College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Maryland vs. Illinois 9/17/2021 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

Maryland visits Illinois on 9/17/2021 at 9:00PM.

Maryland and Illinois face off in a regular season matchup. Games are on campuses and crowds are full once again! Maryland sports a record of 2-0 this season. Illinois is 1-1 this season. Enough preamble… Let’s get to the preview…



Maryland Team Defense Preview

Maryland has had 26 total defensive drives this season and they yield 4.27 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Maryland are not a team that allows many plays per drive. The defense either gives up big plays quickly or induces a lot of three-and-outs, we shall find out more. Third and long situations are common against this season ‘s defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Maryland opponents passes the football 68.47% of the time.They are a team that faces a lot of Air Raid Offenses.

Maryland opponents have had struggled with running the ball and the defense crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line up and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback against this season ‘s defense, they are mistaken. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.84 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average defense when it comes to how offensive lines control or fail to control them on the ground. This is a team that is getting gashed too much for the tastes of their base. Linebackers are not stopping the bleeding well enough. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect them to give up big rushing plays.

Disruptive plays are a part of the fabric of this team’s defensive effort. Game changing plays that drive Offensive Coordinators and Quarterbacks crazy, they find ways to deliver. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Maryland has had shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season .

Maryland Team Offense Preview

Maryland has had 27 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.93 plays per drive. Maryland run a lot of plays per drive and this could wear an opposing defense down. Maryland has had shown a capability to be explosive on first and second down to avoid third downs and has had converted well (relatively) on 3rd and 4th Down situations. Passing plays are 44.38% of their play calls.Relatively speaking, this is a team that favors run/pass balance.

Maryland struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 3.1 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average offensive line as far as their ability to set up the running game. This is also a team that is getting to the second-level in an average fashion. Offensive line and running backs are average in this regard. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this season ‘s team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Maryland Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Maryland is a better passing team than running team this season .

Illinois Team Defense Preview

Illinois has had 38 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.82 plays per drive. Illinois’s opponents run a lot of plays per drive and this leads to fatigue in the Fourth Quarter. Illinois has had shown an inability to stop defenses from converting on 4th Downs and they let opponents get into manageable 3rd Down situations where an RPO may be especially deadly. Passing plays are 47.96% of their opponents’ play calls.Opponents typically have had some form of run/pass balance against them.

This is a pushover defense. Not enough push from the Defensive Line and not enough imagination from the Defensive Coordinator to cause chaos in the backfield.Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 3.37 yards per carry. Their defense gives offensive lines too much control over them on the ground, too much push from the opposing offensive line. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. They are capable of giving up a long run, which is really demoralizing when the opposing team has the ball deep in their own territory.

This Defense has had average success disrupting the flow of the opposing offense. Their front seven is simply unable to make an impact, something must change or else the problems will repeat. Illinois is better at stopping the run than the pass this season .

Illinois Team Offense Preview

Illinois has had 38 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.63 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run , but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Illinois is an average offense as far as staying ahead of the chains, getting into 3rd and Short scenarios, and converting on 3rd and 4th Down. Passing plays are 52.34% of their play calls.Illinois passes more than other teams.

On first downs, getting ahead of the chains is crucial and running the ball well on first down can get a team there, Illinois has had done a good job avoiding the negative yardage rushing plays. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 3.2 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average offensive line as far as their ability to set up the running game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. With a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, breakout rushing plays are possible, but it is not something to count on from them.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Illinois Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Illinois is a better running team than passing team this season .

The Maryland Roster

The Players to Watch for Maryland

Taulia Tagovailoa QB 5’11” 205 Sophomore

Last season, Taulia Tagovailoa put up 606 yards, tossed 6 touchdowns, and he threw 0 interceptions. He threw deep and medium passes to receivers more often than not. His average completed pass was 9.6 yards. The zone read is a common part of the offense and mobility is used as part of the offense, but not necessarily the focus of the offense. His average rush was 1.1 yards.

Tayon Fleet-Davis RB 6’0″ 220 Senior

Last season, Tayon Fleet-Davis had 189 rushing yards on 26 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He had 1 rushing touchdowns. He is considered one of the workhorse running backs of College Football returning this season. His average rush was 7.3 yards. He is a consistent option in the passing game considering that he is a running back. When he catches a pass, he generates on average 7.3 yards.

Dontay Demus Jr. WR 6’3″ 217 Junior

Last season, Dontay Demus Jr. picked up 261 yards through the air. He caught the ball 12 times last season. He reached the end zone 2 times. He is a go-to in the passing game. When he catches a pass, he generates on average 21.8 yards.

Sam Okuayinonu DL 6’1″ 290 Senior

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Maryland, Sam Okuayinonu, had 6 tackles last season. Among Defensive Tackles/Nose Tackles, he was clogging the gaps and playing disruptive proving he is one of the best at forcing lost yardage, he had 2 tackles for loss last season. He was among the best at disrupting things up the middle and getting to QBs, he had 2 sacks last season.

Nick Cross DB 6’1″ 210 Sophomore

The leading tackler among Defensive Backs for Maryland, Nick Cross, had 6 tackles last season. He forced 0 tackles for loss last season. He was among the best at disrupting things up the middle and getting to QBs, he had 1.0 sacks last season.

The Illinois Roster

The Players to Watch for Illinois

Artur Sitkowski QB 6’5″ 225 Sophomore

Last season, Artur Sitkowski put up 579 yards, tossed 6 touchdowns, and he threw 1 interceptions. He tends to throw shorter length passes, he’d be accused of being too safe or not being trusted by his coaches. His average completed pass was 6.0 yards. He was considered one of the most mobile Quarterbacks in the country last season, designed runs and zone read looks are common. His average rush was 2.4 yards.

Mike Epstein RB 6’0″ 205 Junior

Last season, Mike Epstein had 107 rushing yards on 25 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He had 1 rushing touchdowns. He is considered one of the workhorse running backs of College Football returning this season. His average rush was 4.3 yards. He was relied upon as a receiver in their offense last season. When he catches a pass, he generates on average 4.3 yards.

Isaiah Williams WR 5’10” 180 Freshman

Last season, Isaiah Williams picked up 183 yards through the air. He caught the ball 19 times last season. He reached the end zone 1 times. He is a go-to in the passing game. When he catches a pass, he generates on average 9.6 yards.

Roderick Perry DL 6’2″ 315 Senior

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Illinois, Roderick Perry, had 7 tackles last season. Among Defensive Tackles/Nose Tackles, he was clogging the gaps and playing disruptive proving he is one of the best at forcing lost yardage, he had 2 tackles for loss last season. He was among the best at disrupting things up the middle and getting to QBs, he had 1 sacks last season.

Devon Witherspoon DB 6’0″ 170 Sophomore

The leading tackler among Defensive Backs for Illinois, Devon Witherspoon, had 20 tackles last season. Among Defensive Backs, he was very active and disruptive in the backfield, he had 3 tackles for loss last season. He was a non-factor as far as sacking Quarterbacks was concerned last season.

Maryland vs. Illinois Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Maryland 23 Illinois 20

Spread Pick: Illinois +7.5 -107 BetOnline Get Up to a Grand in Your Hand Now!
Moneyline Pick: Maryland -290 BetAnySports
Under Pick: Under 61 -102 BetOnline Get Up to a Grand in Your Hand Now!