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Purdue schedule ranking: No. 10 Maryland

Anthony McFarland is part of a deep running back unit in College Park, Md.
Anthony McFarland is part of a deep running back unit in College Park, Md. (USA Today)

10. Maryland, at West Lafayette, October 12 is counting down the "easiest" to "hardest" games of 2019.

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You hate to call any contest a “must win.” But, really, Purdue needs to topple a rebuilding Terrapin squad when it visits for Homecoming.

Former Illinois OC Mike Locksley is in his first season in College Park, Md.,, taking over a program that is in a bit of flux. "Locks" arrives with the fresh scent of Nick Saban on him, having served as OC in Tuscaloosa in 2018. But calling plays for five-star recruits at Bama is a whole lot different than running the Maryland program.

Locksley is on familiar turf. He is a Maryland native who has had two stints on the Terrapin staff. And he is famous for his recruiting magic in the "DMV." But how good of a coach is Locksley? In his only run as a head coach--at New Mexico from 2009-11--Locksley was an abomination, going 2-26. If that wasn't bad enough, Locksley mixed in off-field tumult, too.

This is a program still convalescing from the death of Jordan McNair last year that stirred the school and the nation. And it cost DJ Durkin his job. Perhaps Maryland should have turned to a proven head coach to help calm the waters in College Park. Stay tuned.

Maryland has some talent, especially at running back. Anthony McFarland will be one of the Big Ten's best runners. And there are some nice wideouts. But there could be a new quarterback: Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson. While the offense has potential, a defense that gave up 390.4 yards and 28.7 points per game in 2018 is a worry. There is a lack of size along the front seven. Gulp.

Purdue has met Maryland just one time since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten. It was a humiliating defeat for the Boilermakers, who got pantsed 50-7 in College Park in 2016 in the dying days of the Darrell Hazell era. Maryland's offense was like a hot knife through Purdue's buttery defense that day, shredding the Boilermakers for 400 yards rushing while Purdue mustered just 10 yards rushing.

The only other meeting vs. Maryland also was embarrassing, as Purdue was manhandled by a physical Ralph Friedgen team 24-7 in the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. The Terps beat up the Boilers, running for 206 yards compared to 21 for Purdue.

Bottom line: Truth be told, Maryland may be the "easiest" game on the schedule. Some feel the Terps will struggle to win a game all season. What's it all mean? Alumni could have a good time at Homecoming in October playing a Maryland program that is the epitome of "in transition." The Boilermakers need to win this game ... and should with a degree of ease.

Series: 2-0, Maryland

Last Purdue win: never

Last Maryland win: 2016, 50-7 at Maryland

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