The Texas Longhorns visit the Maryland Terrapins for a 12-noon kickoff on Saturday, Sep 1. The Big 12 Longhorns start the season ranked 23rd in the nation. The Big Ten East Terrapins come into this game unranked. Last season, Maryland upset Texas 51-41. The Longhorns will be looking to avenge that loss and ruin the home opener for the Terrapins. Our 2018 college football Texas plays Maryland pick has the Longhorns at -13.5 and the over/under at 55.0.
Texas Offense vs Terrapin D
If the Longhorns can develop a solid ground game today, they could command this contest. Sophomore QB Sam Ehlinger, who performed well last season as he replaced the injured Shane Buechele. Ehlinger completed 64% of his passes for seven TDs and four picks. He has some premium receivers, like junior Collin Johnson, to toss to. Four starters return to an O-line that should have the power to open up running lanes and protect the QB. The rush attack, which was weak last year, may get a boost from freshman RB Keaontay Ingram. He’s got fine power and moves. Sophomore Daniel Young, who averaged 4.6 YPA last season and gained 373 yards, will also get a shot at the starting spot.
The Maryland defense from last season is depleted. And that’s not good news for a unit that was ranked last in the conference and 120th in the nation in 2017. This side of the ball gave up 37.1 PPG. They were not able to stop either the run nor the pass. In their 2017 opener, Jesse Aniebonam, now a senior, broke his foot. The year before he had 14 TFL and nine sacks. Aniebonam is back at BUCK. He could be a huge asset on D, and has the power to help bring this defense back into alignment. Senior FS Darnell Savage, who nailed 59 TKLs, had 8 PBU, and grabbed 3 INTs last season, is a seasoned vet, while junior NB Antoine Brooks is exceptionally versatile. In 2017, he recorded 77 TKLs, 8.5 TFL, and 2 INTs.
Maryland Offense vs Longhorn Defense
Maryland launches a new pro-style system this season. The Terrapin offense will feature either QB Kasin Hill or Tyrrell Pigrome. Both have been listed as co-starting quarterbacks. Hill tossed 21 passes last season completing 18, and his style seems suited for the team’s new pro-style offense. Pigrome was nine-of-12 in 2018. Senior RB Ty Johnson, who rushed for 875 YDs and 5 TDs, averaging 6.4 YPA, should perform well under the new system too. The O-line is improved over last year’s/ They include some quality recruits and returning vets. The big question is can the Terrapins improve over last year’s average of 24.1 PPG? That remains to be seen.
Last season, Texas’ defense finished third in the conference and 29th in the nation in points allowed, as they gave up 21.2 per game. The D was especially tough in stopping the run. In addition to that, Texas also led the conference in third-down defense and the nation in non-offensive touchdowns with seven. However, many of the players who were key to last year’s success on D are gone. Still, there’s good news as the Longhorns have recruited some of the best talent in the country. They also have some fine returning players, such as senior corner Kris Boyd and senior defensive ends Charles Omenihu and Breckyn Hager. These three will be key to the Longhorn D’s success.
2018 College Football Texas Plays Maryland Pick
We do think there will be a lot of points scored. Maybe not 92, as was the case last season, but over 55 looks good. Also, our 2018 college football Texas plays Maryland pick is going with the Longhorns at -13.5. They have something to prove today, and we do think their offense will prove it. Remember, this is an early one that starts at noon.