Maryland vs. Howard prediction and game preview for the opening contest of the 2016 season. Find out who’s projected to win the matchup between the Terrapins and Bison.
Maryland vs. Howard Game Preview
When: Saturday, Sept. 3 – Noon ET
Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park
Matchup to Watch
DJ Durkin vs. Expectations
Durkin has learned from two of the Big Ten’s best coaches after being an assistant to both Urban Meyer (Bowling Green and Florida) and Jim Harbaugh (Stanford and Michigan). In his lone season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, Durkin led a unit that ranked fourth in the nation in fewest yards per game allowed and surrendered just 20 touchdowns from scrimmage, tied for second-fewest in the country.
Now he gets his shot to be the head man for the success-hungry Terrapins, who haven’t won 10 games since 2003 and fired Randy Edsall after going 1-7 in Big Ten play last year. Durkin will be working mostly with what’s left over from Edsall’s regime, but Maryland hopes Durkin’s way leads to a quick turnaround.
Durkin hired Walt Bell as his offensive coordinator after Bell oversaw an Arkansas State unit that averaged 438.5 yards per game and scored 58 touchdowns last season. The quickly rising 32-year-old will try to improve a passing game that finished 126th in the nation in efficiency last year as Perry Hills, who won the starting job in camp, threw 13 interceptions and only eight touchdowns.
Howard went 1-10 last season averaged just 223 yards per game, second-worst in the FCS.
The Terps get only five starters back as Durkin and new defensive coordinator Scott Shafer have their hands full trying to put a respectable unit on the field. Maryland allowed an average of 421.2 yards per game last season to rank 11th in the Big Ten, but if anyone can turn that around it’s Durkin.
The Bison allowed at least 32 points seven times in 2015.
Edge in Special Teams
The Terps get back returner William Likely, who brought back two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns last year.
Durkin not only has the up-and-coming Bell on his staff, but also three former head coaches in Pete Lembo (Ball State), Mike London (Virginia) and Shafer (Syracuse).
Meanwhile, Gary Harrell has one winning record in four seasons with the Bison.
Howard was outscored to the tune of 285-64 while going 0-6 on the road last season.
Maryland vs. Howard Prediction
Durkin wins his debut in a laugher, 54-6.