Maryland football is 2-0 after pulling away for a 45-14 win at Bowling Green on Saturday.
The Terps started slow, trailing for most of the first half as penalties continued to negate positive plays. But after trailing 14-10 at halftime, Maryland turned on the jets in the second half, scoring five unanswered touchdowns to take command and then some.
Maryland dominated this game on the ground, rushing for 444 yards to Bowling Green’s 15 (!!!). Ty Johnson led the way with 124 yards, while Tayon Fleet-Davis and Lorenzo Harrison III added 102 and 86, respectively. Quarterback Kasim Hill was inconsistent through the air on a rainy evening, finishing 8-of-16 for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Penalties killed Maryland in the first half, as nine flags cost the Terps 79 yards. The problem was particularly egregious early, when a Harrison touchdown was called back for a chop block and Maryland was ultimately forced to punt. On the ensuing Bowling Green drive, Tino Ellis’ pass interference penalty in the end zone helped lead to a Falcons touchdown
Seeking a spark, Maryland brought in backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome five minutes into the second quarter. His first snap was an 18-yard quarterback keeper, but his second snap was a botched handoff and Bowling Green recovered the fumble. It didn’t hurt Maryland, though, as the defense forced a three-and-out. Hill re-entered at quarterback for the next drive, but it was just to hand off. Maryland ran the ball nine times for 77 yards to even the score at 7-7 with 2:34 left in the half.
On Bowling Green’s ensuing drive, the Falcons faced a third-and-12 with 1:44 remaining, and Maryland had a chance to get the ball back. But Jarret Doege converted with a 15-yard strike, then found Quintin Morris wide open on a busted play for a 29-yard score. Just like that, Bowling Green was up 14-7 with 1:13 left in the half. Maryland marched downfield and closed the half with a field goal, giving the Falcons a 14-10 lead at halftime.
Maryland took its first lead of the game with 4:31 left in the third quarter. Ty Johnson gave the Terps a chance with a 32-yard run to Bowling Green’s 6, but Maryland was called for holding on unsportsmanlike conduct on the following two plays. On third-and-goal from the 22, Hill found Jahrvis Davenport, who broke free down the sideline into the end zone for a 17-14 advantage.
Maryland’s next drive was smoother, as the Terps covered 68 yards in six plays. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Fleet-Davis extended the lead with a nine-yard rushing touchdown, making it a two-possession game at 24-14. Hill dropped a dime to Anthony McFarland for 46 yards on the next drive, and Johnson ultimately punched it in to stretch the lead to 31-14.
Fleet-Davis scored again a few minutes later. Javon Leake broke free for a 36-yard touchdown a few minutes after that. When all was said and done, it was a 35-0 second-half rout and a 45-14 win overall.
Maryland will host Temple on Saturday for the first game in College Park this season.
Three things to know
1. The Terps overcame a slow start. Seemingly all of Maryland’s first-half opportunities were soiled by penalties, but after Davenport broke free for the go-ahead touchdown, this game became a rout. Maryland scored on five straight possessions to turn a four-point deficit into a 31-point lead at the end.
2. The running game was absurd. This was actually a weakness against Texas, as the Terps averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in that win. Everything worked in this contest, though. Maryland had two backs over 100 yards and another with 86.
3. Penalties were a cause for concern. Maryland committed 14 penalties for 139 yards, with most of the trouble coming in the first half. The calls seemed to come at especially inopportune times, at one point turning a touchdown into a punt. It didn’t cost the Terps the game, but it’s something to work on in the future.