Maryland football didn’t have much success through the air Saturday against Penn State —a 66-yard screen touchdown to running back Ty Johnson was more than half of the Terps’ passing offense — but the team’s been getting its wide receivers involved in other ways.
Wide receiver Teldrick Morgan, a graduate transfer from New Mexico State, provided the team’s second-biggest play of the day: a 29-yard run in the first quarter.
His eyes were focused on one thing:
“The end zone,” he said. “I was trying to run for it. I just wanted to score.”
That play doesn’t seem especially notable on its own, but it’s emblematic of Morgan’s increased role in Maryland’s offense. He’s immediately become someone who makes this offense go, whether it’s on the ground or through the air.
Morgan is Maryland’s second-leading receiver behind sophomore D.J. Moore, and he’ll be a necessary part of this team’s offense if it wants to rebound from its first loss of the season. With fellow senior DeAndre Lane missing some time with a concussion, Morgan’s grabbed his chance and is now fourth on the team in all-purpose yards. He isn’t listed as a starter this week against Minnesota, but that shouldn’t matter. Maryland regularly rotates up to five wideouts in any given game, and you can bet Morgan will get just about as many snaps as anyone else.
“Having him do that is like a new weapon on the field because he can run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield,” Moore said.
Penn State was able to shut down every facet of Maryland’s passing attack, and Morgan was no exception. He had two catches, one for an eight-yard gain and one for a loss of five. Still, he’s one of the best options this team has.
|Catch Rate||Success Rate||Target
|D.J. Moore||WR||5'11, 215||SO||27||17||239||2||14.1||8.9||63.0%||40.7%||27.0%|
|Teldrick Morgan||WR||6'0, 190||SR||18||15||178||2||11.9||9.9||83.3%||61.1%||18.0%|
|DeAndre Lane||WR||5'7, 175||SR||12||8||98||0||12.3||8.2||66.7%||41.7%||12.0%|
|Levern Jacobs||WR||5'11, 185||SR||9||3||20||0||6.7||2.2||33.3%||22.2%||9.0%|
|Ty Johnson||RB||5'10, 205||SO||7||7||113||1||16.1||16.1||100.0%||57.1%||7.0%|
|Malcolm Culmer||WR||5'11, 192||SR||5||2||10||0||5.0||2.0||40.0%||20.0%||5.0%|
While he trails Moore in catches, he’s hauling in a much greater percentage of the passes thrown his way. He’s also been involved in more ways than just about anyone on the offense. Here he is taking a shovel pass for a score against Purdue:
Morgan made a name for himself right when he got to College Park. He had to go up against Maryland’s talented secondary right away, and the former All-Sun Belt wideout made a name for himself.
“He came in pretty much on fire,” cornerback Will Likely said. “Everything’s starting to come together in games, but we see it every day in practice. He’s one of the great receivers we have.”
Morgan was pretty much exclusively a wide receiver in his three seasons at New Mexico State, but he’s returned to a role similar to the one he played at Meade High School in Hanover, Md.
“I’ve been a running back before in high school, so I’m pretty much used to it,” he said. “I can make the transition.
“I definitely enjoy it. The way they use me right now, it’s good.”
Morgan still lines up on the outside much more often than he does in the backfield. Here he is, also against Purdue, making a diving catch for his touchdown in a Maryland uniform. Morgan says he came home for the opportunity to play in front of his family, and his parents were there to watch this score:
He’s only been with the team since this summer, and he’s still adjusting to a new town, new school and new culture. He’s also had to familiarize himself with Maryland’s new offense. While most of his teammates got to start learning the new scheme in February, Morgan had to play catch-up a little bit when he got to school this summer.
“My comfort’s not where it needs to be yet, for me personally, but I feel like I’m growing every week and that’s the good thing for me,” he said.
“It’s definitely harder, coming here, but it’s working out.”