Safety Darnell Savage, Jr. returns an interception 23 yards for a touchdown. It was the first score of the game for Maryland in a 35-14 loss to Temple.

Maryland offense falters as Terps lose first game of season to Temple, 35-14

This story has been updated.

Last week for Maryland, first-half penalties stopped multiple drives for the team.

Today, it was just offensive ineptitude.

In Maryland’s first game of the season at Maryland Stadium, Temple (1-2) outgained Maryland, 429-195, in a 35-14 loss, the Terrapins’ first of the season.

Maryland (2-1) failed to score a touchdown on offense.

“I take full responsibility for this loss,” interim head coach Matt Canada said. “We didn’t play well enough, so I would say I didn’t coach well enough on offense. Obviously, defense was on the field a lot. I thought they played really, really hard and did a lot of good things. We just continued to get nothing formed.”

The game started as a tough defensive effort, with four straight three-and-outs to start the game. On Temple’s third possession of the game, we finally saw some offense. A 44-yard gain off a screen pass from quarterback Anthony Russo to wide receiver Freddie Johnson set the Owls up in Maryland territory.

After the Terrapins forced a fourth down, Temple pulled off a fake punt and completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Johnson. Backup quarterback Todd Centeio lined up as the left blocker on the play, rolled to the right and found an open Johnson for the score.

By the end of the first quarter, Maryland was down 7-0 and had generated just 21 yards on offense.

Temple extended their lead to 14 in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run from defensive tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd. A 40-yard completion to wide receiver Brodrick Yancy continued the drive when it looked like Maryland had Temple stopped on 3rd-and-16.

Maryland inched a little closer, but it wasn’t the offense that put points on the board. Safety Darnell Savage, Jr. intercepted a Temple pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown to cut the Temple lead to seven.

But the Owls pushed their lead back to 14 before the half ended. Temple executed a three-minute, 11-play, 65-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown run from fullback Rob Ritrovato with just seconds left in the half.

Temple scored again, as it was more of the same to start the second half. On the first drive of the half, Russo found a wide-open target in tight end Kenny Yeboah for a 47-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-7.

Maryland generated just 2 yards of offense in the third quarter and went into the fourth facing a three-score deficit.

After a failed fourth-down attempt by Temple, Maryland took over from their own 29-yard line and the offense finally started pushing the ball down the field. Two straight runs by running back Anthony McFarland – of 20 and 16 yards, respectively – put Maryland in Temple territory.

Temple sacked quarterback Kasim Hill a few plays later and set up 4th-and-12 in what was Maryland’s best offensive possession in a while. Hill completed a pass to wide receiver Jeshaun Jones, but he couldn’t come down with a foot in bounds and Temple took over from their 26-yard line.

Maryland started a rally late in the fourth quarter, when defensive end Jesse Aniebonam blocked a Temple punt and returned it 27 yards to cut the Temple lead to 14.

The Terrapins got the ball back with 5:21 left in the game and drove into Temple territory, courtesy of a Temple roughing the passer penalty and a 34-yard run from McFarland. It was a career day for McFarland, who finished the game with 107 rushing yards, his first 100-yard game.

McFarland’s big day came without Maryland’s starting senior offensive tackles, Derwin Gray and Damian Prince, who did not play because of undisclosed injuries.

“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Canada said. “It affects you when your two starting tackles are out, but that has no bearing on what happened. They just didn’t play well enough, and I didn’t coach well enough.”

McFarland’s effort was all for nothing, as Hill threw an interception to linebacker Shaun Bradley, who returned it 78 yards for the touchdown and ended any comeback Maryland had hoped for. The pick was also the first of Hill’s career. Hill finished the game completing 7-of-17 passes for 56 yards.

Canada inserted Tyrrell Pigrome after Hill’s miscue, but Pigrome’s pass attempt in Temple territory was intercepted as well. Temple ran out the clock after taking over and walked away with a 35-14 victory.

Maryland will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season with a Big Ten matchup against Minnesota next Saturday.