Feature photo courtesy of umterps.com.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Entering Saturday’s contest at Ohio State as overwhelming underdogs, Terrapins’ football matched the nation’s first-ranked team blow-for-blow.
Quarterback Perry Hills rekindled the Terrapins struggling offense with his legs, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the 49-28 loss.
“Perry Hills was a warrior today,” Edsall said. “He just took some shots and kept going. He was a guy that made the big plays for us all day long.”
A string of explosive plays from Hills gave Maryland a fighting chance against the defending national champions. The Terrapins jumped out to an early lead when Hills hit a wide-open D.J. Moore for a 52-yard touchdown on the team’s opening drive.
Ohio State quickly responded scoring three straight touchdowns – a diving score from quarterback J.T. Barrett, a 2-yard touchdown run from running back Ezekiel Elliott and a pass to wide receiver Braxton Miller.
In the second quarter, Hills kept the Terrapins with a score at half when he zipped up field on 75-yard run to the Ohio State 3-yard. The ground explosion set up Hills’ own rushing touchdown that kept Maryland with a score before halftime.
Maryland came out of the tunnel at halftime firing. The offense’s first-half momentum fueled the Terrapins to a 69-yard march into Buckeyes territory for the game-tying touchdown.
“We just saw a great opportunity and we wanted to take advantage of it,” Hills said. “You don’t get a bigger stage than this.”
As Maryland clung to the 21-21 tie through three hard-fought quarters, the Buckeyes finally lived up to their ranking late in the third quarter. Ohio State put up 28 unanswered points in the second half, showcasing the defending national champions’ score-now offense.
Maryland’s offense plagued itself with mistakes and missed opportunities throughout the game.
The offensive line gave Hills minimal pass protection, allowing Buckeyes’ defenders to sack the signal-caller four times. Dropped balls also haunted Maryland’s wide receiving corps, as 15 of Hills’ 27 pass attempts fell incomplete.
While there is no word on the status of Maryland’s starting quarterback in the future, Hills said he would shoulder the responsibility of improving the offense going forward.
“I’m disappointed in myself for how I played today,” Hills said. “I missed too many things and I’m going to go back and watch the film and get them corrected.”
A fourth quarter pick by Hills sealed the loss for a Terrapins squad that showed a renewed sense of fight on offense.
The offensive rejuvenation came amidst swirling speculations of coach Randy Edsall’s impending dismissal. Before walking out of his postgame press conference, Edsall repeatedly emphasized his focus was on Maryland’s players and the challenge of Ohio State.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Edsall said. “They went out and played their hearts out, putting all the distractions behind them. They went out there and played till the very end.”
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