Storylines for Indiana’s game at Maryland #iufb

1. Maryland can’t stop turning the ball over.
Indiana might be pick off a couple passes simply by showing up. Maryland is among the nation’s worst teams when it comes to taking care of the ball. It’s such a problem that interim coach Mike Locksley said on this week’s Big Ten teleconference that the team’s inability to hold on to the ball — especially in the passing game — is affecting the way he calls games. For instance, rather than take a shot on third down, Maryland might try to keep the ball on the ground. The Terps have 28 interceptions this year and are averaging a pick for every 11 pass attempts on the the year.

2. Watch out for Will Likely.
Likely is arguably the Big Ten’s most explosive player through his prowess in the return game, in the defensive backfield, and most recently, on offense. Likely has started a game on both sides of the ball already one time this season, and he has eight career touchdowns (four punt returns, two kick returns and two interception returns). Likely picked off IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld last season in Bloomington, and Sudfeld said this week he’ll need to be mindful at all times of Likely’s presence in the defensive backfield. IU will hope a few Griffin Oakes touchbacks will take Likely out of the kickoff game, and it will need to avoid him in punt situations, too.

3. IU’s rushing attack is finding its stride.
The Hoosiers ran all over Iowa and Michigan — two of the nation’s top rush defenses — in back-to-back weeks and will now look to spin that momentum forward for consecutive road trips. Maryland has been playing better and tighter defense during the last month, and has not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott ran for 106 yards on Oct. 10. Over his last two games, Jordan Howard has produced 412 rushing yards, while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. As good as Howard has been, he owes a ton of credit to the Hoosiers offensive line. Left tackle Jason Spriggs may have played his best game of the season last week against the Wolverines.

4. Hoosiers must keep their eyes on the ground.
Maryland quarterback Perry Hills won’t — or, at least, he shouldn’t — beat Indiana through the air. Hills is at his best while working through the read-option. He enters the weekend as the Terps’ leading rusher with 542 yards and averages 77.4 per game. He has three 100-yard rushing efforts this year, including a Maryland quarterback-record 170-yard performance at Ohio State on Oct. 10. Indiana has struggled at times when opposing quarterbacks take off. Michigan’s Jake Rudock rushed for 64 yards last week, following the lead of Michigan State’s Connor Cook, who picked his spots and found success against IU three weeks earlier.