Maryland (6-7 in 2016) at No. 23 Texas (5-7), Saturday Noon ET (TV-FS1, DFW Radio 1080 KRLD)
Line: Texas by 18½.
Series record: Texas leads 3-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Tom Herman makes his debut as the Texas head coach. After three straight losing seasons under Charlie Strong, Herman is getting paid more than $5 million per year to turn things around fast. He seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt with a No. 23 ranking despite a roster short on depth. Maryland could spoil everything with an upset road win. The Terps were a bowl team last season.
KEY MATCHUP: Maryland RB Ty Johnson against Texas DT Poona Ford. Johnson ran for 1,016 yards last season and Maryland’s ability to push the line of scrimmage against an underwhelming Texas defensive front could set the tone. Ford, undersized but solid at 5-foot-11, 300 pounds, is the rock in the middle and has been named a team captain. Texas needs him to be disruptive.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Maryland: QB Tyrrell Pigrome. He gets the nod to make his second-career start. Small and an elusive runner at 5-foot-11, 196 pounds, his agility and mobility will be key to keeping the Texas defense off balance. His longest pass last season covered 31 yards late in a blowout loss to Minnesota
Texas: RB Kyle Porter. He’s the starter but it could have just easily been battering ram Chris Warner, whose injury troubles cropped up again in training camp with a concussion. Both will play, but Porter, who ran for 205 yards last season, earned the chance to be the feature back after the Longhorns lost 2,000-yard rusher D’Onte Foreman to the NFL.
FACTS & FIGURES
Texas hasn’t lost a home opener since 1999 when Herman was a graduate assistant with the Longhorns … Neither of these teams have much depth. Texas has 18 sophomores or freshmen on its two-deep roster, and Maryland has 28 … Texas’ 16-21 run since 2014 was the worst three-year run in school history. The Longhorns are still paying Strong more than $4 million each of the next two seasons as part of his guaranteed contract.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)