Maryland and UCF opened the game Saturday afternoon trading punts in what looked to be setting up to be an exciting game, and then things took a turn for the worse.
While scrambling to make something out of nothing on Maryland’s second possession, Kasim Hill got hurt. Two assistant coaches helped him to the sideline as he couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg. After a short evaluation in the team’s injury tent, Hill was carted to the locker room. It was the biggest non-scoring play of the game, and took Maryland’s juice levels from excessive to minimal in the blink of an eye.
With Hill out and an offense that struggled to move the ball, Maryland got blown out, 38-10, for its first loss of the season.
UCF drove right down the field at the end of the first quarter and into the second. Zone reads, run-pass options and quick passes were key to the Knights’ conquest to the Terps’ endzone. Taj McGowan ultimately scored on a one-yard run after he appeared to have scored on his previous carry, but was ruled down just short of the goal line.
Maryland’s defense, led by Antoine Brooks, kept the Terps in the game while Max Bortenschlager and the offense looked for any kind of rhythm. In back-to-back drives, Brooks blew up screen plays that looked to be potential huge gains for the Knights. With the offense on and off the field relatively quickly on several drives in the second quarter, the defense could only hold on for so long. McGowan punched in a three-yard run with 3:49 in the quarter, and the Terps were in a 14-3 hole—one that they couldn’t climb out of with their third-string quarterback and an energized UCF defense refusing to allow them to score.
That’s how the first half ended: with Maryland on its third-string quarterback three weeks into the season, the offense looking stagnant and the rest off the game, and moreover the season, in serious doubt.
Maryland’s first drive of the second half did little to quell those concerns. Bortenschlager threw a ball away that somehow almost got intercepted, then got sacked on second and third down. But the defense held, and with 2:04 left in the third, the Terps found the end zone for the first time by way of D.J. Moore. He took a short pass over the middle to the house for his 13th career receiving touchdown, which moved him into a tie for fifth all-time with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Guilian Gary.
As the clock wound down in the third, UCF was mounting another scoring drive, but the Terps’ defense held deep in its own territory, forcing a field goal. With 12:34 left, Maryland trailed 24-10, and there was still a chance, however small.
Bortenschlager took a 10-yard sack on second down on the ensuing drive as the Terps went three-and-out.
A 44-yard run from Otis Anderson that put UCF deep in Maryland’s territory on the next possession before Adrian Killins scored on a 15-yard rush that was the stake through Maryland’s heart. Mike Hughes grabbed that stake and twisted it when he took a deflected pass back to the house for a pick-six to make the score 38-10.
Maryland was unable to get anything going after that, even with the game out of reach.
Three things to know
- Maryland’s offense needs one of Kasim Hill or Tyrrell Pigrome. Pigrome, obviously, is out for the season, so there goes that one. Nobody knows yet the extent of Hill’s injury, or exactly what it is just yet. But the drop off in offensive production between Hill and Bortenschlager was clear.
- Antoine Brooks is a really good player. He was flying all over the field, no matter the score. In the first and fourth quarters, he was always around the ball, blowing up screens and laying bone-crushing hits on UCF ball carriers.
- Basketball season is only 39 days from tomorrow. That should hopefully go better than this did.