When Adam McLean was asked Tuesday how Maryland football felt about being one win short of bowl eligibility with No. 9 Ohio State and No. 16 Penn State left on the schedule, the defensive lineman pointed out what happened in West Lafayette, Indiana, last month.
“You saw what Purdue did to Ohio State,” McLean said.
The Boilermakers welcomed the Buckeyes to Ross-Ade Stadium on Oct. 20 and proceeded to dominate them, compiling 539 yards of total offense en route to a 49-20 victory.
Linebacker Tre Watson pointed to the same game after the Terps’ 34-32 loss to Indiana on Saturday, which seemed to significantly lessen the team’s chances at a sixth win.
Having seen Purdue upset Ohio State, Maryland has taken heart — and perhaps some clues — that it can do the same thing this weekend, which would stamp its ticket to postseason play.
“I go into any competition that I’m going to partake in expecting to win,” Watson said. “I don’t care who I’m facing — if they’re the greatest ever or the worst on the planet.”
Still, the Terps will have their work cut out for them this weekend, as they face a team that falls closer to “greatest ever” than “worst on the planet” on Watson’s scale.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins — the Bullis product who flipped from the Terps to the Buckeyes after the firing of coach Randy Edsall — has thrown for the third-most yards in the country. Even in the loss to Purdue, he went 49-for-73 with 470 yards and two touchdowns.
In yards per game, Texas is the best offense Maryland has faced so far this season, at No. 50 in the country. Ohio State ranks No. 8.
“They’re a good team,” quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome said. “Make sure everybody’s working hard, believing we can win, and going into the game with confidence.”
Any confidence the Terps have will be in spite of their roster being decimated by injuries. Pigrome will take over for Kasim Hill, who tore his ACL against the Hoosiers. Running back Ty Johnson is a game-time decision due to an injury suffered last week, which interim head coach Matt Canada didn’t elaborate on. Offensive lineman Terrance Davis will miss his second straight game.
Running back Javon Leake, wide receiver DJ Turner and defensive back Antwaine Richardson are also game-time decisions.
Responding to the doom and gloom from outsiders after the loss to Indiana, Canada pointed out that two games remain on the Terps’ schedule. And he’s not bothered by the fact that they’re against tough opponents nobody is giving his team a chance to beat.
Canada is no stranger to telling his players to ignore what everybody else is saying, whether in preparation for another practice, game or season. He doesn’t anticipate changing that tactic during what’s likely to be his final two weeks leading Maryland.
“We're not naive,” Canada said. “We understand what people are going to say. Everybody's been talking about us all year.”
So as the Terps take the field on Saturday, against a team they’ve gone 0-4 against since joining the Big Ten, they’ll look to the Boilermakers instead of the oddsmakers.
“Whether we’re favored or not, that doesn’t really matter,” Watson said. “I know Purdue wasn’t favored.”