Kasim Hill makes a defender miss. Photo courtesy Maryland Athletics.

Ground game powers Terps past No. 23 Texas

With just over 11 minutes left to play in the Maryland Terrapins’ 51-41 win over Texas, the Longhorns lined up for a crucial fourth-down conversion attempt.

Shane Buechele dropped back to pass for the Longhorns, driving en route to turn a 20-point deficit into a lead. But the Terps defense made their move.

Buechele was forced to roll out of the pocket and, with nothing open downfield, was dropped for a sack by Tyran Hunt.

Then, after Maryland’s offense had lost starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome to injury on the previous drive, they looked ready to give the ball back to Texas when the Terps were forced into a third-and-19 after two penalties.

True freshman Kasim Hill dropped back to deliver a strike to D.J. Moore on the left side of the field. Moore turned to catch the ball and attacked upfield to put the Terps inside the Longhorns 10-yard line.

“Kasim came in and just handled the moment,” coach DJ Durkin said. “It was a lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about and working on as a team.”

Two plays later, Hill rushed into the endzone and raised Maryland up 10. The result was no longer in doubt.

Maryland walked away from Austin with their first win over a ranked opponent on the road since beating Clemson by three points in 2009.

After throwing a pick-six on their first possession and being forced to punt, Maryland came up with an interception, placing their offense in good field position. Maryland marched down the field, allowing Pigrome to punch one in from 25-yards away with 8:28 left in the first.

“There wasn’t anybody who panicked or flinched,” Durkin said. “That was our mentality throughout the whole game.”

The touchdown propelled Maryland to 27 unanswered points, including a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Antoine Brooks.

The Terps struggled during the third quarter as they were outscored 20-7 in the period, but their poor play was bookended by an explosive first half and a strong fourth quarter.

Maryland sealed the game with a Jake Funk touchdown rush that came with 2:08 left to play.

Pigrome, who finished with 175 yards on 9-of-12 passing and threw two touchdowns, had the best game of his Terps career. The coaching staff raved about his improvements as a passer and the results were clear.

In the win, Maryland carried the ball 43 times for 263 yards and used the ground game to set up big plays through the air. In addition to Pigrome and Hill, both members of the Terps’ “presidential backfield” scored on the ground.

Maryland’s offense struggled at times, especially on third downs after the ground game failed early in the possession. The Terps were 3-of-11 on third-down conversions, with Hill’s pass to Moore being the lone conversion on third-and-long.

On the defensive side of the ball, Maryland continually applied pressure to Buechele, finishing with five sacks and eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Despite this, Buechele picked apart the Terps defense when given time to make his throws. He finished with 375 yards and two touchdowns, albeit one during garbage time, on 34-of-52 passing.

Leading the defense was redshirt senior linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., who finished the game with two sacks.

Although Texas finished with 41 points, Maryland’s defense held the Longhorns to just three touchdowns. Texas cornerback Holton Hill scored twice during the game, once in the pick-six and again on a blocked field goal. Texas also scored on a 91-yard punt return by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps.

“I definitely think this is a huge stepping stone for the program,” Carter Jr. said. “I’ve been here five years and we haven’t beaten a ranked team in five years. Like I said, they’re a great team but you know we’ve just got to move forward and look forward to Towson next week.”

The Terps will play their home opener against FCS opponent Towson next Saturday at Maryland Stadium in College Park.

Jake Brodsky

Jake Brodsky

Recruiting Writer at The Left Bench
Jake started writing for The Left Bench during the spring semester of his freshman year. He is from Rockville, Maryland and loves all things sports related. He is a fan of the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals and Orioles and has been following them closely since he was young. In addition to sports, Jake enjoys photography. He is currently a freelance photographer who works mostly Maryland and local high school sports. He is a journalism major.
Jake Brodsky
About Jake Brodsky 69 Articles
Jake started writing for The Left Bench during the spring semester of his freshman year. He is from Rockville, Maryland and loves all things sports related. He is a fan of the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals and Orioles and has been following them closely since he was young. In addition to sports, Jake enjoys photography. He is currently a freelance photographer who works mostly Maryland and local high school sports. He is a journalism major.