Maryland football’s second game of 2016 followed the same formula as its first. The Terps easily dispatched Florida International, 41-14, in Miami on Friday night.
After blowing out FCS opponent Howard 52-13 at home last week, Maryland only had a slightly tougher time against FIU.
Perry Hills was once again spot-on, going 13-for-18 through the air for 210 yards and three touchdowns. He almost never attempted passes down the field against Howard, but he aired it out a little more against FIU. He answered FIU’s first touchdown only 84 seconds after it happened with a 45-yard bomb to D.J. Moore. Just like in Week 1, Tyrrell Pigrome relieved him, but didn’t have any highlight-reel runs this time around. Maryland’s running backs combined for 238 yards, ripping off 10 rushes of over 10 yards, compared to just four by FIU.
Maryland’s defense provided the game’s first touchdown. Alvin Hill tipped a pass intended for Thomas Owens, and it ended up in the hands of Jermaine Carter Jr., who took it 14 yards to the house to make it 10-0 Maryland. Carter was a thorn in FIU’s side all game, adding eight tackles, including one sack.
The Golden Panthers excelled on the ground, but it didn’t matter. Running back Alex Gardner had over 100 yards in the first half, but the Panthers balanced that with only 57 yards passing. Starting quarterback Alex McGough came off with an injury after Carter’s interception, returning for a few plays at the end of the half before leaving permanently. Dual-threat quarterback Maurice Alexander came in as McGough’s replacement and performed solidly, going 9-for-18.
Maryland came out slinging from the get-go. After Hills completed a third-down pass to Moore, the team ran a reverse pass from Moore to Hills on the very next play, good for a 21-yard gain.
Freshman Lorenzo Harrison scored a rushing touchdown for the second straight game, juking some defenders and turning a one-yard loss into a 40-yard touchdown. The Terps took a 31-7 lead into the second half, and still outscored the Panthers in the final 30 minutes.
Maryland is now 2-0, and neither win has been close. Not that they should have been, considering Howard is an FCS team and FIU is the No. 113 team in the country, according to S&P+. But the Terps won by more than anyone projected them to. That’s progress.
Three things to know
- JC Jackson is here. After he sat out the Terps’ first game with an academic issue, Jackson made his Maryland debut Friday. He got beat once in the rain, but he had one pass defensed and played lockdown coverage for most of the night.
- Maryland is 2-0. Yes, this win came against a not-so-good FIU team, but this was a very good sign. Remember, FIU was leading Indiana heading into the fourth quarter last week. That’ll be a fun thing to remember when the Terps go to Bloomington in October.
- Maryland’s coming right back. The Terps will return to Florida next Saturday to play UCF for the opportunity to start the season 3-0. The Knights should be a tougher opponent than FIU, but the Maryland should still be favored to win.