Terrapins trying to find identity early in season

The Maryland Terrapins are continuing to search for consistency, especially on offense, and especially at quarterback.

Perry Hills was named the starting quarterback just before the season opener Labor Day weekend. After falling behind 14-13 late in the first half against the Richmond Spiders of the Football Championship Subdivision, the Terps scored nine unanswered points to take a 22-14 halftime lead. On the way to a 50-21 win, Maryland scored 37 straight points before Richmond scored again. Hills went 12 of 21 for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and added 25 yards rushing. Brandon Ross ran for 150 yards and a touchdown, and Ty Johnson added 83 yards and a touchdown rushing. Cornerback Will Likely added a touchdown on a punt return. However, the Terps got a big wakeup call in Week 2.

The Bowling Green Falcons brought their high-tempo offense to College Park on Sept. 12, and Maryland couldn’t keep up. Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson threw for a career-high 491 yards and six touchdowns. The offense also put up 692 total yards in a 48-27 win. Maryland committed four turnovers. Terps head coach Randy Edsall benched Hills for Caleb Rowe, but Rowe didn’t fare much better, throwing two interceptions in three passes. One of the few highlights for Maryland was Likely’s second punt return for a touchdown.

Rowe was named the starter for Maryland’s home game against the University of South Florida on Sept. 19, and he took advantage. Rowe went 21 of 33 for 297 yards and four touchdowns. However, he also was intercepted three times, fumbled the ball three times (all three fumbles were recovered by Maryland), and overthrew open receivers on several occasions. Rowe was able to bounce back after his first interception led to a South Florida touchdown in the first quarter. The highlight of the game was Rowe’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Taivon Jacobs to end the first quarter. Maryland ended the first half in similar fashion when Ross picked up a bad pitch from Rowe and ran in for a touchdown to give the Terps a 21-10 lead at halftime. Maryland put up 411 yards of total offense, but the defense was burned for 240 yards rushing by the Bulls.

Maryland will close out its non- conference schedule at West Virginia before beginning the Big Ten season in October. Maryland will host Michigan in its Big Ten opener on Oct. 3, then travel to defending national champion Ohio State on Oct. 10. Two weeks later, following their bye week, the Terrapins will play Penn State at M&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 24.

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