Dominant win over Howard showed depth at running back
COLLEGE PARK —The three-game suspension of senior running back Wes Brown did not seem to be a big concern to new Maryland football coach DJ Durkin going into the season.
It is now even less of a worry. By the time Brown returns for the Big Ten Conference opener Oct. 1 against Purdue, he might have more competition than many believed.
In Saturday’s season-opening 52-13 win over Howard at Maryland Stadium, the Terps rushed for 315 yards and six touchdowns. Five running backs combined for 262 yards and all but one touchdown.
“Our backs did a great job, I think the depth at running back really showed,” Durkin said.
Durkin credited Maryland’s offensive line with setting the tone. Graduate transfer Friday, 7:30 p.m. TV: CBS Sports Network Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Trey Edmunds said that along with the line’s blocking, the wide receivers did a great job blocking on the outside.
It helped the Terps average 7.2 yards a carry and nearly 8 yards a carry by their running backs.
“I don’t care who’s at running back. You don’t do that without your O-line doing a great job up front,” Durkin said. “Hats off to those guys; they’re always the unsung heroes.”
Said Edmunds: “Our job is easy; they’re the ones that have the hard part. We couldn’t do anything without them.”
Freshman Lorenzo Harrison, who wasn’t even on the depth chart going into the game, finished with a team-high 67 yards on nine carries, including an 18-yard touchdown.
Freshman Jake Funk, the last of the five running backs to get his chance, carried eight times for 59 yards, including a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up his own 3-yard score.
Sophomore Ty Johnson and Edmunds each had 48 yards on six carries. Johnson, who started, scored on a 21-yard run. Edmunds, who scored on a 3-yard run, also had a 29-yard run.
Senior Kenneth Goins Jr. (Gilman), who scored Maryland’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run on the team’s opening possession, rushed four times for 40 yards.
“We could be really good” running the ball, Goins said. “We all have different talents, but when somebody else gets into the game, [it’s] like nothing changed. We just try to work to be good.”
Edmunds had rushed 166 times for 675 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman at Virginia Tech in 2012, but only 68 times for 282 yards and three touchdowns the past two years, prompting the transfer after graduation.
Asked if there is more camaraderie than competition among the group, Edmunds said, “I’m the type of guy where if someone is having success, I’m just as happy as they are.”
Edmunds said that he was joking with Funk in the fourth quarter about not getting into the end zone.
“I was talking to Jake toward the end of the game, ‘Look, Jake, you’re the only running back that hasn’t scored yet, let’s go, let’s go,’ ” Edmunds said. “I was joking, but luckily he did get in the end zone and he did in a very fashionable way.”
Durkin said Funk played much the way he did as a senior at Damascus, where he rushed for 57 touchdowns, including a title-game record seven in the 3A state championship game against Dundalk at M&T Bank Stadium.
“Jake showed you what he is — he’s a tough guy,” Durkin said. “I don’t know if you noticed, he was covering kickoffs for us, he was blocking guys on punt pressure, he played on all special teams.
“That’s just Jake. He just does such a great job of finishing runs, and doing all the little things in a game that isn’t always noticed.”
As for Harrison, Durkin said that he couldn’t list all his running backs on the two-deep depth chart, adding that he plans on using a larger-than-normal rotation as long as he can.
Harrison, who might be the most explosive of Maryland’s running backs, is going to be in the mix.
“He’s always been in the plan for us, playing-wise,” Durkin said. “Lorenzo is a unique ball carrier. He can make you miss and he can run you over. We’ll keep giving him the ball, for sure.”
Lorenzo Harrison, a freshman who wasn’t even on Maryland’s depth chart going into Saturday’s game, finished with a team-high 67 yards on nine carries, including this 18-yard touchdown.
Graduate transfer Trey Edmunds, left, scores a first-half touchdown on a blocked punt. Edmunds and sophomore Ty Johnson each had 48 yards on six carries as five Maryland running backs combined for 262 yards and all but one touchdown.