C.J. Brown scored the most touchdowns for a Terrapin in a decade and Maryland's defense held their opponent to 171 total yards as the Maryland Terrapins cruised to a 43-10 opening victory against the FIU Golden Panthers in College Park.
Brown, who had not played since November 2011, scored five total touchdowns - all in the first half - the most for any Terrapin since Scott McBrien in 2003. Brown finished the day 20/23 for 281 yards and three touchdowns, while running eleven times for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown's much-hyped receiving corps lived up to their reputation, as newcomer Deon Long caught nine passes for 110 yards and a score, while Stefon Diggs caught five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown of his own (while putting together 194 total yards).
At the half, Maryland had outgained FIU by a margin of 399-59, and were leading 40-10.
Diggs started things out in typical fashion with a 40-yard kick return, making his way through five Panther defenders. The drive stalled near the goalline, and Brad Craddock hit a 20-yard field goal to take the 3-0 lead. Alex Twine and Abner Logan were able to force a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, with Isaac Goins recovering in the red zone. Craddock made another short field goal - this time from 25 yards out - and Maryland took a 6-0 lead.
FIU were the recipients of good field position on their first drive after a Will Likely muffed punt, but Darius Kilgo made stops on all three plays of the drive (including one sack), forcing a three-and-out. Sergio Sroka made a 32-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 6-3.
From there, it was all Maryland. On second-and-seven, Maryland introduced a new wrinkle to their offense - the triple option zone read. Brown faked the hand-off to Brandon Ross and pitched it outside to Diggs, who ran 26 yards for the first down. Two plays later, Brown was able to dodge an oncoming rusher and find Deon Long on the sideline for a 27-yard pass. On the very next play, Brown excellently sold the zone read to Ross before running 29 yards untouched down the sideline for the score and the 13-3 lead.
After another FIU three-and-out, Maryland faced third-and-six near midfield. Diggs made an incredible catch on a pass behind him and was able to evade two defenders on his way to a first down. Two plays later, on the first play of the second quarter, Brown found Long on a 25-yard fade to the end zone for the easy touchdown an a 20-3 lead.
FIU was able to capitalize on good field possession for a second time, as they scored a touchdown after a sack forced a fumble from Brown. It would be the last score for the Panthers in the game.
On Maryland's next drive, Brown kept a zone read and ran 64 yards down the left sideline. On the very next play, showing no signs of fatigue, Brown found a wide-open Kenneth Goins (the newly minted starting fullback) for a 17-yard score on a play-action rollout.
After another three-and-out from FIU, Brown found Diggs for a touchdown on another play-action fake. Diggs was left wide open, and even stumbled for five or so yards without anyone even coming close to him. The play ran for a 66-yard touchdown, giving Maryland a 33-10 lead.
Maryland's defense forced another three-and-out, and Brown started Maryland's ensuing drive with a 20-yard pass to Long. Brown was able to score his fifth and final touchdown of the game later in the drive, on an 11-yard touchdown run.
Late in the third quarter, Caleb Rowe came in for C.J. Brown at quarterback. True freshmen Will Likely, Yannick Ngakoue, Moise Larose and Jacquille Veii all saw time in the game. Rowe completed 5/6 passes for 44 yards, and Veii ran eight times for 53 yards - making him the second-leading rusher to Brown on the team.
Dexter McDougle made a fantastic interception on a pass from backup FIU quarterback E.J. Hilliard. McDougle tipped the ball while in coverage, fell on his back and was able to make the grab on the ground.
Lorne Goree led all defenders with ten tackles on the day. Tied for second on the team were Cole Farrand, Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, and Quinton Jefferson with seven. Cudjoe-Virgil, Jefferson, Marcus Whitfield, Roman Braglio and Andre Monroe all contributed sacks on the day.