By Luke Gentile
The Maryland Football team (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) kicked off homecoming day with a dominating win Oct. 13 — defeating Rutgers (1-6, 0-4 Big Ten), 34-7.
The game looked like it might be a defensive battle early on, as both teams held each other to three-and-outs on their first couple possessions. However, with just under three minutes left in the first quarter, running back Ty Johnson broke free of the Scarlet Knights to score a 65 yard touchdown run, igniting both the Terrapins and their fans.
Johnson’s score was followed immediately by Maryland recovering their own kickoff. The Terps had a first and ten at the Scarlet Knights’ 23-yard line, and kicker Joseph Petrino soon had the terps ahead 10-0 heading into the second quarter.
The Terps offense continued to get better in a game that would set personal records.
Despite only going 8 of 17 for completions, quarterback Kasim Hill threw a career-high three passing touchdowns. This matches his total from the first five games of the season.
“After every single game you go back and watch film to learn from the things you could have done better, and there are obviously things you could have done better,” He said. “I just want the feeling of winning, and that’s what we have today.”
Following his touchdown in the first quarter, Johnson ran across the entire width of the field for a 39-yard gain to start a possession that would culminate with Hill finding running back Tayon Fleet-Davis in the end-zone.
Johnson finished the game with 132 yards, becoming just the fourth Maryland player to achieve 4,000 career all-purpose yards. He is now in company with Torrey Smith, LaMont Jordan and Stefon Diggs.
“I don’t really pay attention to (records) all that much,” Johnson said. “My mom is really the one who pays attention. I just go in ready to play a game. Obviously, it means something, but as of right now we had a great win as a team.”
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the team’s offense was its defense. Maryland held Rutgers scoreless until the final minute of the game and caused five turnovers. The Terrapins recorded their most interceptions (five) since Nov. 14, 1998, when they had seven against Duke University.
The Scarlet Knights finished the game with a measly eight total passing yards, and Maryland defensive back Darnell Savage Jr. — who led the Terrapins with two interceptions — caught more passes than anyone on the Scarlet Knights’ offense.
Savage Jr. credits the defense’s performance to the trust the players have for one another.
“I think we all go out on the field trusting each other,” he said. “It’s not like I go out there worried if this guy is not going to get his job done, and I have to slack on my job to help him a little bit. We are in there together, got a lot of trust and love for each other and we don’t want to let our brothers down.”
After this weekend, the Terps sit in third in the standings of the Big Ten East. While this puts Maryland in a good spot approaching the midpoint of the season, Interim Coach Matt Canada said the Terps will continue to take things one game at a time.
“We’ll continue to get better,” he said. “We’ll continue to make plays. If we’re sitting here next week, and we win a game then that’s all that matters.”