Foster Farms Bowl Preview: Stanford vs. Maryland

The Maryland Terrapins enter Tuesday’s Foster Farms Bowl game as the largest underdog in the remaining bowl games as they square of against the Stanford Cardinal. Both teams arrive at the Dec. 30 contest with 7-5 records and an opportunity to end their respective 2014 seasons on a high note. In their first year as a member of the Big 10, Maryland shocked many around the conference, topping some of the premier teams in the league.  Meanwhile, Stanford finished a disappointing 5-4 in the PAC-12 and fell to some of the nation’s finest, yet displayed why they had previously made two consecutive Rose Bowl appearances.

6th year senior C.J. Brown led an extremely versatile Terrapin’s offense that featured seven wide receivers with over ten catches as well as six players with over ten carries. Brown’s main weapon, however, was wide out Stefon Diggs. Despite missing the final two contests of the regular season, the do-it-all receiver caught 52 passes for 654 yards, but it’s his play making ability in the return game that separates him from other players. Diggs’ status remains a major question mark entering the contest and will remain a game-time decision.

If Diggs is unable to play, the Terps may struggle to produce offense against one of the stingiest defenses in the country. In the brutal PAC-12, the Cardinal defense allowed an average of 16 points per game, and Maryland must find a way to put points on the board if they hope to stay with Stanford.

While Maryland is awaiting a decision on Diggs, Cardinal head coach David Shaw announced that wide receiver Ty Montgomery will miss the contest due to a lingering shoulder injury. At times this season, Montgomery had been the entire Cardinal offense and his absence applies more pressure on quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan, a three-year starter, hasn’t had the 2014 season he had hoped for, but showed glimpses of why he led Stanford to the past two Rose Bowls. In the team’s five loses, Hogan threw just two touchdowns compared to three interceptions, and if he is able to manage the game while converting key third-down plays, the Cardinal offense will dominate a poor Terrapins’ defense.

Bottom Line: The Maryland Terrapins have not been able to compete with the top teams in the Big Ten conference. On the other hand, the Stanford Cardinal have been among the PAC-12 finest and should have no problems covering the 14 point spread. Maryland will not be able to contain the powerful running attack and the consistent passing of Hogan, and if the Terps hope to have any chance of winning, they must force turnovers and win the special teams battle.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Maryland 14


*Section Photo credit to Rob Carr, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports. 

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