Mary­land shows its met­tle in Big Ten opener

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

A month ago, Mary­land seemed to have no shot on the road in its season opener against Texas. The Terps were a dou­bledigit un­der­dog with a sopho­more quar­ter­back mak­ing his sec­ond ca­reer start. Seems to be the per­fect for­mula.

Just as team did in Austin, Mary­land did the same thing Satur­day at Min­nesota. With quar­ter­back

mak­ing just enough plays with his arm, legs and head, the Terps beat the pre­vi­ously un­beaten Golden Go­phers, 31-24.

The vic­tory helped erase the dis­ap­point­ment of last week’s 38-10 home loss to Cen­tral Florida and the angst sur­round­ing the loss of quar­ter­backs

who tore his ACL against Texas, and who did the same last week in Col­lege Park. Borten­schlager shows versatility: There were a lot of ques­tions about Borten­schlager after he strug­gled in place of Hill against UCF.

Given that Min­nesota came in lead­ing the Football Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion in scor­ing de­fense and rush­ing de­fense — al­beit against less-than-medi­ocre com­pe­ti­tion — it fig­ured that the Golden Go­phers were going to make Borten­schlager beat them. He did. By run­ning Borten­schlager a cou­ple of times early on, in­clud­ing on Mary­land’s first touch­down, it helped open things up for and

After be­ing held to 42 rush­ing yards in the loss to UCF, the Terps ran for 262 yards, with Johnson pro­vid­ing 130 yards and the game-win­ning touch­down on 18 car­ries. Har­ri­son added 75 yards on 17 car­ries. TV: Ra­dio:

Borten­schlager was not only ef­fi­cient in his ex­e­cu­tion, fin­ish­ing 18-for-28 pass­ing for 154 yards with two touch­downs. Funk a play­maker: Though play­ing in the shad­ows of Johnson and Har­ri­son, run­ning back is show­ing why Durkin and the coach­ing staff love him. The sopho­more might also be wor­thy of a big­ger role on of­fense, espe­cially in the red zone.

Funk, who has played pri­mar­ily on spe­cial teams and as a blocker on pass­ing downs, scored on a 4-yard pass from Borten­schlager early in the fourth quar­ter to put the Terps ahead 24.17. In Mary­land’s win at Texas to open the season, Funk’s touch­down opened a 51-34 lead.

Given the way Funk’s game seems to get bet­ter the closer he gets to the goal line, it should not come as a big sur­prise that he set the sin­gle-season Mary­land state record for touch­downs with 52 as a se­nior at Damascus.

With a need for a short-yardage back, espe­cially near the goal line, Funk should be in that role going for­ward. Terps find a kicker:

was a late ad­di­tion to the Mary­land ros­ter this sum­mer. In fact, the grad­u­ate trans­fer from Ge­orge­town wasn’t even listed on the first ros­ters that were handed to the me­dia for pre­sea­son prac­tice in Au­gust. While fel­low grad­u­ate stu­dent

(Broad­neck) ini­tially won the job, his open­ing game strug­gles at Texas opened the door for Durkin to re­open the com­pe­ti­tion. Greene had one field goal at­tempt blocked and re­turned for a touch­down, then missed badly on a 50-yarder.

Darm­stadter took over against Tow­son and made a school-record nine PATs, in­clud­ing one that banked in off the goal post. After mixed re­sults against UCF, Darm­stadter’s 51-yarder with time about to ex­pire in the sec­ond quar­ter Satur­day was his ca­reer best.

It might have been in­ter­est­ing to see what would have hap­pened if the final drive came down to Darm­stadter. Given that he was kick­ing into the same end of the sta­dium where he booted the 51yarder, he cer­tainly would have had con­fi­dence.

Johnson took care of that by scor­ing the win­ning touch­down and ju­nior cor­ner­back ended any pos­si­bil­ity of a Min­nesota comeback with his late in­ter­cep­tion. Best play: While it might be hard to ar­gue against Johnson's game-win­ning 34-yard touch­down with a lit­tle over a minute left, an­other can­di­date could be Borten­schlager's 7-yard touch­down run for Mary­land's first score. It cer­tainly opened up the ground game for Johnson and Har­ri­son the rest of the af­ter­noon. What this means: Not only is this road win — the first in the Big Ten for Durkin — huge for the Terps in gen­eral and Borten­schlager in terms of con­fi­dence, it could give Mary­land the edge in the bowl peck­ing or­der come late in the season. Own­ers of a 3-1 record with games still ahead against In­di­ana at home and Rut­gers at Yan­kee Sta­dium, the Terps now can claim a win over an­other team that was in the mid­dle-of-the-road bowl con­sid­er­a­tion.

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