The University of Maryland Terrapins rallied behind the loss of star, do-it-all playmaker Will Likely, the return of quarterback Perry Hills, and a balanced offense to beat Michigan State University, 28-17.
“There were a whole lot of emotions going around. Our leader was back; Perry (Hills) and I think that sparked them a little bit,” Maryland Head Coach DJ Durkin said. “To lose Will Likely on this team, you would think it would just deflate the sails. Or you can take the response of, ‘let’s not let this guy down.’”
Michigan State got the ball first and looked to establish the run, repeatedly feeding running back LJ Scott.
The Terps’ opening drive ended with a punt near the 50-yard-line.
On the Spartan’s ensuing drive, the Terps’ defense made a statement in the form of a touchdown-saving interception by defensive back Alvin Hill.
“One-on-one, no safety. I was by myself,” Hill said. “He was running and I seen it go up, but I was right on his hip pocket, on the outside of him… I kicked a little speed… and for that reason I was able to put the ball in my hands.”
Maryland took advantage of the turnover, mounting a nine-play, 96-yard drive capped off by an 8-yard run by Lorenzo Harrison and a successful 2-point conversion.
“You have to be able to run the ball in this conference,” Durkin said.
Early in the second quarter Michigan State cut the lead to 8-7 on a 48-yard LJ Scott TD run.
The teams traded three-and-outs before Maryland mounted a five-play, 90-yard drive highlighted by a 40-yard Ty Johnson TD run, putting the Terps up 14-7.
“The linemen do all the work. All we have to do is read and run,” Johnson said.
Michigan State responded by taking their ensuing drive 74 yards for a score on a 1-yard Gerald Holmes TD run.
Maryland got the ball back with 0:38 to go in the half. Perry Hills completed a pass, and then Lorenzo Harrison took a handoff, broke a few tackles and fumbled, giving Michigan State 0:14 to score.
The Spartans botched a fake field goal attempt to end the half.
Maryland was aided by Michigan State penalties in the first half – six penalties for 69 yards, compared to one penalty for 10 yards for the Terps.
Early in the third quarter, after punting the ball away and getting backed up to their 6-yard line, defensive back JC Jackson forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive lineman Chandler Burkett.
Maryland gave the ball right back, turning it over on downs.
The Spartans rode big runs from Brian Lewerke and LJ Scott into Maryland territory, producing a field goal, which gave them a 17-14 lead.
Maryland responded, putting together an impressive drive led by Ty Johnson and capped off by a Kenneth Goings, Jr. 2-yard TD run: 21-17 Terps.
“We were just going to keep doing what we were doing,” said Hills. “And if we could drive down there and score then we could pretty much put the game away.”
The Terps held the Spartan’s scoreless for the remainder of the game and scored another touchdown via a 9-yard Perry Hills pass to wide receiver Levern Jacobs.
“Perry just had his chances today. He took his shots,” Jacobs said. “With this offense it’s, ‘whenever your number gets called,’ and I think he did a good job today executing.”