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Maryland football trampled by No. 15 Michigan, 42-21

The Terps were no match for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football was no match for No. 15 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday, falling 42-21 as the Wolverines dominated on both sides of the ball.

Michigan outgained Maryland 465-220, and those numbers even more lopsided most of the afternoon. After Ty Johnson’s 98-yard kick return touchdown gave the Terps a 7-3 lead, Michigan scored 24 unanswered points to all but put the game away. Maryland had two productive drive all game.

Kasim Hill completed 5 of 10 passes for 62 yards and a pick-six; the Terps noticeably abandoned the passing game for a significant chunk of the afternoon. Maryland did finish with 147 yards on the ground, but running the ball wasn’t too successful until the fourth quarter, when it was too late. Michigan’s offense, meanwhile, was in rhythm most of the day. Shea Patterson went 19-for-27 for 282 yards and three touchdowns, and Karan Higdon led the rushing attack with 103 yards on 25 carries.

This game started over an hour late due to thunderstorms in the area. When play began, Michigan had the first scoring opportunity, driving inside Maryland’s 25-yard line 10 minutes into the contest, but the Terps stuffed fullback Ben Mason on fourth-and-1 to force a turnover on downs. The Wolverines capitalized on their next chance, though, marching into the red zone and kicking a 34-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

Johnson responded on the ensuing kickoff. The senior took advantage of perfect blocking and his absurd speed, racing 98 yards down the sideline without needing to break a tackle. Just like that, Maryland was up 7-3. On the following drive, Darnell Savage hauled in a deflected pass for his second interception of the season, giving the Terps the ball right back. They finished the first quarter leading by four despite being outgained 132-21.

But Michigan kept chugging along. After Johnson downed a Wade Lees punt at the 5, the Wolverines reeled off an 11-play, 95-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. Patterson’s 51-yard strike to Nico Collins was the highlight, and Mason’s one-yard run was the payoff.

The Wolverines’ next drive was a lot of the same, spanning 64 yards in 12 plays as the first half wound down. Patterson found Ronnie Bell for a 22-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left before the break, giving Michigan a 17-7 lead. Even that score undersold how dominant the Wolverines were in the first half, as they outgained Maryland 291-43 and ran 44 plays to the Terps’ 16.

Somehow, the second half started even worse. Maryland was flagged for an illegal formation, false start and facemask on a single series of downs, which led to a quick fourth-and-36. Michigan had a 40-yard touchdown called back on the ensuing drive and settled for a field goal, making it 20-7. Then Johnson muffed a kickoff in the end zone, setting the Terps up at their own 2. Three short runs, a holding call and a punt later, it was Michigan ball again. Patterson found Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 34-yard catch-and-run, and the Wolverines took a 27-7 lead into the fourth.

Maryland then came out of nowhere with a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that included something resembling a run-pass balance (this was more yards than the offense previously had all game). Javon Leake’s one-yard score made it a two-score contest with 11:28 remaining. But this drive came at a cost, as Johnson limped off the field late in the possession.

Michigan quickly squashed any doubts, though, scoring on its next drive to go up 35-14. Brandon Watson then picked off Hill and ran it back 46 yards for the pick-six, making this game the blowout it deserved to be. Tyrrell Pigrome led a 78-yard touchdown drive in the waning minutes, which is worth noting even if it didn’t affect the outcome in the slightest.

The Terps (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) return home to play Rutgers next Saturday for Homecoming. The Scarlet Knights are 1-5.

Three things to know

1. Nothing worked for Maryland. The Terps couldn’t establish the run, and they all but abandoned the pass. The final numbers—220 yards of offense on 50 plays with 11 first downs—are inflated by positive garbage-time drives. This performance is more understandable against the nation’s No. 1 defense in terms of yardage than it is against, say, Temple, but it’s certainly concerning that Maryland’s offense has been stifled in two of three contests.

2. Penalties are still problematic. The Terps had 50 penalty yards and 42 offensive yards in the first half. The fourth-quarter touchdown drives made that chase less interesting, but Maryland still finished with 12 penalties for 107 yards. This included two targeting ejections—on Rayshad Lewis and Tre Watson—and several procedural penalties on offense.

3. This year’s injury curse is at running back. The Terps entered the season with six backs talented enough to command playing time, but were down to four entering Saturday. Lorenzo Harrison III injured his knee during the bye week and underwent season-ending surgery, and Jake Funk is still out after breaking his hand in practice a month ago. If Johnson’s injury keeps him out, it’s time to be legitimately worried.