Penn State will seek return on investment against Maryland when the teams meet in early November
Ohio State is still the team to catch up in the Big Ten East. But the order of finish behind the Buckeyes may be more difficult to predict this year.
Indiana is better. Michigan looks worse. Penn State won four games in 2020.
Are James Franklin’s Nittany Lions the second-best team in the division? It can be boiled down to how Penn State is performing against the first two Big Ten East teams it faces in November.
Our first look at the 2021 Lions schedule continues with a post-spring look at Terrapins and Wolverines.
Date of the match: November 6 in College Park, Maryland.
History of the series: Penn State leads 40-3-1.
Last meeting: Maryland defeated Penn State 35-19 at Beaver Stadium last season.
The Terps in 2020: Maryland was an inconsistent team, finishing 2-3. But the Terps put together a formidable 60-minute effort against Penn State, knocking out the Lions 35-19 at Beaver Stadium. The win is notable considering the Lions shutout Maryland 59-0 in 2019.
To note: Terps coach Mike Locksley is highly regarded as a recruiter and has added another five-star talent to the Maryland roster – linebacker Terrence Lewis.
Key personnel: QB Taulia Tagovailoa, wide receivers Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus, offensive lineman Jaelyn Duncan, defensive lineman Mosiah Nasili-Kite and defensive backs Nick Cross and Tarheeb Still.
How good are they ?: Locksley, a highly regarded recruiter, improves Maryland’s talent base and he has a pair of dangerous offensive threats to Tagovailoa and Jarrett. Did the Terps surprise Penn State last season or was the 2020 result a sign of things to come? The PSU-Maryland reunion in early November is one of Lions’ most exciting competitions in the fall.
Date of the match: November 13 at Beaver Stadium.
History of the series: Michigan leads 14-10.
Last meeting: Penn State beat the Wolverines 27-17 last season in Ann Arbor.
Wolverines in 2020: Michigan’s performance has been disappointing, and the program has been affected by COVID-19 issues. MU’s 2-4 record included losses in all three home games and it could have been worse – the Wolverines did not play at Ohio State last year.
To note: Two new faces could have a major impact on Wolverines fortunes: new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and Texas Tech transfer quarterback Zach Bowman. Michigan has struggled with quarterbacks since Jim Harbaugh arrived and Macdonald, who coached with the Baltimore Ravens last season, replaced veteran defensive coordinator Don Brown.
Key personnel: Running back Hassan Haskins, offensive linemen Zak Zinter, Ryan Hayes and Andrew Stueber, quarterback Cade McNamara, wide receiver Ronnie Bell, defensive lineman Aiden Hutchinson and linebacker Josh Ross.
How good are they ?: A two-game winning season in 2020 is obviously the low point for Harbaugh since arriving before the 2015 season. The Wolverines can’t beat Ohio State and Penn State has won three of the last four games against UM. Coming out of spring, the Wolverines look like a midfield team in the Big Ten East.
A LOOK AT PENN STATE OPPONENTS FOR 2021
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Penn State’s 2021 schedule includes prime-time showdown with talented SEC foe
Penn State kicks off 2021 Big Ten schedule with two teams that beat Lions in 2020
A road trip in the state of Ohio will be the biggest test of Penn State’s 2021 calendar. Will the Lions be ready?