University of Maryland football couldn’t have asked for a better start to Big Ten play. The Terps demolished Purdue, 50-7, to improve to 4-0 and surpass the amount of wins they had last season.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” head coach DJ Durkin said. “The most important thing to me was the enthusiasm and the energy that we came out and played with.”
On offense, Maryland’s running game led the way. Terps ran for 400 yards on 46 carries, an average of almost nine yards a carry. Ty Johnson had a tremendous afternoon with 7 carries for 204 yards and two touchdowns, with three carries going for more than 40 yards.
According to Johnson, there were many factors that led to Maryland’s success running the ball.
“It was speed and tempo, getting to the ball fast, making them not know what they’re doing,” Johnson said.
Maryland was just as dominant on defense, allowing just 205 yards. By the time Cole Herdman caught a pass from quarterback David Blough for a four yard touchdown, Terps were already up 36-0.
Purdue came into the game ranked second in the Big Ten in passing yards per game, but the Terps shut down Blough, who finished 18-41 for 132 yards.
“Putting the heat on the quarterback was one of our main goals,” defensive end Roman Braglio said, “and we were able to do that.”
After not throwing an interception in non-conference play, Hills was intercepted on his first pass Saturday. The turnover was deep in Maryland territory, but Purdue couldn’t capitalize on the great field position as J.D. Dellinger put a 35 yard field goal wide right.
Following the miss, the Terps moved right down the field, with Hills finding Wes Brown for 20 yards on the first play of the drive. Two plays later, Hills took the ball on a read option and scrambled for a 30 yard gain. After Kenneth Goins ran for 13 yards, Hills hit Teldrick Morgan on a fade route in the back left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Instead of kicking the extra point, D.J. Durkin decided to go for two, and Caleb Rowe found Goins for the two point conversion.
Terps continued to get big plays in the second quarter, as Lorenzo Harrison ran 62 yards for a touchdown to extend Maryland’s lead to 15-0. With the touchdown, Harrison became the first Maryland freshman to score a rushing touchdown in his first four career games.
“Lo’s a really unique talent,” Durkin said, “he can run you over, he can make you miss, and he can hit the big one.”
On their next offensive drive Maryland got great field position at Purdue’s 37. It ended with another Maryland touchdown, this time a seven yard run from Ty Johnson.
Johnson wasn’t done, and broke two tackles on his way to a 56 yard gain on the first play of an eight play 91 yard touchdown drive to end the first half. It appeared Maryland would have to settle for a field goal after Hills was sacked on first and second goal, but Hills took it in himself from 11 yards out to extend the Terps’ lead to 29-0.
Purdue had a chance to seize some momentum early in the third quarter after Hills fumbled and lost the ball at his own 16. But Jesse Aniebonam sacked Blough for an 11 yard loss on first down, and Maryland stopped the Boilermakers on fourth down.
On the next drive Johnson ran for 76 yards down to the Purdue 5, and Teldrick Morgan took a shovel pass from Hills for a touchdown on 3rd and goal.
Johnson had another long run in the fourth, a 48 yard touchdown to extend Maryland’s lead to 43-7.
The blowout allowed Durkin to give the reserves some good playing time. Tyrell Pigrome, the hero against Central Florida, orchestrated an eight play, 46 yard scoring drive of his own.
The freshman got his first career passing touchdown to end the drive, a nine yard strike to Jake Funk.
Terps will have a chance to go 5-0 next Saturday when they travel to Penn State, but Durkin knows that will be a tough task.
“We know what we’re up against,” Durkin said. “We need to have our best week of practice.”
Photos by Lauren Anikis.