John­son joins se­lect RB com­pany

Terps tail­back up to 4th on all-time lists; Cowart makes im­pact plays for de­fense

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

COL­LEGE PARK – has never been im­pressed by his ac­com­plish­ments at Mary­land. So it was no sur­prise how the se­nior run­ning back re­acted Satur­day af­ter his per­for­mance in a 34-7 home­com­ing win over Rut­gers put him in se­lect com­pany.

By rush­ing for 132 yards on just nine car­ries, John­son went over the 100-yard mark for the 11th time in his ca­reer. More sig­nif­i­cantly, he is now fourth in all-time rush­ing with 2,564 yards. He also reached 4,081 ca­reer all-pur­pose yards, join­ing

and among Terps to pass 4,000. John­son’s re­ac­tion? “I don’t re­ally pay at­ten­tion to it all too much,” said John­son, who had a 65-yard touch­down run against Rut­gers. “My mom’s re­ally the one that re­ally pays at­ten­tion to stuff like that. I just go in ready to play a game. That stuff doesn’t mean any­thing to me.” John­son smiled. “Well, it means some­thing,” he said. “But as of right now, we had a great win as a team. I’m about to see my mom, she’s prob­a­bly go­ing to hug me and be like, ‘Oh my God.’ But it’s great. It’s a great feel­ing and it’s on to next week start­ing to­mor­row and Tues­day."

The per­for­mance by John­son fol­lowed one for which he was named the Big Ten’s Spe­cial Teams Player of the Week be­cause of a 98-yard kick­off re­turn for a touch­down in a 42-21 loss at then-No. 15 Michi­gan. Big game for Cowart: Ju­nior de­fen­sive end who trans­ferred to Mary­land this sea­son af­ter two dis­ap­point­ing years at Auburn, con­tin­ues to show why he was con­sid­ered among the na­tion’s elite pass rush­ers com­ing out of high school.

Cowart fin­ished Satur­day’s game with three tack­les, in­clud­ing a sack and two tack­les for losses, and made his first ca­reer in­ter­cep­tion on a pass tipped at the line of scrim­mage by ju­nior linebacker

Even af­ter he was called for a horsec­ol­lar tackle on Rut­gers quar­ter­back

to negate a sec­ond sack and a third tackle for loss, Mary­land in­terim coach liked what he saw from the 6-foot-4, 293-pound Cowart.

“I know you can feel him out there,” Canada said.

What has im­pressed Canada more from the former No.1 high school prospect in the coun­try has been the lead­er­ship he has pro­vided since join­ing the team in Jan­uary.

“He is a tremen­dous young man,” Canada said. “He was a cap­tain for us to­day. … When [the de­fense] comes off the field, it’s, ‘Let’s go, coach. Let’s get it.' I think he’s been a tremen­dous team­mate. He’s come in and says, ‘I’m a team­mate. I’m go­ing to work.’ He’s play­ing re­ally hard. So I re­ally like him a lot and I love the way he’s work­ing for us. I’m proud of him.” Penal­ties still a prob­lem: Though the penal­ties were not as prob­lem­atic Satur­day as they’ve been in other games, Mary­land’s propen­sity to com­mit them is still a con­cern for Canada.

The Terps, who rank near the top (or bot­tom as the case might be) of the Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion in penal­ties com­mit­ted and penalty yards per game, had nine in­frac­tions for 85 yards Satur­day.

“None of them are OK," Canada said. “I've got to do a bet­ter job and we talk about it and we em­pha­size it. The thing we’re not go­ing to do is play scared. We’re not go­ing to play scared to make a mis­take. We can’t lose the game do­ing silly things.”

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