Lead by strong defensive play, Maryland dominates Rutgers 34-7

After losing to Michigan last week, Maryland came back on top on both offense and defense.

October 13, 2018 - 9:45 pm

By: Gabrielle DiPaula

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland defeated Rutgers 34-7. After losing to Michigan last week, Maryland came back on top on both offense and defense. The Terps took advantage of the Scarlet Knights' critical mistakes -- including a botched kickoff and five interceptions. 

The end of the first quarter included a pseudo on-side kick by Joseph Petrino that was recovered by Maryland native Chance Campbell, giving Maryland the ball on the Rutgers 23-yard line. Neither quarterbacks Tyrrell Pigrome or Kasim Hill could plunge the ball into the endzone, settling for field goal. This gave Maryland a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

The botched kicked was not the end of the Terps highlights. Terps running back Ty Johnson became the fourth player in the university’s history to record 4,000 career all-purpose yards. He joined Stefon Diggs (Minnesota Vikings), Torrey Smith (Carolina Panthers) and Lamont Jordan (previous team was the Denver Broncos). This game was also Johnson’s ninth 100-yard rushing game in his career and he is now tied for the fourth-most in Terp history with Brandon Ross (2012-2015) and C.J. Brown (2011-2014).   

"What a tremendous honor it is for him to have that record," Maryland interim Head Coach Matt Canada said postgame. "Obviously, he's a humble young man, but for him to be in the category with the four players you mentioned in the history of Maryland football -- only four players have had 4,000 total yards and he's one of those guys -- it's a great honor for him, our football team and our offense for doing a great job. I think our backs are playing so well – they're explosive. Our system is what it is. Obviously, one game we wanted Anthony McFarland to go.

"I thought Tayon Fleet-Davis was really close today. He had that one great run and he almost came out in front of that one. Then Ty has had some explosive plays. He had the long one against Minnesota, the kickoff return against Michigan and then he had the long one today. He's shown he's very explosive. I think our backs are playing well and we're blocking pretty well up front. It's a good situation."

Hill threw for three touchdown passes making it his best game, yet. Maryland also went 4-for-4 in red zone opportunities. Redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland rushed for 74 yards on nine carries, averaging 8.2 yards-per-carry on the day. McFarland averages 8.9 yards-per-carry making it the highest rushing average in the Big Ten. 

Unfortunately, for the Scarlet Knights, they completed more passes to the Maryland offense than they did to their own team -- with true freshman Artur Sitkowski going 2-for-16 for eight yards and four interceptions. Senior quarterback Giovanni Rescigno relieved Sitkowski of his quarterbacking duties, only to throw an interception of his own. 

Hill has only played in two more games than Sitkowski, with it only being the eighth game of his college career. Hill suffered a torn ACL last season, causing him only to play in three games. 

On defense, Maryland completely dominated the Scarlet Knights. Two of Maryland's interceptions were by Darnell Savage Jr, and the rest were by Tino Ellis, Byron Cowart, and Tre Watson -- the most picks the Terps have had since November 14, 1998, against former ACC rival, Duke (seven interceptions). The last time the Terps recorded four interceptions was November 10, 2001 against Clemson.

"I didn't know how many there were until I came inside," Canada said of the stellar Terrapin defense. "I was really excited for our defense. I mentioned last week that I'm like a cheerleader for our defense. They did a great job. They're around the football and when you're around the football, good things happen. They went and got a couple deflections -- we had the one protection issue where we put it on the ground and Kasim got hit -- but the next play the defense got the ball right back. That's great team football. It's great defense, but it's great team football. I'm really proud of how hard our guys are playing. Our defense is doing a great job and they played very well today."

Despite the fact that Maryland dominated a Big Ten opponent, they play on the road next weekend against Iowa. Last time Maryland faced Iowa was Halloween in 2015, where they lost 31-15. Right now, Iowa is 5-1 and 2-1 in the Big Ten West.

Follow Gabrielle on Twitter @gabrielledip