COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland football team hits the road for its first true away game of the season as it readies to face Bowling Green for just the second time in program history. The Terps, which won their ninth consecutive season-opener last weekend against Texas, have won five of their last six road-openers.
THIS WEEKEND’S STORYLINES
– Maryland opened its season with a victory over No. 23 Texas for the second consecutive year last Saturday as it came from behind for a 34-29 victory. The offensive statistics were relatively even across the board for both teams, but the turnover category proved to be the difference as the Terps forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman Kasim Hill has now completed 37-of-50 passes (.700) without an interception to open his career.
– Three touches, three touchdowns – that’s how true freshman wide receiver Jeshaun Jones opened his collegiate career. Jones posted the touchdowns in three separate fashions, recording a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown. He is the first freshman nationally to achieve the feat since Marcus Mariota (Oregon) in 2012 and the first Terrapin since at least 1980. Jones was named CBSSports.com National Player of the Week and Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week.
– Maryland opened the 2018 season lining up with 10 men and leaving an open spot at the right guard position to honor the memory of Jordan McNair, who tragically passed away over the summer. The Terps took a delay of game on the play, and Texas declined the penalty. High school and college teammate Ellis McKennie led the team onto the field pregame with a “79” flag and the entire team wore “79” helmet stickers.
– While Texas turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter, the Terrapin offense methodically scored a touchdown and added a field goal on a pair of debilitating 11-play drives to secure the victory. Maryland opened the quarter with a 4:49 touchdown drive, before piecing together an impressive 90-yard field goal drive that ate up 5:34 of clock.
– Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada displayed Maryland’s playmaking depth in his first career game calling plays from the sideline. In total, 14 different Terrapins recorded at least one rush or reception in the victory over Texas, while three different players passed the ball. Maryland racked up 143 yards on the ground by way of 11 different ball carriers, including sophomore Tayon Fleet-Davis, who led the stable with 31 rush yards and a touchdown.
BY THE NUMBERS: OFFENSE
1 – Redshirt freshman Kasim Hill was tremendous against #23 Texas in his first start under center since tearing his ACL in week three last season against UCF. Hill registered career-highs in completions (17), passing yards (222) and long completion (65), while totaling zero turnovers and taking only one sack. Hill has thrown 50 pass attempts without an interception to open his career, completing 70-percent of his throws.
3 – Freshman wide receiver Jeshaun Jones burst onto the national scene in his collegiate debut against #23 Texas, recording a passing, receiving and rushing touchdown on each of his first three touches of the football. Jones’ three scoring methods put him in some elite company:
First freshman since Marcus Mariota (Oregon) in 2012
First Maryland player since at least 1980 (cannot confirm past that point)
First true freshman since Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green) in 2006 – only four true freshmen have done it since 1996
First player to do it against Texas since Joey Harrington (Oregon) in 2000
Jones is also the first Terrapin non-quarterback to throw a touchdown pass since Stefon Diggs connected with Matt Furstenburg at North Carolina on Nov. 24, 2012.
5 – Despite returning all five starting linemen from a season ago, the Terrapins trotted out a fresh starting five in the season-opener against #23 Texas. Senior Damian Prince returned to his customary right tackle position (31 starts) and Sean Christie (13) remained at left guard. Brendan Moore, who had started the previous 25 games at center, moved to right guard and Johnny Jordan made his first career start at the center position. And finally, Derwin Gray missed the game due to injury and Marcus Minor took his place at left tackle.
10 – The Terrapins displayed their offensive versatility against #23 Texas, with 10 different players registering a reception. Among the 10 players were four true freshmen: Jeshaun Jones, Darryl Jones, Brian Cobbs and Chigoziem Okonkwo. It was the most players to record a catch in a game for the Terps since 2015 against Indiana (11).
11 – Eleven different Terrapins recorded a rush in the Terps’ win over #23 Texas, matching the total number of players who rushed the ball during the entire 2017 season. Senior Ty Johnson was the lone player to carry the ball more than eight times, while sophomore Tayon Fleet-Davis led the way with 31 yards and a touchdown.
23 – Graduate wide receiver Taivon Jacobs has caught a pass in 23 consecutive games, totaling 890 yards and eight touchdowns during that span. The streak dates back to the 2015 season, as he missed 2016 due to injury. The sixth-year picked up right where he left off in 2017 against #23 Texas last weekend, leading the team with five catches for 73 yards and a score.
30 – Senior running back Ty Johnson recorded 30 rushing yards against #23 Texas to vault into 11th place on Maryland’s all-time rushing list, passing Alvin Blount (1983-86) and Willie Joyner (1980-83). Johnson, who has 2,159 rushing yards, now sets his sights on Louis Carter (2,266 – 1972-74) as he looks to crack the top-10. Johnson also moved into 11th on Maryland’s all-time all-puporse yards list, recording 115 against Texas.
BY THE NUMBERS: DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1 – Junior cornerback Tino Ellis was sensational agianst #23 Texas, and was ranked the top cornerback in the country over the weekend by Pro Football Focus. Ellis had a career-best 2.0 tackles for loss.. Ellis was converted from receiver to defensive back as a freshman in 2016.
1 – Redshirt senior Jesse Aniebonam returned to the starting lineup at the BUCK position against Texas last weekend for the first time since week one of 2017, when he suffered a season-ending injury against the same Longhorn team. In 2016, Aniebonam ranked fifth in the Big Ten with 0.69 sacks per game and led all 3-4 outside linebackers in the Big Ten with 30 pressures.
3 – The Terrapin defense welcomed a trio of transfers who each started in their Maryland debuts against #23 Texas: defensive end Byron Cowart (Auburn), defensive back Marcus Lewis (Florida State) and linebacker Tre Watson (Illinois). Watson was second on the team with nine tackles (seven solo) and made a key fourth quarter interception, while Lewis chipped in a pair of tackles. It was the first start of Cowart’s career.
4 – The Terrapins received an outstanding outing from its kicking specialists, junior punter Wade Lees and true freshman placekicker Joseph Petrino. Lees dropped four of his seven punts inside the Texas 20-yard line and did not record a touchback, while Petrino knocked down both field goal attempts and all four extra points. Petrino is the first Maryland true freshman placekicker since Brad Craddock (2012), who went on to win the Lou Groza Award in 2014.
11 – A year removed from garnering All-Big Ten honors for leading Big Ten defensive backs in tackles for loss (9.5) in a breakout sophomore season, Antoine Brooks, Jr. picked up right where he left off. Brooks wrapped up Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over Texas, leading the team with 11 tackles, including 1.0 tackle for loss, and notching a game-sealing interception on Texas’ final drive.
11 – All 11 of Maryland’s starters on the defensive side of the ball were upperclassmen in Saturday’s game against Texas. Eight of the 11 are in their fourth or fifth season of college football. While the defense is a veteran group class-wise, Darnell Savage, Jr. and Tre Watson are the only players with 16 career starts or more.
12 – Senior Ty Johnson jumped into 12th all-time on Maryland’s career kick return yardage list after totaling 66 yards on a pair of returns against #23 Texas. He now has 887 career yards and is poised to become the 11th player in Terrapin history to break the 1,000 yard plateau. Johnson totaled 657 return yards as junior, which ranked ninth in program single-season history.