Maryland’s newly discovered high powered offense had helped the Terps put up a program record 187 points through the first five games. But for the second straight week, the Terps found themselves unable to find any footing with their offense and fell to Minnesota at home Saturday, 31-10.
Injuries to both teams’ starting quarterbacks led to a battle of the backups that pitted Maryland’s true freshman Tyrrell Pirgrome against Minnesota’s former walk-on Conor Rhoda. Neither QB shined with Rhoda finishing 7 of 15 for 82 yards and a touchdown, and Pigrome completing 18 of 37 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, most of which came against a prevent defense late in the game.
Pigrome got his first start of the season for the Terrapins after Perry Hills suffered a shoulder injury against Penn State. He started off shaky, missing a wide open receiver in the flat which would have gained a first down on Maryland’s first possession and throwing an interception on his first throw of the second drive. These issues persisted throughout the game. The Terps were able to hold Minnesota scoreless after the first interception, as they missed a 36-yard field goal attempt, but the defense could hardly keep up with the offense’s mistakes.
Just like against Penn State the previous week, Maryland gave up a touchdown with less than 20 seconds left in the half, and went into the break trailing 14-0.
“We have to be prepared to play no matter what happens at the end of the first half,” said Maryland linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. But the inefficacy of the offense did little to help the hardworking defense.
The Terps’ offense was out of sync throughout the game and didn’t complete a pass longer than 10 yards until late in the fourth quarter.
“Very sloppy performance, we killed ourselves with penalties and turnovers,” said Maryland’s head coach D.J. Durkin.
A muffed punt by special teams ace Will Likely III on the 16-yard-line led to Minnesota’s first touchdown and two holding penalties erased huge gains and stalled the Terps’ offense, including having a 3rd and 20 conversion. The Terps ended up turning the ball over four times, two interceptions and two fumbles.
“We’re a tempo offense,” Durkin said. “When you get a first down you can kinda get rolling, get the sticks rolling. We get a long run and there’s a holding penalty so there’s no tempo, now everyone walks back and it’s 2nd and 20.”
Maryland was flagged nine times for 75 yards on the day
The Terps finally got on the board with a 32-yard Adam Greene field goal with 11:15 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Golden Gophers responded by scoring on a 70-yard run by Rodney Smith to put Minnesota up 24-3.
“We gotta be able to make some of those plays” said defensive back Alvin Hill.
Pigrome then led the Terps down the field going 87 yards in 3:42 and capping the drive off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Moore. After stopping the Gophers again to get the ball back, Pigrome’s screen pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to dash any hopes of a Maryland comeback.
“We need to find our chemistry” wide-receiver Teldrick Morgan said.
“I think we had a great start to the season but we need to win against other Big Ten teams,” said sophomore communications and economics major Taylor Lavery.
Maryland has an opportunity to do just that when they play Michigan State at home next Saturday night.