Maryland football’s spring season is officially in the books, as the Terps played their Red-White spring game Saturday afternoon. After two years of pitting the offense against the defense and using a convoluted scoring system, Maryland essentially had its first and second units playing each other straight-up. Predictably, the No. 1s cruised to a 31-3 victory.
It’s hard to take too much away from all this. Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill, projected to be the top two quarterbacks in fall camp, were both held out as they continue their ACL rehab process. The quarterbacks who did take snaps couldn’t be tackled. DJ Durkin also said Thursday that “a couple guys” would be held out of this game simply because they didn’t need the reps; it turned out he was referring to junior running back Lorenzo Harrison III and sixth-year senior wideout Taivon Jacobs. Maryland ran punt plays with a punter, snapper and returner and nobody else. There were a lot of those. But this still resembled a football game, so there are still things to learn.
After a slow first quarter, the ones were ahead 3-0. The first-stringers pulled away in the second quarter, with Jake Funk scoring the first two touchdowns and Marcus Lewis stretching the margin with a pick-six off Tyler DeSue. Mike Shinsky put the Red team on the board with a field goal before halftime, but Javon Leake answered with a 37-yard breakaway for the ones in the third quarter. The second half featured a running clock, so the game breezed to a finish.
Max Bortenschlager quarterbacked the victors, going 5-of-9 for 70 yards through the air. On the Red team, DeSue went 4-of-11 for 20 yards with the pick-six. He was relieved late in the third quarter by walk-on southpaw Legend Brumbaugh, who picked up eight yards on 2-of-6 passing.
Both offenses went understandably run-heavy, as the Terps combined to rush 57 times compared to just 27 pass plays. Ty Johnson led the way with 50 yards on 10 carries, while Javon Leake and Anthony McFarland added 47 and 46 yards, respectively. Seemingly every back except Johnson was a double agent Saturday, taking snaps with both the ones and twos.
Here are some of the more noteworthy transpirings.
1. Matt Canada’s offense has so many motions. Hardly a play went by without one or two players running around before the snap. There were also dozens of jet sweeps, with Jake Funk seemingly taking the majority; the rising junior finished the game with 27 yards and two scores on seven carries. A lot of the motions also led to wide receiver end-arounds, most of which went to freshman Jeshaun Jones (11 yards on five carries).
2. Tight ends caught passes! Early-enrollee freshman Chigoziem Okonkwo hauled in Maryland’s first completed pass of the day. The Terps completed zero passes to the position in 12 football games in 2017. Redshirt freshman Andrew Park added a reception early in the third quarter just for good measure.
3. Spring Game DJ Turner is back. In this game last year, Turner recorded six catches for 126 yards, which fueled hype for the rising sophomore all summer. He then notched five catches for 32 yards during the actual season. But he was back in business for the first-stringers Saturday, leading all receivers with 52 yards. He needed just two first-half catches to do it; both went for 26 yards.
Max Bortenschlager completes a 26-yard, 4th-down conversion to DJ Turner. Big play early in the game. pic.twitter.com/fGChD3EJwz— Joe Catapano (@JoeCatapano_) April 14, 2018
4. The Marcus Lewis homecoming already has a highlight. Lewis joined the Terps in the summer after transferring from Florida State. He redshirted this past season, so this was his first chance to play in front of Maryland fans. Lewis made the most of it, jumping in front of a DeSue pass and running it back with nobody in front of him.
Hello Marcus Lewis, welcome to College Park. pic.twitter.com/iD8JEKRt9m— Lamar Johnson (@im_lamar) April 14, 2018
Lewis is expected to be one of Maryland’s starting corners this fall, so this should be a positive sign for the secondary going forward.
5. Several underclassmen made impacts on defense. Granted, a lot of them played for the second team in this game, but their production won’t go unnoticed. Perhaps the biggest statistical breakthroughs were made by a trio of redshirt freshmen: Lawtez Rogers had a pair of sacks, while Ayinde Eley recorded a game-high seven tackles and Fofie Bazzie added six of his own.