Feature photo courtesy of Austin Kleber.
The Maryland backfield forced Purdue to chase in a race the Boilermakers couldn’t keep pace with, leading Maryland to sprint away with a 50-7 win.
The dynamic, deep Terrapins rushing group picked up 400 yards on the ground, led by sophomore Ty Johnson’s nearly 30 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Maryland defense held Purdue’s offense to 10 rushing yards.
Johnson had runs of 56 and 76 yards, neither of which ended in touchdowns. He broke loose again with a 48-yard score in the 4th quarter, giving him his second touchdown and 204 yards on just seven attempts.
Defensive end Roman Braglio, a frequent witness to Johnson’s explosiveness, was glad to see the speedy back use his wheels against the opposition.
“In practice … when I see [Johnson] just start running, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve gotta chase him now,’” Braglio joked. “To see him do it against someone else, it comes with a feeling of, ‘I hate you for doing it to me, but keep doing it to them.’”
Johnson wasn’t the only runner who left Purdue in the dust. Freshman Lorenzo Harrison took control of the game early in the second quarter with a 62-yard burst up the middle that concluded in the end zone with a 15-0 lead. He became the first Maryland freshman to score touchdowns in each of his first four games.
Their counterparts from Purdue struggled to string together positive chunks of yardage on the ground. Until a 13-yard scramble from backup quarterback Elijah Sindelar late in the fourth quarter, the Boilermakers had -3 yards rushing. The 10 yards represented the lowest rushing allowance since the Terrapins gave up eight to Boston College in 2012.
“Our defensive line did a great job up front and we were able to make them one-dimensional,” Maryland head coach DJ Durkin said.
The dimension Purdue resorted to wasn’t effective, either. Quarterback David Blough found his receivers on just 18 of 41 throws, putting together 132 yards and a late touchdown. Staring at a 50-7 deficit, Blough was relieved halfway through the final quarter.
The Terrapins brought Blough down for six sacks resulting in a loss of 45 yards, derailing a passing attack that had exceeded 300 yards in consecutive games.
“I could have gotten the ball out of my hands, maybe thrown it away,” Blough said. “There is a list that goes on forever on what we could have done differently. I was just not sharp with it.”
After UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton frequently bought time with his mobility and made big throws against Maryland, Durkin emphasized the importance of getting to the quarterback while preventing him from breaking the pocket.
“Our plan going in was, ‘We’re not going to let him get comfortable back there,’” Durkin said. “We brought any number [of rushers], we brought corners, safeties, backers … Everyone that played on defense blitzed at some point today.”
Braglio, Jesse Aniebonam, Jermaine Carter, Alvin Hill and Shane Cockerille combined for Maryland’s six sacks. The half attributed to Cockerille was the first of his career after the senior converted from fullback before the season.
Senior wide receiver Teldrick Morgan, a transfer from New Mexico State and Hanover, Maryland native, scored the first touchdowns of his Maryland career. The first came on a diving play in the left corner of the end zone, the second on a jet sweep shovel pass from quarterback Perry Hills.
With a big lead, Hills hit the bench early for the third time this season. He threw for two touchdowns and 87 yards while running for another touchdown.
With the resounding win, Hills’ interception, the first Terrapins turnover of the year, is an afterthought.
Durkin praised the defense for their response to having to come back out on the field for the first time following a turnover this season. With Purdue set up at Maryland’s 23-yard line, the Terrapins held steady and kicker J.D. Dellinger missed a 35-yard field goal wide right.
In its first Big Ten test of the season, Maryland stood up to the challenge and improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2013.
“I knew everybody was ready,” Morgan said. “You could see it in their eyes that we were ready for this game.”
Edited by Austin Kleber.