Satur­day’s win could spark Terps and Pi­grome

Fresh­man QB scores TD on his only play

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Don Markus don.markus@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sport­sprof56

OR­LANDO, FLA. — One play rarely de­fines a team’s sea­son, par­tic­u­larly if it oc­curs in the first month.

One mo­ment typ­i­cally doesn’t cat­a­pult a player to im­me­di­ate star­dom, though its ef­fect might be later re­called as a cat­a­lyst.

What hap­pened late Satur­day night in Mary­land’s wild 30-24 dou­ble-over­time win over Cen­tral Florida at Bright House Net­works Sta­dium could turn out to be for­ma­tive for the 2016 Terps and true fresh­man quar­ter­back Tyrrell Pi­grome.

With the Terps miss­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to put Cen­tral Florida away, Pi­grome’s 24-yard touch­down run on the only snap he took pro­duced a po­ten­tial launch­ing point for him and the rest of first-year coach DJ Durkin’s team.

Com­ing in when fifth-year se­nior Perry Hills fell hard on his right shoul­der af­ter be­ing tack­led fol­low­ing a 1-yard gain, Pi­grome raced through the mid­dle of the Knights’ de­fense, go­ing nearly un­touched into the end zone the last 15 yards and set­ting off a rau­cous cel­e­bra­tion for Mary­land (3-0).

It was the first dou­ble-over­time win for the Terps since 2000, when Mary­land won at North Carolina State in Ralph Fried­gen’s first sea­son — giv­ing the team the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship and a trip to the Orange Bowl, which re­mains its only BCS bowl ap­pear­ance.

Asked if he thought this game will be re­mem­bered years from now for its sig­nif­i­cance, Durkin said, “I hope so, I think it’s a pro­gram-builder.”

Even though the Terps came in a 101⁄ point fa­vorite against a Mary­land wide­out Teldrick Mor­gan gets tack­led for a loss by UCF line­backer Shaquem Grif­fin dur­ing the Terps’ 30-24 dou­ble-over­time win. team that had gone win­less a year ago un­der for­mer coach Ge­orge O’Leary and was com­ing off a 51-14 rout at Michi­gan un­der new coach Scott Frost, Mary­land strug­gled on both sides of the ball.

It didn’t seem to mat­ter to Durkin.

“To go on the road in col­lege foot­ball and win games is not easy,” he said. “How many up­sets were there to­day else­where? We be­lieved this was the way this game was go­ing to go.

“Not dou­ble over­time. We thought it was go­ing to be a close game. They’re a good team. They’re tal­ented. Their pride was tested last week. Their fo­cus was on high alert.”

Of­fen­sively, the Terps seemed a bit over­whelmed at times by Cen­tral Florida’s speed and phys­i­cal­ity. Hills, who helped force a sec­ond over­time by run­ning on three straight plays — in­clud­ing a 20-yarder to set up his own 5-yard touch­down — was sacked five times.

De­spite forc­ing three first-half turnovers, the Terps led at half­time 10-7. De­spite a 64-yard kick­off re­turn by se­nior Will Likely to start the sec­ond half and tak­ing over at the UCF 33 on its first two pos­ses­sions of the half, Mary­land squan­dered a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties to score. Big Ten opener Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. TV: TBA Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM

Ju­nior kicker Adam Greene (Broad­neck) missed two of his three field-goal at­tempts.

Hills, who had com­pleted 73 per­cent of his passes the first two games, lead­ing the Big Ten, was off-tar­get most of the night (10of-23 for 127 yards).

One of Hills’ bet­ter passes was dropped at the UCF 5 by wide re­ceiver Mal­colm Cul­mer.

“It was pretty frus­trat­ing for me, I know it was frus­trat­ing for us as a team,” se­nior run­ning back Ken­neth Goins Jr. (Gil­man) said of the team’s of­fen­sive trou­bles. “We just had to keep go­ing. We couldn’t let not scor­ing off those turnovers af­fect us. We knew it was go­ing to be hard be­cause we’re away, in that type of en­vi­ron­ment. We had to keep our head down and keep work­ing.”

De­fen­sively, Mary­land spent most of the night chas­ing Cen­tral Florida fresh­man quar­ter­back McKen­zie Mil­ton, who was pro­moted from third-team to starter Fri­day when se­nior Justin Hol­man was ruled out with an in­jury. Mil­ton got out of trou­ble with his legs and his arm.

Mil­ton made sev­eral big plays on third-and-long, in­clud­ing a 31-yard touch­down pass to wide re­ceiver Tre’Quan Smith in the first over­time. On the play, re­plays ap­peared to show Smith run­ning out of bounds be­fore be­ing bumped by Likely as he caught the ball.

“He def­i­nitely hurt us scram­bling out of the pocket,” Durkin said of Mil­ton, who fin­ished 21-of-36 for 260 yards and two touch­downs. “A lot of those third downs were bro­ken-down plays, throw­ing the ball up in the air and him scram­bling. We’ve got to get that solved on de­fense.”

Pi­grome’s touch­down came a few min­utes af­ter Mil­ton’s fourth turnover — an in­ad­ver­tent back­ward pass that was ruled a fum­ble.

“Pi­grome, the guy’s got ice in his veins,” Durkin said. “There was noth­ing big about the mo­ment for him.”

Durkin, whose team played its third straight game with­out a turnover, said he never thought his team was go­ing to lose.

“I kept look­ing in the eyes of the guys on the side­line and see­ing how they were re­spond­ing and they were look­ing back, they were mak­ing eye con­tact, they were in it,” Durkin said. “To me, that’s the big­gest thing.”

The vic­tory helped keep Mary­land’s mo­men­tum go­ing into a week off be­fore the Terps open the Big Ten Con­fer­ence sea­son Oct. 1 against Pur­due (1-1) in Col­lege Park.

“We’re slowly up­ping the ante, slowly ap­proach­ing league play, we’re just try­ing to got to get ready,” Goins said. “We’ll be ready by then.”

CHARLES KING/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

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