Maryland football opened its home football state with a 63-17 shellacking of Towson on Saturday. As much was expected against the FCS Tigers, but even still, the Terps managed to impress en route to a 2-0 record.
There’s still room for improvement if they’re going to contend in the Big Ten. Here are some takeaways from the Terps’ home-opening win:
Maryland’s going to let Kasim Hill sling it.
After going 3-for-3 for 44 yards against Texas, Hill opened the game firing, going 6-for-6 on the opening drive with his first passing touchdown as a Terp. He followed that drive up with two more completions and another score, bringing him to 8-for-8 on the day and 11-for-11 overall, capped with a 34-yard catch-and-run by D.J. Moore. After a Ty Johnson breakaway ended the third series on the first play, Hill wouldn’t throw another pass until the second quarter, as miscommunication resulted in his first incompletion and Moore’s first target of the season he didn’t reel in.
The Terps stopped airing it out with the lead, and Hill got pulled altogether with time winding down in the third quarter. He finished his first start 13-of-16 for 163 passing yards and two touchdowns, adding another 41 rushing yards on five attempts.
... and he has ample weapons.
Johnson and Moore are the workhorses that power this offense, and they’re blossoming into full blown superstars. Johnson finished his day with 124 yards on five carries for two scores, averaging a shade under 25 yards a touch. Meanwhile, Moore racked up 163 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns, with seven receptions for 97 yards and two scores, four punt returns for 45 yards and 21 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Through two games, Johnson and Moore have combined for 477 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns, which accounts for roughly 47 percent of Maryland’s total offensive yardage and half of the Terps’ 14 scores.
Antoine Brooks is going to be a jack-of-all trades for the defense.
Coach DJ Durkin and defensive coordinator Andy Buh tried Brooks at linebacker and safety last year before finding his niche as the starting nickel corner in their 4-2-5 base defense. On Towson’s first offensive series alone, he was used to simulate a blitz before dropping into deep coverage, sent to actually rush the quarterback (he nearly got there) and called on to make a play on the outside to the stop a completion.
He finished another strong outing with two big tackles and an interception on the day. He’s becoming a consistent prescence for Maryland, after returning a blocked kick for a touchdown against Texas.
Maryland’s defense kind of stunk for a quarter.
For a team that went into the locker room up 21 points, the total yardage at the half was closer than the staff would have liked. After threatening to run the score up in the first quarter, Maryland was outgained 115 yards to just 33 in the second. Towson was also able to convert 6 of 10 third downs in the first half. The team’s first pick-six of the season also happened in the second, when Darnell Savage did his best Will Likely impression and took one to the house.
The Terps followed up the quarter by limiting the Towson to six yards in the third, but won’t be able to afford lapses like that in Big Ten play.
We got a look at Maryland’s depth.
With a comfortable 49-7 lead with around three minutes left in the third, Maryland called it a day for the starters and sent out the second team, which collectively entered Saturday with very little in-game experience. Max Bortenschlager took over for Hill and ran a series of option runs that resulted in a score on a quarterback run up the gut. Freshman running back Javon Leake appears to be the No. 4 back on the depth chart with Anthony McFarland still “not 100 percent,” and made his mark by finishing with four carries for 78 yards and a 61-yard touchdown run, the first of his career.
Outside of Bortenschlager and Leake, Maryland also got its second-string offensive line in the game, getting valuable experience for a unit that's largely untested beyond the starting five.
The offense looks legit.
For the second straight game, the Terps broke 400 yards of total offense and put up over 50 points. In fact, Maryland almost managed to earn 400 yards on the ground, having seven players combine for 367 yards and six scores on the ground. Maryland’s passing game is starting to come along under Hill, and even against an FCS team, 534 total yards and 63 points is nothing to scoff at.
For the first time in a while, Maryland has both a quarterback who can make all the throws and dangerous weapons, both on the outside and in the backfield, at his disposal.
No students won $10,000 after all.
Word came out Friday that one student would win $10,000 if the Terps returned a punt for a score in the second half. It almost happened, too. D.J. Moore broke a return for a score near the beginning of the third quarter, but the play was called back because he called for a fair catch beforehand. Every student went home with the same amount of money earned—even the athletes.