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Maryland football’s comeback falls short in 34-32 loss at Indiana

The Terps scored 17 straight points to take a late lead, but couldn’t hang on.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football lost a back-and-forth affair Saturday at Indiana, falling to the Hoosiers 34-32 and dropping to 5-5 this season.

The Terps started strong, taking a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, then fell apart early in the second, as Indiana scored three unanswered touchdowns to roar ahead 21-6. Maryland cut the lead to 21-15 at halftime, but Indiana extended it to 31-15 in the third quarter before Maryland made its run. Seventeen unanswered points gave the Terps a 31-31 lead with under five minutes left, only for Indiana to take the lead right back on a field goal at the 2:32 mark. Maryland had another chance, but fumbled the ball away, its fourth turnover of the day sealing the deal.

Starting quarterback Kasim Hill struggled mightily before leaving the game with a serious-looking injury in the second quarter. Redshirt sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome was steady in relief, completing 10 of 13 passes for 146 yards and a score. Running back Anthony McFarland was a dominant force all day, rushing for 210 yards on 29 attempts. True freshman wideouts Jeshaun Jones and Dontay Demus combined for 10 catches and 165 yards in the loss.

In all, Maryland outgained Indiana 542-374, with 353 of the Terps’ yards coming via the run and 189 through the air. The Terps dominated time of possession unlike they have all season, running 84 plays and holding the ball for 39:18. But penalties and turnovers derailed Maryland. The team was flagged 10 times for 93 yards, and four giveaways were too much to overcome.

Maryland’s offense started the game with a 10-play, 60-yard drive that reached Indiana’s 10 before stalling. Joseph Petrino’s 29-yard field goal banked off the goalpost and through to give the Terps a 3-0 lead. The second drive was almost a mirror image, as a 12-play, 74-yard march also stalled in the red zone, prompting another short field goal. Indiana gained one first down and ran seven plays on its first two drives, which resulted in punts.

Maryland outgained the Hoosiers 169-12 in the first quarter and held the ball for 12:15 to Indiana’s 2:45, but still ended the frame with just a 6-0 lead. Those missed opportunities came back to bite the Terps.

Early in the second period, Peyton Ramsey escaped the pocket and scrambled into daylight for a 35-yard touchdown, giving the Hoosiers the lead. After Hill threw an absolute duck for an interception, Ramsey fired a 37-yard strike to Donovan Hale. Tayon Fleet-Davis fumbled it away on the Terps’ next possession, and the Hoosiers easily turned the short field into another touchdown, making it 21-6.

Hill went down after a scramble on Maryland’s ensuing drive. He walked off the field, but wouldn’t return. Pigrome immediately converted a third down with a scramble, and the Terps’ offense woke back up and ultimately scored on a Fleet-Davis three-yard run. Petrino missed the extra point, though, so it was still a two-score game at 21-12. Tre Watson’s interception gave Petrino another chance, and he nailed a 31-yarder to make it a 21-15 game at halftime.

Indiana started the second half with an 81-yard touchdown drive, bringing the lead back up to two scores. McFarland then followed up some strong runs with a lost fumble, setting up another Hoosiers scoring chance. A Logan Justus field goal made it 31-15. But Javon Leake finally got involved on the next drive, returning a short kickoff 47 yards and taking his first carry 27 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The two-point conversion brought the Terps within one score at 31-23, which would hold on the scoreboard as the third quarter ended.

Petrino’s fourth short field goal of the game cut the lead to 31-26 with 12:25 remaining in the game. After a Hoosiers punt, Maryland went on another long drive. Dontay Demus’ 51-yard catch and run brought the Terps back into scoring position, and Pigrome found Jones for the go-ahead 15-yard score with 4:54 left.

But Indiana responded. Stevie Scott’s 27-yard run brought the Hoosiers to the Maryland 33, and after a third-down stop, Justus kicked the go-ahead field goal from 42 yards out. Maryland needed just a field goal in the final 2:32 to overtake Indiana’s 34-32 lead, but after getting into Hoosiers territory, Pigrome was stripped and the defense recovered, clinching the game in the final minute.

Three things to know

1. The quarterback injuries are back. Hill went down in the second quarter and Pigrome finished the game. The redshirt sophomore quickly found a rhythm—he had rarely done so in limited action this year—and brought the Terps back within one score by halftime. Hill was in street clothes for the second half, and Pigrome almost guided an incredible comeback. The extent of Hill’s injury is unclear, so we’re back to wondering what’s next in Maryland’s backfield.

2. Anthony McFarland had a career day. The redshirt freshman’s 29 carries and 210 yards are both career highs; he had 128 yards in the first half, which surpassed his 112-yard game against Minnesota in Week 4. This performance came when the Terps needed him most. Lorenzo Harrison III is out for the season, and Ty Johnson and Javon Leake left this game with injuries.

3. Bowl eligibility looks almost out of reach now. The Terps still have two games left, but they won’t be easy whatsoever. Maryland hasn’t knocked off Ohio State since joining the Big Ten, and has been beaten soundly by Penn State in consecutive seasons. In all likelihood, this was the Terps’ chance, and they beat themselves just a little too much.