Landover, Md. — It was one of those rare occurrences when the sequel proved even more impressive than the original.
Maryland emerged from a trying offseason with an emotionally charged 34-29 upset of No. 23 Texas on Saturday, shaking off a lengthy weather delay to provide Matt Canada a satisfying victory in his debut at the Terrapins’ interim coach.
After blowing a 24-7 lead, Maryland forced three turnovers in the final 6:09 and scored the game’s final 10 points to stun the Longhorns in the opener for the second year in a row.
As remarkable as last season’s 51-41 win at Texas was, this victory was far more notable because of what they endured this summer.
Maryland has dedicated its season to offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed on the practice field on May 29 and died two weeks later of heatstroke.
The Terrapins paid tribute to McNair by lining up with 10 players on their first offensive play. Maryland waited for a delay of game to be called, and Texas declined the penalty in a show of sportsmanship.
Maryland players wore a sticker No. 79 on their helmets and emerged from the tunnel with one of his former teammates carrying a red flag, also emblazoned with McNair’s number. In addition, there was a moment of silence before the game.
The circumstances surrounding the medical treatment administered to McNair on the scene, as well as charges of bullying by the coaching staff, led to the university placing head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave and the resignation of strength coach Rick Court.
Canada, the offensive coordinator, was named the interim coach. To his credit, he put in a strong offensive game plan and had his team ready to play.
“I just can’t say enough about our players, everything they’ve been through and the way they stuck together,” Canada said. “It was a great way to honor Jordan. This was a win for Jordan. We’re certainly proud of our team, proud of our program.”
Freshman Jeshaun Jones ran for a score, threw for one and caught a 65-yard TD pass. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 17 for 29 for 222 yards.
“Everything that has happened this summer has brought us closer together,” Hill said. “It was just fun to be back out there.”
Now in their second year under coach Tom Herman, the Longhorns figured this opener would be different.
It was not.
“A lot of people are going to say it feels a lot like last year,” Herman said. “It doesn’t to me.”
Texas took its first lead in the third quarter after Canada opted to keep his offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from the Maryland 36. Hill was stuffed for no gain, Kyle Porter scored from the 2 to make it 29-24.
After Hill directed a 79-yard drive that put the Terps back in front with 14:25 remaining, a potential thunderstorm caused a delay of 86 minutes.
Texas came out flat after the stoppage.
“This is not much of a setback,” left guard Patrick Vahe insisted. “We just have to learn from all of the mistakes we had in this game.”
The game began with teams putting up 21 points in just over seven minutes. Jones opened with a 28-yard touchdown run, Longhorns junior Devin Duvernay caught a 39-yard pass in the end zone and Jones followed with a TD catch.
In the second quarter, the Terrapins cashed in on a 15-yard punt, getting a halfback-option throw from Jones to Taivon Jacobs for a 24-7 lead.
The Longhorns nearly pulled even by halftime. A touchdown run by Keaontay Ingram, a safety and an excellent catch in the end zone by Collin Johnson made it 24-22 at the break.
The Longhorns fell from the rankings after losing in the opener to Maryland last year, and it’s likely that will happen again.
Kudos to Canada and the players for bouncing back from extremely trying circumstances to show that this season might not be a washout after all.
The Longhorns lamented several critical mistakes that played a pivotal role in the loss. In addition to the three turnovers, Texas committed 10 penalties for 102 yards.
“We beat ourselves out there,” said Johnson, who had three receptions for 59 yards, “Nothing against Maryland. We got their best shot like we knew they would and we came up short. We have to respond the right way.”
More Big Ten
(At) Illinois 31, Kent State 24: Illinois exteneded its home-opener win streak to 21 games, the fourth-longest in the nation.
But the win didn’t come easily for an Illinois team expected to easily turn around a 2-10 season from last year.
Following a lackluster first half, Illinois quarterback AJ Bush showed why offensive coordinator Rod Smith called him a “dynamic, dual threat.” Bush passed for 190 yards on 23 attempts, and rushed for 139 yards on 21 carries.
Reggie Corbin carried 10 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns for the Illini (1-0), while Mike Esptein and RaVon Bonner added rushing touchdowns.
