Stanford's #2 Defense hold clear favorites against a team who has struggled while facing 4 of the Top 10 defenses this year. Maryland is actually Bowl Season's largest underdog, at -14 in Santa Clara. This is compounded by the fact they are playing just miles away from Stanford's campus, and are one of the farthest traveling teams to their respective bowl game. The difference between the team's commutes is easily the largest this bowl season as well. Both teams are coming from two very different situations; Stanford Up and Maryland Down. C.J Brown and crew lost a home game vs Rutgers that saw them unable to hold a 25-point lead, as they fell 41-38. Stanford, meanwhile, defeated their rivals Cal for another year before ending UCLA's dream at a Pac12 title shot a week later 31-10.
Diggs In, Montgomery Out
Maryland's top WR Stefon Diggs is coming back from a kidney injury after nearly two months away. Despite missing all of that time, he is tops on the team with 654 yards on 52 receptions and 5 TDs. Ty Montgomery, Hogan's go-to wideout, is out. Luckily, Stanford has a good bit of talented targets to shore up the loss. Devon Cajuste, Austin Hooper, Michael Rector and Christian McCaffrey all have over 200 yards gained through the air this year.
Will Maryland gain any real yards on the ground?
Stanford has allowed only 3.2 yards per carry and 111 total yards on average in a game, good for 11th. The Terrapins rushing offense is 105th... this makes one awful mismatch. Maryland's passing has been quite good this year, but Stanford's Pass D is even better than their Rush D (7th in the country)
Stanford has their win insured in their Rush
Remound Wright, Kelsey Young, Barry Sanders all have 300+ yards this year. A plethora of great running backs rotating may key up an easy and rather quick win for Stanford, especially given Stanford phenomenal O Line
-Can Maryland show up? Everything seems to be working against them, but that has yet to stop any team so far this Bowl Season. CJ Brown will obviously need to step up, and he has a good chance of doing just that.
-Maryland could FG the Cardinal to death. If the Terps are just efficient enough, and their fantastic special teams can help them out, Brad Craddock could hit 4 or 5 to bolster a limited offense. Kevin Hogan will need to lay an egg and Maryland will need to play inspired, but it's not impossible.
Stanford 23, Maryland 19
A few missed FG, a safety, and 3 rushing TDs for the Cardinal, while Maryland gets 1TD and 4FGs. Maryland is a few huge plays away from the biggest upset in this Bowl Season, and they know it.