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Three takeaways from Maryland football’s 40-14 loss to Purdue

The Terps failed to show up in a crucial Big Ten road game. Here’s what we gleaned from the action.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

In Maryland football’s first trip to Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana, the Terps lost their first game in program history to the Purdue Boilermakers, falling 40-14.

After allowing only seven points to Rutgers the week before, Maryland’s defense allowed the Boilermakers to rack up 547 yards of offense and 40 points. Making his third career start, quarterback Jack Plummer lit up the Terps secondary with 420 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Here’s our biggest takeaways from Maryland’s second conference loss.

1. Tyrrell Pigrome impressed with his legs, but disappointed with his arm. Nobody questioned the athleticism of Pigrome, who has made plays with feet for as long as he’s been in the program. The concern throughout his career has been his throwing ability, which head coach Mike Locksley said had improved a lot. But it sure didn’t seem like it against the Boilermakers.

The redshirt junior went 21-for-39 on passing completions for 218 yards, while throwing two interceptions in the process — both of which led to Boilermaker touchdowns.

He led all Terps on the ground though, gaining 105 yards on 10 attempts, including a 21 yard touchdown run.

Still, the Pigrome-led Maryland offense only earned 15 first downs, going 4-for-14 on third down conversions and 1-for-4 on fourth down conversions.

2. Penalties cost Maryland some much-needed points. On Maryland’s first drive of the game, Pigrome made arguably his best throw of the afternoon. Rolling to his left to avoid pressure, he unleashed a pass that traveled 61 yards in the air, finding a sliding Dontay Demus Jr. for a touchdown, or so the Terps thought.

The long score was called back for a Javon Leake holding penalty, and the Terps would wind up punting to start off the game. Later in the second quarter, Maryland was lined up for a 49-yard field goal when the play clock expired before a snap got off. Instead of letting kicker Joseph Petrino attempt a monstrous 54-yarder after the penalty was enforced, Maryland punted the ball away once again.

That was 10 potential points that vanished immediately due to penalties, which hurt Maryland all afternoon. The Terps finished with nine penalties — five more than Purdue — including a pair of false starts that derailed two separate offensive drives. Locksley has stressed playing disciplined football, but that hasn’t been the case thus far in his tenure.

3. Anthony McFarland Jr. was nonexistent.

Star running back Anthony McFarland Jr., who has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury for most of this season, didn’t see many snaps on Saturday. He toted the ball just four times for four yards, struggling to operate in the short amount of time he saw on the field. McFarland also caught two passes, but he played second fiddle to Leake.

Leake had a day to remember, taking seven carries for 79 yards and a touchdown while also grabbing a pair of throws for 33 yards. The junior running back suffered an injury of his own on Saturday — limping off the field in the middle of a drive — though he returned shortly after.

It’s unclear if McFarland’s issue will keep him out long-term, or if he was held out of action due to the blowout margin on the scoreboard. But if his injury is going to hurt his ability to produce this much, the running backs room — already down Jake Funk and Lorenzo Harrison III — will be severely shorthanded.