Maryland lost Saturday afternoon to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway 31-24. It was a back and forth affair, but the Terps ultimately fell due to their inability to stop making bad mistakes. Maryland committed double digit penalties, which it has done several time this year in losses, and many of these stalled promising drives.
The keys to the game beforehand mandated that the Terps get the ball to the playmakers: Ty Johnson and DJ Moore. The ball found the early, as DJ Moore took the pitch for the first play of the game, indicating the game plan may have been centered around him. Unfortunately, neither Moore nor Johnson got as much usage as their talent warranted, with Johnson only getting 41 rushing yards, and Moore getting 75 in the air.
The game started with Rutgers establishing the run, as they controlled the offensive trenches and gashed Maryland early and often. Maryland ended the first quarter with a 7-0 lead on the strength of a Bortenschlager to Ty Johnson passing touchdown, but did not seem to be in control by any stretch. The second quarter would have been completely demoralizing, as the Knights scored the first 10 points of the frame. the touchdown coming on their pick-6 off Bortenschlager on a pass that should never have been thrown. For the second straight quarter however, Maryland was able to get an important touchdown in the last few minutes.
Maryland opened the second half with the football after deferring the opening coin toss. The Terrapins promptly marched right down the field for a touchdown, aided by a long Jake Funk run into the Knights’ red-zone. Johnson punched it in from 4 yards out to give Maryland a 21-17 lead. After a stop and a field goal to give the a seven point edge, Mark Turgeon’s team had all the momentum. This was dashed when Rutgers led a long touchdown drive to even up the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Maryland then went 3 and out, losing Bortenschlager to injury in the process, forcing 5th-string QB Ryan Brand into duty. Rutgers marched down for yet another long touchdown drive, scoring with about seven minutes. Brand showed his pocket passing ability, leading Maryland on a drive into the Knights’ red-zone, even throwing what appeared to be a game-tying touchdown to Taivon Jacobs with a minute left, but as they had all day, a penalty ruined the moment for the Terps, and they were turned over on downs to end the game.
Maryland now faces a steep uphill battle for a bowl berth with their difficult remaining opponents. They will return home next Saturday to host Michigan at 3:30pm.