By Justin Meyer
Maryland will take on two-loss Michigan State this Saturday at 8 p.m. in what will be the first night game at Byrd Stadium since Oct. 15, 2011. Coming off of a bye week and an away victory against Penn State, the Terps will be riding a high heading into the clash with the Spartans, who experienced a disappointing home loss in their last game against Ohio State. However, there is one problem for Maryland: Stefon Diggs won’t be playing.
After making contact with an official’s face in a pregame skirmish in the game against Penn State, the Big Ten Conference suspended Diggs for the Michigan State game. Maryland’s star junior wide receiver is a huge part of the offense, leading the team in receptions (52), receiving yards (654) and touchdowns (5). He is second in the Big Ten in receptions, fifth in receiving yards and his average of 130.6 all-purpose yards per game is fifth best in the conference.
At the time of the incident, the officials for the game against Penn State had the choice to either throw Diggs out of the game or give Maryland a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. They chose the penalty, allowing Diggs to play the game. Sophomore Finance and Supply Chain Management Major Joey Kader said that by suspending Diggs for the Michigan State game, he was penalized twice.
“If it was going to happen it should have been for the game where it occurred,” Kader said. “I think he was double penalized because I don’t think anything else happened during the game that would have warranted a suspension.”
Sophomore Computer Science Major Jack Cox said he thinks the suspension is deserved.
“No one should act in a way that leads to contact with a game official,” Cox said. “His behavior was unacceptable no matter what. At the end of the day, athletes are still students and represent the university.”
He said the suspension sets an example.
“It sets an example for behavior for a level they should never exceed or go to,” he explained. “It lets athletes know if they behave in an unprofessional manner when visible to the public, they’ll be held accountable. It sets an example for players on the field to not act like fools.”
Kader said Maryland is going to have to drastically change their game plan now without Diggs on the field.
“Diggs is the only player good enough to make plays against Michigan State,” he explained. “We’re losing a player who’s probably going to be drafted in the top 10 to 15 picks in the NFL Draft. We’re not going to be able to run the ball and our best wide receiver is going to be out of the game, so our game plan is going to have to become more field position than big plays.”
Kader said he wouldn’t expect Maryland to win even with Diggs, but without him he doesn’t foresee the Terps have any chance.
“I expect complete annihilation,” Kader said. “Our offense won’t be able to do anything against Michigan State without our best player and their offense is still better than our defense. At least it wouldn’t be a complete blowout with him, or if it was we would have a chance to come back.”