Maryland football is 1-0 after marching into Austin and beating the Texas Longhorns to earn its first victory against a ranked opponent since 2010.
The Terps’ home opener comes this weekend against FCS Towson. The Tigers enter the game 1-0 after beating in-state rival Morgan State 10-0 on Saturday. The two teams last played in 2011, which was Randy Edsall’s first season at the helm in College Park. The last time the Terps lost a home opener, “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey was atop the Billboard Hot 100.
Maryland vs. Texas — what we saw
- An aggressive defense. Maryland’s defense, which looked mostly the same on paper as last year’s, looked completely different on the field. Clearly, one game is a small sample size, but the Terps got after the passer, tightly covered opposing receivers and stopped the run against a team that’s supposed to be good for the first time in a long time. To that end, the defense only allowed two offensive scores for 58-plus minutes of football before the Longhorns scored a garbage time touchdown with 69 seconds left.
- Maryland’s offense can be just as explosive as last year. Although the Terps did end up putting 51 points on the board in Austin (44 of them on offense), they relied on a lot of big plays to achieve that feat. Maryland’s offensive touchdowns came from 25, 20, 46, 40, 3 and 12 yards, respectively. And though Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill only combined to throw the ball 15 times, the passing game looked more dangerous than we’re used to seeing, attacking the defense down the field, rather than with short throws and quick screens.
- That historically highly rated recruiting Class of 2017? They hardly played. This will almost certainly change as the season goes on, but only two true freshmen saw the field Saturday. Hill only came on in relief of Pigrome when he couldn’t go for the fourth quarter, but was cool as a cucumber, completing all three of his passes and leading two touchdown drives. The other freshman? Bryce Brand, who actually made a few great plays keeping Texas’ Shane Buechele from picking up large chunks of yardage on the ground.
Maryland vs. Towson — what we’re expecting
- Much more of the same. No offense to Towson, but the Tigers are simply not on the Terps’ level. Towson went 4-7 last season, and 3-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Maryland should run all over Towson and dominate on defense. That should afford DJ Durkin the opportunity to get more players some time on the field. Which brings us to...
- ...More freshmen and redshirt freshmen will play. Once the Terps take a substantial lead, we should all expect to see some of the headliners of the Class of 2017. Guys like Anthony McFarland, his backfield mates Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis, Tahj Capehart, Ayinde Eley, the Gaddy twins or any and all of Maryland’s touted offensive line haul could all make their college debuts if Maryland has a comfortable lead.
- We’ll see much more of Kasim Hill. The status of Pigrome is still up in the air, and until that is decided, this is surely Hill’s team. He filled in admirably on Saturday, and certainly looked the part of Maryland’s future signal caller. For better or worse, the future may be now. Even if Pigrome turns out to be alright and starts, Hill should see a significant amount of playing time.