have a dangerous running back in Ty Johnson. Paddy Fisher did a good job spearheading the effort to limit Saquon Barkley last week, but can Gallagher do the same in Fisher’s half on the sidelines?
Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff: Northwestern 20, Maryland 17
After playing two top ten teams in the past couple weeks, Northwestern will get back in the win column by putting up some much-needed defensive stands and narrowly escaping with the win against a pretty good Maryland team.
Player to watch: Justin Jackson, RB Northwestern. The Wildcats need him to get back on track, and he will in College Park.
Darren Zaslau (@darren_zaslau): Northwestern 31, Maryland 14
The ‘Cats get back on track with a win over a Maryland team that struggles defensively. Clayton Thorson has a bounce-back performance against the Terrapins’ defense that gives up 36.4 points per game, the most in the Big Ten. With Maryland down to their fourth-string quarterback, I don’t see them moving the ball consistently on offense.
Player to watch: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern. Thorson will roll through the Terps’ secondary throwing for three touchdowns. Bennett Skowronek and company will make big receptions down the field for the ‘Cats.
Zach Koons (@ZachKoons): Northwestern 27, Maryland 13
Maryland is banged up and Northwestern is (hopefully) ticked off. The NU defense stifles the Terrapins running game, and the O-line looks good against a below-average defense.
Player to watch: Caleb Henderson, QB, Maryland. The 4th-stringer will get the start against the Cats, and will have to find a way to make his offense two-dimensional if the Terps want to have a chance.
Ari Levin: Northwestern 42, Maryland 21
The ‘Cats need to rebound on offense, and Thorson will make sure they do, big time. They’ll struggle on defense without Igwebuike and Fisher in the first half, but the rest of the team should be able to hold down the fort.
Player to watch: Nathan Fox, MLB, Northwestern. Fisher looked very strong against Barkley and the Nittany Lions last week until being ejected for targeting, and that penalty will cost him the first half this game too. Fox will start the game and anchor the Northwestern defense, and he’ll be responsible for keeping the game manageable for the offense.
Austin Miller’s Key to the Game:
Stop Ty Johnson. Maryland is on their fourth QB this year. If Northwestern can contain the Terps’ dangerous RB and make said fourth QB beat them, they’ll be in good shape.