Maryland v. Stanford
Levi’s Stadium — Santa Clara, CA
December 30, 2014 — 10:00 pm Eastern (ESPN)
Why You Should Watch
This certainly seems like a letdown game after the high-octane matchups in Nashville and Charlotte earlier in the day, but there are still things to like about the Tuesday nightcap. This bowl game is finally being played in a football stadium after over a decade at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the MLB Giants. Having a local team in the contest should help ticket sales, which should bolster the atmosphere in the stadium. The game also features a matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-12 for the first time since 2011 — the last time we’ll see these conferences play each other this season unless both Oregon and Ohio State make the CFP championship game. If you’re worried about getting too wired up before bedtime, don’t worry… this game shouldn’t feature too much offense, so you’re safe from scoreboard overload.
What Each Team Brings to the Table
The statistics make Maryland look more like a 3-9 team than a 7-5 squad. The results on the field show that the Terrapins were a few plays away from being a 9-3 squad playing for a 10th victory in their bowl game. Quarterback C.J. Brown led the team with 569 rushing yards, had five games with 60 or more yards, and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. That’s the nice way of distracting oneself from the reality that he completed just 53 percent of his passes and averaged less than 6.4 yards per attempt, with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Terps were 74th in passing and 106th in rushing offense, scoring 29 points per game. Their defense in turn allowed 29 points and nearly 440 yards per game to opposing offenses, making Maryland’s efforts this season just about a wash.
Stanford was far removed from the juggernaut that went to four straight BCS bowls, as the Cardinal lost five games for the first time since 2009. Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan regressed from last season’s performance, throwing for over a yard less per attempt and throwing for fewer yards and touchdowns despite taking nearly seven more attempts per game. The team also lacked a feature tailback, finishing 74th in rushing yards nationally. It led to some anemic performances on the scoreboard, as Stanford struggled its way to fewer than 26 points per game. The defense picked up the slack to allow the Cardinal to secure bowl eligibility, finishing the season with another top-five effort. Lance Anderson’s unit was second nationally in points allowed, holding opponents to just 16 points and 287 yards per game.
What is Likely to Happen
The only other time Maryland played in this bowl game, they lost 21-14 to Oregon State in 2007. Here’s guessing the Terrapins would love a scoreline like that by the end of Tuesday evening. Kevin Hogan will continue his resurgence after a stellar performance in the season finale against UCLA, and senior tailbacks Remound Wright and Kelsey Young will help extend drives on the ground. The Cardinal defense will finish off its business early, stifling a Terrapin offense that has proven itself to be anything but prolific against far weaker competition. David Shaw’s staff keeps Stanford from experiencing any letdown after a year of setbacks, as the team secures an eighth victory for the sixth straight season.
Stanford 27, Maryland 7