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Maryland football shifts its focus to UCF coming off a bye week

This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

NCAA Football: Towson at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football is back in action following a bye week, and the Terps cap nonconference play with a home matchup with Central Florida.

Maryland is 2-0 with wins over Texas and Towson, while UCF won its opener against Florida International before the Knights had to cancel its last two contests due to Hurricane Irma.

Last season, the Terps pushed their record to 3-0 against the Knights with a walkoff touchdown from Tyrell Pigrome in double-overtime. This season, there’s a different freshman quarterback under center, but Maryland hopes the outcome is the same.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Terps in action, but things seem to be in a good place.

Maryland vs. Towson — What we saw

  1. An explosive offense, even with a true freshman quarterback. It was the first extended look at Kasim Hill as the starting quarterback, and the offense didn’t miss a beat. He went 13-for-16 with 163 yards and two scores through the air, and Maryland had no issue getting the ball to its top weapons, namely Ty Johnson and D.J. Moore. A cavalcade of eight rushers combined for 367 yards and six scores, which is impressive no matter the opponent. In all, the Terps racked up 534 yards and 63 points against the Tigers, pulling the starters near the end of the third.
  2. A mostly solid defense. Save for a quarter against Towson, the Terps were solid on the defensive end. Maryland will have to hope its second quarter was an anomaly on the season, when they were outgained 115 yards to just 33 against an FCS opponent. The Terps also notched their first pick-six of the season and followed that quarter by holding the Tigers to a mere six yards in the third, so there’s reason for optimism.

Maryland vs. UCF — What we’re expecting

  1. A test for the defense. It’s a battle of the second-year coaches, but while Maryland coach DJ Durkin’s expertise lies on the defensive end, UCF coach Scott Frost has been regarded for his offensive schemes. Maryland had a shaky quarter against Towson before picking the intensity up, and can ill afford similar lapses against an offense that racked up 61 points and nearly 600 yards a couple weeks ago.
  2. Maryland’s going to keep its foot on the gas. The Terps were the only team with more points than plays through the first two weeks of the season. While it’s probably unreasonable to expect to expect Maryland to keep that kind of pace, that’s just one of the stats showing how explosive the Terps’ offense has been so far. Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell are opening up the playbook for Hill and finding creative ways to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers. The Terps pulled Hill against Towson, but expect him to play the entire game against the Knights.

In other news

Maryland men’s soccer is still unbeaten. Women’s soccer is not.

Volleyball went 1-1 on the final day of the Maryland Challenge, bringing its record to 11-1. The Terps are off to their best start since Steve Aird joined the program.

Field hockey opened the weekend with a road win over Indiana in its conference opener, before starting a home stand with a 4-1 win over Bucknell on Sunday.

Here’s the Baltimore Sun on Maryland football equipment manager Drew Hampton.