It’s fiz­zle, not siz­zle, as Terps stum­ble

Of­fense fails to find end zone in lop­sided loss

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY GENE WANG

Any buzz the Mary­land foot­ball team gen­er­ated with a pair of vic­to­ries to be­gin the season fiz­zled Satur­day af­ter­noon when the Ter­rap­ins failed to pro­duce an of­fen­sive touch­down, com­mit­ted two fourth-quar­ter turnovers and missed de­fen­sive as­sign­ments through­out in a 35-14 loss to vis­it­ing Tem­ple.

Mary­land (2-1) man­aged just 195 yards of of­fense in front of an an­nounced crowd of 32,057 at Mary­land Sta­dium, the team’s low­est fig­ure for a home opener since 2012.

The short­handed Ter­rap­ins were 1 for 12 on third down over­all and had just 50 rush­ing yards and five first downs through three quar­ters, leav­ing in­terim coach Matt Canada blam­ing him­self for the woe­ful show­ing.

“We didn’t do any­thing on of­fense to­day, so I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for this loss,” said Canada, who calls the plays. “We didn’t play well enough. Ob­vi­ously I didn’t coach well enough on of­fense.”

Pre­vi­ously win­less Tem­ple (1-2) sealed the out­come when line­backer Shaun Bradley in­ter­cepted Kasim Hill’s pass and re­turned it 78 yards for a touch­down with 4:11 left in the fourth quar­ter to set the fi­nal mar­gin.

Hill com­pleted 7 of 17 passes for

56 yards and was sacked four times be­hind an of­fen­sive line miss­ing both start­ing tack­les. Backup Tyrrell Pi­grome went 1 of 4 for seven yards with an in­ter­cep­tion and was sacked three times.

The Owls had all but put the game out of reach on the first se­ries of the sec­ond half with quar­ter­back Anthony Russo’s 47yard touch­down pass to tight end Kenny Ye­boah to take a 28-7 lead. The scor­ing play with 12:10 to go in the third quar­ter capped a 75yard drive on six plays and fea­tured Russo us­ing a shoul­der pump fake to freeze Ter­rap­ins de­fend­ers.

The only points for Mary­land, which got 107 rush­ing yards from red­shirt fresh­man tail­back Anthony McFar­land, came via an in­ter­cep­tion and a blocked punt that were re­turned for touch­downs. The heav­ily fa­vored Ter­rap­ins also per­mit­ted 429 yards of of­fense to an op­po­nent that opened the season with home losses to FCS squad Vil­lanova and Buf­falo.

Last week, the Ter­rap­ins amassed 444 rush­ing yards, their most since 1999, dur­ing a 45-14 win at Bowl­ing Green, fu­el­ing spec­u­la­tion that they could be un­de­feated en­ter­ing their Big Ten opener next Satur­day vs. Min­nesota. Mary­land pre­vi­ously beat then-No. 23 Texas, 34-29, in the season opener Sept. 1 at FedEx Field in Landover, but Satur­day’s halted all of that mo­men­tum.

“It’s a team ef­fort all the way around,” said Mary­land line­backer Jesse Aniebonam, part of a unit that was on the field for 36:33 of game time. “We just have to fo­cus in on our keys, fo­cus in on our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. It’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I look at it as a pos­i­tive. Just an­other op­por­tu­nity to get bet­ter.”

Satur­day’s loss proved all the more de­flat­ing for the Ter­rap­ins given that it came in the first game at Mary­land Sta­dium since the June death of of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan McNair. The Ter­rap­ins paid trib­ute with a mo­ment of si­lence be­fore kick­off, and the grounds crew painted McNair’s No. 79 be­hind the west end zone. The play­ers, as they will all season, wore hel­met stick­ers with the No. 79. Tem­ple play­ers also wore hel­met stick­ers with No. 79.

McNair died 15 days af­ter suf­fer­ing heat­stroke May 29 dur­ing a work­out in Col­lege Park, lead­ing to Coach DJ Durkin be­ing placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave Aug. 11 while the univer­sity sys­tem’s board of re­gents as­sumed con­trol of in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the in­ci­dent and the pro­gram that re­main on­go­ing.

There also was a pregame mo­ment of si­lence in the press box in honor of John McNa­mara, the Cap­i­tal Gazette sportswriter killed dur­ing a mass shoot­ing June 28 at the news­pa­per’s of­fices in An­napo­lis. McNa­mara, a Mary­loss land grad­u­ate and one of five Cap­i­tal Gazette em­ploy­ees fa­tally shot, will have a per­ma­nent seat in the front of press row.

When play be­gan, a sparse crowd en­dured an un­event­ful first quar­ter un­til Tem­ple opted for a fake punt on fourth and eight from the Mary­land 36. With the Owls lined up in rou­tine punt for­ma­tion, short man Todd Cen­teio took a di­rect snap, rolled to his right and threw to wide re­ceiver Fred­die John­son, who ran down the right side­line and into the end zone. The touch­down with 2:33 to play pro­duced the only points of the quar­ter.

In the sec­ond, the Owls made it 14-0 on a one-yard run by 330pound de­fen­sive tackle Fred­die Booth-Lloyd to cap a 12-play drive that cov­ered 76 yards in 5:00.

Mary­land cut the deficit in half when Dar­nell Sav­age Jr. stepped in front of Russo’s pass for an in­ter­cep­tion. The se­nior safety ran 23 yards un­touched to the end zone with 3:23 left in the half, but the Ter­rap­ins trailed 21-7 at half­time af­ter Tem­ple full­back Rob Ritrovato’s two-yard touch­down run with seven sec­onds to play.

“We ran 52 plays, and a bunch of them were at the end of the game when we were go­ing fast,” Canada said. “We didn’t run our of­fense. We didn’t run any of the plays, but that’s be­cause we didn’t ex­e­cute — and that falls on me, com­pletely on me. A re­ally bad job by me.”

JOHN MCDONNELL/THE WASH­ING­TON POST

The ball gets away from Terps quar­ter­back Kasim Hill, who fin­ished 7 for 17 for 56 yards and an in­ter­cep­tion in Satur­day’s loss to Tem­ple.

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