Game 7: Football at Maryland
COUTING RUTGERS The Scarlet Knights return to the road after playing their last three games at HighPoint.com Stadium. RU will play three times at home and three times away in the second half of its schedule, with the trek to College Park the shortest of the remaining trips. Last time out, Rutgers put together a 12-play drive over 6:15 that concluded with a 32-yard touchdown run by graduate student Jonathan Hilliman to take a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, but Illinois posted the next three scores to pull ahead, 24-7. Freshman Artur Sitkowski then engineered a touchdown drive to close the first half, going 9-for-9 passing, with sophomore Travis Vokolek hauling in a seven-yard scoring pass to cut it to 24-14. After a scoreless third quarter, the Fighting Illini added two touchdowns in the final period and went away with a 38-17 victory. Sitkowski finished with 29 completions and 267 passing yards on the day for his best marks to date. The 29 completions, which were spread to eight different receivers, were the most ever by an RU true freshman quarterback in a game and the most overall since Mike Teel registered 32 in 2007 versus Connecticut. The yardage total ended as the most through the air for the Scarlet Knights over the last three seasons. The rookie signal caller now has 750 passing yards on the season. Hilliman is up to five rushing touchdowns in 2018 to rank fourth in the Big Ten. The running back has 31 in his career on 674 carries, which sits eighth and second among active FBS players, respectively. Sophomore Raheem Blackshear paces the offense with 78 carries and 25 receptions, being eighth in the league with 106.2 all-purpose yards per game. In the passing game, sophomore Bo Melton added six catches for 70 against Illinois, both career highs, to tie senior Jerome Washington with 202 receiving yards on the season. Freshman Eddie Lewis joins Blackshear and Melton with at least one reception in each outing this year. The defense posted eight tackles-for-loss against the Fighting Illini, including sacks by junior Damon Hayes and redshirt freshman Mike Tverdov. The team has 36 stops in the backfield through six games after having 23 at the same point last season. Sophomore Elorm Lumor owns five TFLs, with senior Kevin Wilkins at 3.5. In the secondary, Hayes has two interceptions and senior Saquan Hampton has collected five pass breakups. Sophomore Justin Davidovicz is 5-for-5 on field goals after converting from 20 yards last week. He previously connected from 52 versus Indiana and is one of two Big Ten kickers perfect on the year with at least five attempts. Sophomore Adam Korsak has boomed four punts at least 50 yards with an average of 42.2. In addition, the kickoff unit leads the Big Ten with a net average of 42.2 yards and ranks second nationally with only 14.80 yards allowed per return. SCOUTING MARYLAND Coming off a bye, the Terrapins took a 42-21 loss at No. 15 Michigan last Saturday. Ty Johnson had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the game, as Maryland added two rushing scores. Kasim Hill is 47-of-86 passing for 578 yards on the season, while Anthony McFarland (325) and Johnson (303) are both over 300 rushing yards. DJ Turner paces the receiving corps with 159 yards. The team has scored on all 11 trips to the red zone and surrendered only four turnovers, tied for first in the Big Ten. Defensively, Tre Watson owns a team-high 49 tackles.