Woody Barrett, announced by first-year Kent State coach Sean Lewis as the starting quarterback at game time, was 28-of-41 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an interception late when Illinois linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips picked off a short pass into the end zone that would have tied it with less three minutes remaining.
Barrett also was the leading rusher for the Golden Flashes with 18 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown.
Before the game, Illinois announced the indefinite suspension of five players, including three starters: safety Bennett Williams, cornerback Nate Hobbs and tight end Lou Dorsey. Wideout Carmoni Green and defensive tackle Deon Pate also were suspended. No explanation was immediately given.
Indiana 38, (at) Florida International 28: Peyton Ramsey threw for three touchdown passes as the Hoosiers overcame a 7-0 first quarter deficit and scored three unanswered touchdowns.
Ramsey connected with Donavan Hale on scores from 18 and 2 yards and also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Hendershot. Ramsey completed 20-of-27 passes for 156 yards.
Indiana broke a 7-7 tie and took the lead for good on Jonathan Crawford’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Backup Michael Penix replaced Ramsey in the second half and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mike Majette. Penix led the Hoosiers on another scoring drive which ended on Logan Justus’ 36-yard field goal for a 38-21 lead with 9:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Florida International’s Anthony Jones rushed for 88 yards on 15 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 36 and two yards.
The Hoosiers played without sophomore running back Morgan Ellison, who rushed for a team-high 704 yards last season. Ellison was suspended for the opener because of a violation of team rules.
Ramsey overcame an interception to Florida International’s Dorian Hall in the team’s first series and led the Hoosiers to touchdowns in three of their next four drives. Ramsey moved Indiana to the Florida International 37-yard line in the final series of the first half before time elapsed.
(At) Iowa 33, Northern Illinois 7: Kirk Ferentz’s record-setting 144th win at Iowa could not have been more emblematic of his tenure in Iowa City.
There were times when every play on offense looked like a struggle — especially early on. But they kept grinding, finally breaking through with a win powered by mental toughness, the running game and a punishing defense.
Nate Stanley threw for 108 yards and a touchdown, Ferentz passed mentor Hayden Fry as Iowa’s all-time leader in wins and the Hawkeyes rolled past Northern Illinois.
Fry, who counted Ferentz among his assistants for nearly a decade, went 143-89-6 in 20 seasons before Ferentz took over in 1999.
After a very sluggish start, Stanley found Noah Fant for a 1-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter to make it 10-0. Ivory Kelly-Martin’s 2-yard run pushed Iowa’s lead to 17, and Toren Young’s 6-yard touchdown rush put the Hawkeyes ahead 24-0 early in the fourth quarter.
It was a signature Ferentz win, with the Hawkeyes running for 209 yards while holding the Huskies to just 211 yards overall.
Marcus Childers threw for 105 yards and a late touchdown for Northern Illinois, which had won four of its last five against Power Five opponents. The Huskies were without top receiver Spencer Tears (43 catches in 2017), who was suspended for undisclosed reasons.
(At) Rutgers 35, Texas State 7: After season-opening losses the past two seasons against ranked Washington, Rutgers’ third-year coach Chris Ash started with a win for the first time in his tenure.
Raheem Blackshear and Jonathan Hilliman had two touchdowns apiece to lead Rutgers past Texas State in a season opener.
Hilliman did almost all his damage on the ground with 60 yards on 15 carries and Blackshear, a fellow running back, led Rutgers in catches with seven for 56 yards and a touchdown to go along with 62 rushing yards and a score.
Freshman quarterback Art Sitkowski had an up-and-down day for Rutgers, going 20-for-29 for 205 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. The second was a pick-6 by Kordell Rodgers, returning it 51 yards to make it 21-7 midway through the third quarter.
Right before halftime with a 21-0 lead, Sitkowski threw a red zone interception — his first of the day — after leading his team down the field from its 1-yard line.
Texas State was led by sophomore quarterback Will Jones III, who was making his first collegiate start. He went 6-of-19 for 79 yards and an interception while also rushing for 33 yards on 14 carries before being replaced by freshman Tyler Vitt in the fourth quarter.
It was the largest margin of victory for Rutgers since defeating No. 23 South Florida 31-0 in 2009.