A week after getting trampled by Michigan, Maryland football did the same to Rutgers, demolishing the Scarlet Knights 34-7 on Saturday in College Park.
Maryland followed the formula from its previous three wins this season, using a dominant running game and occasional plays through the air to cruise to victory. The Terps ran for 291 yards, and Ty Johnson’s 65- and 39-yard runs combined for more yards than Rutgers had as a team in the first half. Johnson finished with 132 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Anthony McFarland added 74 yards of his own.
Maryland didn’t need much from the passing game, but got enough from Kasim Hill. The redshirt freshman completed only 8 of 17 passes for 76 yards, though his three touchdown passes were three of his best throws this season. Pigrome saw occasional time in the first half and directed the Terps first drive of the second half. He finished one of three for nine yards and ran for 38 yards on five carries. Tyler DeSue also made his Maryland debut late in the fourth quarter.
While Maryland’s offense was solid for most of the afternoon, the Terps got a huge boost from historically inept quarterback play by Rutgers. Freshman Artur Sitkowski finished 2-of-16 for eight yards and four interceptions, and his quarterback rating of -33.3 is the third-worst by a quarterback whose thrown more than 10 passes since Sports Reference started tracking games in 2000. Giovanni Rescigno took over in the third quarter, and his first pass was an interception. The Scarlet Knights finished the game with more interceptions (5) than completed passes (2), and it was the first time Maryland had recorded five interceptions in a game since 1998 against Duke.
Johnson started the scoring on Maryland’s third drive, taking a handoff down the left side 65 yards for a touchdown. The Terps somehow got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff, as Chance Campbell recovered a short Joseph Petrino kick that Rutgers didn’t touch for some reason.
Maryland essentially with the longest onside kick I've seen. Rutgers is going full Rutgers pic.twitter.com/CndBj5zi0o— Lamar Johnson (@im_lamar) October 13, 2018
Maryland couldn’t capitalize, though, and had to settle for a 39-yard field goal from Petrino as time expired in the first quarter, making it 10-0.
Rutgers wasn’t done giving the ball to the Terps. Three plays later, Sitkowski overthrew a pass intended for Hunter Hayek right into Darnell Savage’s hands at the Scarlet Knights’ 35-yard line. Maryland almost came away with a field goal again after an Avery Edwards holding call led to a third-and-19, but Hill rolled out to his right and found Taivon Jacobs for a 23-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
Following another Rutgers punt, Maryland went back to work. Two plays after Johnson reversing direction for a 39-yard run, Hill rolled out again and directed Tayon Fleet-Davis downfield, finding his fellow redshirt freshman for a 24-yard touchdown and a 24-0 lead. Rutgers looked to have a potential scoring opportunity after Hill was sacked and fumbled on the Terps’ next drive, only for Sitkowski to have his pass deflected at the line and intercepted by Byron Cowart.
The third quarter was more of the same, with the Scarlet Knights failing to move the ball and Sitkowski throwing interceptions. Maryland drove 73 yards before stalling and getting a Petrino field goal, then Hill threw a beautiful eight-yard touchdown pass to Jeshaun Jones after Tino Ellis returned an interception 40 yards to the Scarlet Knights’ 11-yard line. Somehow Sitkowski stayed in for one more drive, which ended with Savage’s second interception of the game.
Rescigno replaced Sitkowski on the next drive, and decided to be just like his fellow quarterback. His only pass of the afternoon was intercepted by Tre Watson. The Scarlet Knights did put together a strong drive in the final minutes to get on the board, but that was entirely with runs.
Maryland is back in action next weekend at Iowa. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET on ESPN2.
Three things to know
- This one was all Maryland, and it could have been worse. The Terps ran all over Rutgers, and still missed some opportunities in the first half to pull ahead earlier. Once Maryland got into the game and the Scarlet Knights gifted the Terps great field position, it was all but over.
- Kasim Hill had an uneven day. The redshirt freshman’s touchdown throws were some of his best all season, but he missed a few more that could’ve gone for big plays. He seemed much more comfortable rolling out than in the pocket, so expect Matt Canada to try to get him in more situations like that going forward.
- Rutgers is really bad. The Scarlet Knights came into this game having been outscored 211-64 in their five losses this season, and lived up to the billing today. The Scarlet Knights threw five interceptions, didn’t field a kickoff and made Maryland look like one of the greatest college football teams ever.