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5 takeaways from Maryland football’s win over Bowling Green

There was some bad, but then a lot of good in the 31-point victory.

NCAA Football: Texas at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always easy, but Maryland football moved to 2-0 with a 45-14 win at Bowling Green. After a penalty-ridden first half, the Terps scored 35 second-half points to turn a halftime deficit into a rout by the final whistle. Here’s what stood out from Saturday’s game.

The running backs continued to share the touches, and dominated.

A week after no Maryland player had more than 11 carries, the Terps continued to share the load in Bowling Green. Maryland had four players with more than six carries, and the Falcons couldn’t stop any of them. Ty Johnson, Lorenzo Harrison III, Tayon Fleet-Davis and Anthony McFarland all averaged more than six yards per carry and totaled between 69 and 124 yards.

Interim head coach Matt Canada’s game plan of a power run game to keep Bowling Green’s up-tempo offense off the field worked tremendously, and Maryland’s 444 rushing yards were its most since at least 2000, per Sports-Reference.

Penalties, penalties and more penalties.

Last week, Canada said the first quarter against Texas was the longest he could remember. This week’s first half may have been the most frustrating. Maryland committed nine penalties for 79 yards in the first half, putting the Terps out of field goal range on one drive and helping Bowling Green move down the field on its two scoring drives.

Maryland finished the game with 14 penalties for 139 yards, but only committed one after Kasim Hill’s 22-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Jahrvis Davenport in the middle of the third quarter. That touchdown came on a third-and-goal that was pushed back that far due to penalties on the previous two plays. When the Terps played clean football, they showed the game should’ve been a rout from the start.

Maryland controlled the line of scrimmage like a Big Ten team.

Yes, it’s only Bowling Green, but this is one of the few times I’ve seen a Maryland football team look like one that is in a conference known for physical, smash-mouth football. The Terps did to the Falcons what top Big Ten teams have done to Maryland since it joined the conference, giving them no room to run and punishing them with a strong rushing attack. Maryland ran for 444 yards and held Bowling Green to 57 yards on designed-run plays (and just 15 when accounting for sacks).

Anthony McFarland gives Maryland another explosive freshman.

Last week it was Jeshaun Jones. This week it’s Anthony McFarland. The Hyattsville, Maryland, native didn’t have a historic game like Jones, but he gives Maryland another weapon out of a running back group that’s overflowing with them. He finished with 122 all-purpose yards on 10 touches, and his 46-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter was the Terps’ longest play of the game. It was the type of game fans have been waiting for from McFarland since he committed to Maryland in January 2017.

The pass rush bounced back.

After struggling somewhat against Texas, Maryland sacked Bowling Green quarterback Jarret Doege five times. Jesse Aniebonam recorded his first sack since 2016—he broke his ankle against Texas last season—and Byron Cowart recorded his first collegiate sack. The Terps had success blitzing from the second level as well, with Isaiah Davis finishing with two sacks and Antoine Brooks helping Brett Kulka bring down Doege. This could be a big confidence boost for a defense whose pass rush was nonexistent for much of last season.