Maryland football lost its fourth straight game on Saturday, falling 28-7 at No. 18 Nebraska.
It wasn’t as severe a blowout as the disheartening losses to Michigan and Ohio State, but it was still lopsided. The Huskers outgained Maryland 401-207, picked up 28 first downs while surrendering just nine, and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes of game time.
The Terps couldn’t stop Nebraska’s offense, which was led by backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe. Maryland has now allowed at least 400 yards to four straight opponents.
Nebraska’s seniors owned the stage on senior day in Lincoln. Running back Terrell Newby scampered for three touchdowns on the ground, while Fyfe completed 23 of his 37 passes. The former walk-on finished with 220 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland rolled out a backup quarterback of its own—a fourth-stringer, in fact. In a surprise move, DJ Durkin started Max Bortenschlager under center. The true freshman hadn’t seen the field since the fourth quarter of Maryland’s season opener. Bortenschlager went 14-of-29 for 191 yards and one score.
It didn’t help that Maryland’s ground attack was as nonexistent as it’s been all season. The Terps only gained 11 yards on 25 carries. A lot of that is negative scrambles and sacks, but it’s still horrible. Ty Johnson led the team with 21 yards on seven attempts.
Nebraska scored on three of its four first-half drives to take a 21-0 lead into the locker room. Only a blocked field goal inside the 10-yard line separated the Huskers from scoring on every possession in the half. On the other side, Bortenschlager and Maryland could only muster 91 yards of offense.
The Huskers continued their dominance in the third quarter, holding Maryland to -11 yards. But early in the fourth, the Terps broke an 11-quarter touchdown drought on D.J. Moore’s 92-yard catch-and-run. That play more than doubled Maryland’s offensive output, which stood at a robust 88 yards before the snap. The Terps also played much better defense in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
The loss drops Maryland to 5-6, and the Terps’ last chance to achieve bowl eligibility comes in one week against Rutgers, who is quite bad. Maryland has severely stumbled to this point, but has a chance to redeem itself against a team that’s winless in Big Ten play.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s defense struggled when it mattered. Nebraska didn’t have a ton of big plays, but was 6-of-8 on third down in the first half, which led to the eventual four-score lead. Maryland is now 0-2 against former walk-on quarterbacks in their first career starts (the other loss came to Minnesota).
2. The Terps reached into the bag of trick plays again. Maryland faked a field goal in the first quarter and failed miserably, but rebounded with a successful fake punt in the second quarter. Wade Lees completed his first career pass to Kenneth Goins for a first down. Maryland still ended up punting on that drive, though.
3. The quarterback situation is in more flux than it’s ever been in. Bortenschlager hadn’t played in 11 weeks, while Tyrrell Pigrome and Caleb Rowe had both seen action backing up Perry Hills in recent games. At this point, there’s no reason to rule out any of the four slinging it against Rutgers.