Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
Maryland edges Penn State after testy start
STATECOLLEGE» Maryland coach Randy Edsall wasn’t thrilled the way Saturday’s game at Penn State started. He couldn’t have been happier about the way it ended.
Brad Craddock kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to give the Terrapins (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) a 20-19 come-from-behind victory over Penn State (44, 1-4).
The victory not only made the Terps bowl-eligible and extended Penn State’s losing streak to four games, it helped Maryland achieve its goal of establishing a rivalry with a team that has dominated their series.
Maryland notched a first-ever victory at Penn State and its second win of the teams’ 38-game series, which it trails 35-2-1. The teams hadn’t played since 1993.
The Terrapins’ team captains refused to shake hands with Penn State’s captains during the pregame coin toss, something Edsall did not condone.
But the Terps’ feisty attitude continued throughout. The won the field-position battle against the Nittany Lions to set up a pair of go-ahead scores.
“Let the rivalry begin now; let it begin,” Edsall said. “There should be a trophy for this game. It’s a bordering state. Let’s have some fun.
“Let’s really make it competitive. That was a hard-fought game.”
That included some pregame pushing and shoving between the teams and the coin-toss antics that resulted in a 15-yard penalty before the opening kickoff.
“Let me just start off by saying I want to apologize to Penn State fans, to their team, their university for what took place at the beginning of the game,” Edsall said.
“That is not who we are. Our emotions got the best of us. We’ve got to be above that.”
The field position that the early penalty provided to Penn State resulted in a 47-yard field goal by Sam Ficken, one of his four in the game.
But Maryland’s defense held Penn State to 42 yards rushing and kept quarterback Christian Hackenberg in check with 177 yards passing on an 18-for-42 performance.
Hackenberg was sacked six times in the game and has been sacked 31 times this season.
“You just have to keep on fighting through it,” Hackenberg said. “It’s part of the deal, trying to do whatever you can to focus on doing your job.”
Maryland forced eight Penn State punts, but freshman Daniel Pasquariello averaged just 36.8 yards per kick.
Maryland punted 11 times, going 1 of 14 on third-down conversions. Punter Nathan Renfro averaged 44.3 yards per kick, consistently pinning Penn State deep in its own territory.
“We’re having issues right now playing field-position games,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We’re having a hard time swinging field position on special teams.”
Trailing 16-7 late in the third quarter, the Terps moved ahead after quarterback C.J. Brown engineered back-to-back scoring drives, aided by Alex Twine’s fumble recovery of Grant Haley’s kickoff return.
Penn State’s Ficken kicked his fourth field goal with 6:52 remaining to give the Nittany Lions a 19-17 lead.
The Terps held Penn State (4-4, 1-4) to a threeand-out, and William Likely returned a 37-yard Penn State punt 15 yards to the Lions’ 42. Maryland’s Wes Brown took a 13-yard pass from C.J. Brown to the 29, and three plays later, Craddock converted his 14th straight field goal for the winning margin.
The Terps, who limited Penn State to 219 total yards, again held the Nittany Lions on downs to seal the victory.
“This is a win that can make a big difference in a lot of different things,” Edsall said. “To come here, to get bowl eligible, to get this win .”
C.J. Brown, who victimized by some dropped passes, was 18 of 38 for 161 yards. He hit receiver Stefon Diggs six times for 53 yards.
“I’m just so happy for our young men,” said Edsall, who called the victory the biggest he’s had in his four seasons at Maryland.