Staff Predictions: Maryland
Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, November 10, 2011
It’s a “home” game for the Irish, but Maryland’s football complex is less than 15 miles from FedEx Field.
And that’s the only advantage the Terrapins will have. First-year coach Randy Edsall will eventually turn this program around, but Maryland just isn’t a good team right now. Notre Dame isn’t great, but this one shouldn’t even be close. The Terrapins won’t be able to move the ball against the Irish defense, and the Notre Dame offense will have one of its best performances of the year.
There is one small glimmer of hope for Maryland. Notre Dame is wearing the new Shamrock Series uniforms, and Under Armour will whip up something hideous for the Terrapins. With that combination, very few people will be able to bear watching this Irish beatdown.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Maryland 10
My predictions have taken on a more negative outlook lately. I’ve given up on cheesy song lyrics, and the optimism they brought has all-but completely dissipated.
Yet even I think Notre Dame should still win this one. Even if the Terrapins play smart and blitz up the middle on center Mike Golic, Jr., nearly every play, the Irish should be just fine. Jonas Gray or Cierre Wood can simply stay in the backfield and help with the blocking in those situations, and Irish quarterback Tommy Rees can take his time finding an open receiver.
And there should be plenty of open receivers against Maryland. There should also be plenty of big plays by the Notre Dame defense.
Wow, even the pessimist is optimistic this week.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Maryland 9
Senior Sports Writer
The outlook on the Notre Dame football program fluctuates week to
week. After a poor performance — even a poor performance that results in a win — fans and the media alike tend to jump ship.
But the team seems to react differently. After a terrible loss to South Florida, the Irish came out strong against Michigan (even though they ended up losing the game). Then after Michigan, they dominated a good Michigan State team. Notre Dame came out strong after both a subpar win over Pittsburgh and a poor showing against USC.
This week will be no different. Notre Dame struggled at times against Wake Forest, but pulled out a tough win. They are better than Maryland, and will surely come out firing in this Shamrock Series contest.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Maryland 20
Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame survived its trip to Wake Forest last weekend, and now it’s week two against ACC opponents, and a much worse opponent at that.
Even if the Irish play poorly, they should still have no problem cruising to a win Saturday.
The Terrapins substitute quarterbacks almost as much as they change uniform combinations, but it should not be too much of a concern for the Irish defense as it tries to build upon last week’s second-half shutout of Wake Forest.
Essentially, Notre Dame gets two scrimmages before a season-ending showdown with undefeated Stanford. It can be a valuable opportunity to implement some new looks and provide some playing time for Andrew Hendrix.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Maryland 17
Assistant Managing Editor
Welcome to the latest installment of the Shamrock Series, a clever marketing ploy devised by adidas and Under Armour to disguise football players as washed-up mannequins. Inspired by the villain Two-Face, Maryland will be wearing its “Pride” uniform (the Maryland state flag) when it takes the field Saturday night. Not to be outdone, the Irish will don the green jerseys and a curiously redesigned helmet that features a large shamrock.
If Notre Dame and Maryland can maintain consistency in their appearance from week to week, both teams have searched in vain for consistency in play. There’s a reason the Terps have lost five straight. Look for Brian Kelly’s redesigned vanilla offense to take advantage of a reeling squad. But why can’t they just wear blue and gold?
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Maryland 17