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Maryland football’s offense goes silent in 35-14 loss to Temple

The Terps drop their College Park opener for their first loss of the season.

NCAA Football: Temple at Maryland Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, Maryland football was dominated in its third game of the season by an AAC team. After UCF crushed the Terps at Maryland Stadium last year, Temple did the same on Saturday, dominating Maryland in a 35-14 victory.

One week after wearing down Bowling Green with a relentless rushing attack, Maryland couldn’t do anything on offense for most of the afternoon. The Terps had as many plays go for negative yardage as positive yardage on their first five drives, and faced nine third downs of 10 yards or longer. Despite a better showing in the fourth quarter, Maryland’s offense didn’t score any points for the first time since being shutout by Michigan in 2015. The Terps only two touchdowns came on a Darnell Savage Jr. pick-six and a Jesse Aniebonam blocked punt scoop-and-score.

Anthony McFarland was Maryland’s only source of offense, finishing with 107 yards on 11 carries.

With starting offensive linemen Terrance Davis, Derwin Gray and Damian Prince out, the Terps didn’t get the chance to establish a running game due to giving up constant pressure to Kasim Hill. The redshirt freshman was sacked four times in the first half, a higher total than the first two games combined. Hill had his worst game in a Maryland uniform, going 7-of-17 for 56 yards and a game-ending pick-six in the fourth quarter.

On defense, Maryland struggled as the offense continued to go three-and-out. The Terps allowed 422 yards, with 215 coming on six plays that went for 20 yards or more.

Temple punted on its first two drives, but unlike Maryland, started to break through thanks to some big plays. The Owls started their third drive on their own five-yard line, but a first down and a 44-yard catch-and-run brought Temple to the Maryland 38. After getting stopped on third down, the Owls executed a fake punt to perfection, with Todd Centeio finding Johnson wide open for a 36-yard touchdown.

Following another Maryland punt, the Terps had Temple in trouble again with a third-and-16, only for Anthony Russo to hit Broderick Yancy for a 40-yard completion. The Owls drove down to the one-yard line, and after Maryland stuffed them on third down, Temple turned to 330 pound nose tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd to barrel his way past the goal line.

Hill’s 27-yard completion to DJ Turner on the next drive was Maryland’s biggest play of the half, but it didn’t result in any points after the Terps punted on fourth-and-2 from the Temple 48-yard line.

A potential adrenaline shot came two plays later, as Darnell Savage picked off a Russo pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7 with 3:23 to go in the first half. Petrino’s kickoff following the touchdown sailed out of bounds, and Temple used the better field position to drive 65 yards down the field for a touchdown right before halftime. Just like on their previous touchdown drive, the Owls converted a key third down with Ryquell Armstead running for 25 yards on a third-and-9 from their own 25-yard line.

Things didn’t get better for Maryland in the second half. On the Owls’ first possession, Russo found a wide-open Kenny Yeboah, who waltzed in for a 48-yard touchdown. Maryland finally got something going in the fourth quarter with McFarland, only to turn it over on downs on the Temple 26-yard line. The special teams picked up the slack on the next possession, with Aniebonam blocking a punt and scoring to cut the lead to 28-14.

Minutes later, the Terps’ offense drove inside Temple’s 25 with a chance to make it a one-score game. But Hill threw his first career interception and Shaun Bradley ran it back 78 yards for the dagger. Tyrrell Pigrome then led an effective drive before being picked off in the final minutes.

Maryland starts Big Ten play next week against Minnesota. Even before the loss, it was going to be an interesting week, with the Board of Regents getting briefed on the two investigations into the program the day before the game.

Three things to know

1. It took too long for Maryland’s offense to get going. The Terps finally started moving the ball in the fourth quarter, gaining 132 yards in the final frame compared to 63 in the previous three. That left them no room for error, and Hill made one bad throw he couldn’t afford to make.

2. Anthony McFarland was the lone bright spot. For the second straight week, the redshirt freshman showed why he was such a prized recruit. He finished with 107 yards on 11 carries, which was nearly 60 percent of Maryland’s total offense.

3. This could be a long Big Ten slate. After two wins, Maryland struggled mightily against a team that lost to FCS Villanova and Buffalo. That’s not a good sign for a team that will play four ranked teams, and is in a conference that will have much tougher and physical teams than Temple.