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Syracuse vs. Maryland football preview: Q&A with Testudo Times

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We haven’t seen the Terrapins in awhile, so wanted to know all about what to expect on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 21/22 Syracuse Orange (1-0, 0-0) are on the road for the second straight game, this time visiting the Big Ten’s Maryland Terrapins (1-0, 0-0), who just got off a 79-0 win over Howard. When we last saw the Terps, they were freshly conference-realigned and dealt SU a 34-20 loss back in 2014. Syracuse last visited College Park. Md. back in 2013, winning 20-3.

Though we’re not well-versed in the Terps, there are plenty of folks that are. Testudo Times editors Lila Bromberg, Cody Wilcox and Sean Montiel join us to talk about the Terrapins. And we also answer some questions over there, which you can check out here.

It’s hard to have too many takeaways from a 79-0 win against an overmatched FCS squad, but what did Maryland fans learn in week one?

The biggest takeaway in our mind was the fact that the Terps finally have a quarterback who can throw the ball down the field. Although it was against Howard, Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson put up 245 passing yards and four touchdowns. His ability to distribute the rock, along with our deep backfield, should be a dangerous combination this season. If you want a larger look at our thoughts, here are our five biggest takeaways from the game.

How’s Big Ten life been so far, now that it’s been five years plus since the Terps left the ACC?

Life in the Big Ten, especially in the Big Ten East, continues to be a big challenge for the Terps. Maryland has gone 13-32 in conference play since the switch, which entails going up against programs such as Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State each season.

What were your initial thoughts on the Mike Locksley hire? Anything change already?

So far, everyone within the team is really high on him and it seems like a great fit. There’s a palpable culture change for the better and you can tell the guys on this team will play their hearts out for him already. But this weekend is his first big test when we’ll really get to see who he is as a head coach.

What does Josh Jackson excel at as a quarterback, and how does that set him up well against Syracuse’s defense, in particular?

Josh Jackson is the best quarterback talent this program has seen in quite some time. He has a great arm, and can throw on the run too if needed. If Maryland’s offensive line can execute the task at hand, the team can actually pass the ball, which it hasn’t been able to do much in recent years.

Who’s one unsung Maryland player that Orange fans should keep an eye out for?

Running back Jake Funk. After tearing his ACL in the Ohio State game last season, Funk looks stronger and faster this year. In his 2019 debut, Funk had 12 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown to go along with his two catches for 11 yards. You will see the redshirt junior in the backfield and on special teams this Saturday.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

What aspect of Syracuse’s team most concerns the Terps heading into the game?

The defense, specifically the defensive line. Maryland had a decent amount of turnover on the offensive line and the Orange have a lot of talent on the opposing position.

Maybe related: How does Maryland plan to protect against SU’s highly effective pass rush?

There were times where Maryland’s offensive line struggled to keep quarterback Josh Jackson upright on Saturday against Howard. However, one way the Terps could get the Syracuse defensive line off-balance is with their core of running backs. Maryland could use them as an additional blocker, or let the pass rush escape through and dump the ball off to a running back with a slip screen. Either way, Syracuse’s defensive line may give the Terps trouble on Saturday.

What are Maryland fans’ expectations for 2019?

Honestly, we think the expectations are pretty mixed at the moment. After everything that went down with last season and the team’s recent history, many fans on our site have a lot of skepticism as to what this year holds. People really seem to like Locksley though, and a 79-0 win always helps. This week’s game is going to be a deciding factor for a lot of people in terms of expectations.

Prediction time: Who wins this one and how?

20-17, Syracuse. This is likely to be a close, defensive game that will show the grit of both teams. In the end, we see Syracuse with the ability to seal the coffin.

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Thanks again to Lila, Cody and Sean for taking the time here. Be sure to check out Testudo Times for everything Maryland, and follow the site on Twitter, too.