After a dominant season opener against Howard, Maryland came into their next matchup against a No. 21 ranked Syracuse looking to further improve. The Terrapin offense would be tested against a stacked Syracuse defense that finished the 2018 season ranked second nationally in sacks per game (3.64.) And while combating the Syracuse defense was a point of concern, the Terps looked calm, cool and collected as they beat the Orange 56-20 to get their second win of the season.
“Everyone is confident on this side [the offensive]; that’s the difference between last year and this year,” running back Anthony McFarland said. “At the end of the day, when you have an unselfish group, you’re able to do a lot of things.”
Syracuse’ offense, on the other hand, looked shaken for most of the first quarter as they racked up a couple of penalties and suffered from miscommunication. Notably — it allowed a cheap giveaway to Maryland. Quarterback Tommy DeVito scurried out of pressure and ran to the outside as Deon Jones came from behind and stripped the ball, which was then recovered by Ayinde Eley.
That turnover set up McFarland to snag his first touchdown of the day on an easy 3-yard gain. It also marked Maryland’s 14th straight game with a fumble recovery.
“We are team that feeds off of that energy,” Coach Mike Locksley said on the defensive unit causing early turnovers.
The Terps offense picked up right where it left off in last week’s demolition of Howard. Their opening drive consisted of a 40-yard throw to Darryl Jones, who appeared destined to take it to the house, but was dragged down inside the 25. Jackson went to work from there, finding Carlos Carriere on a quick pass, to set up an opportunity from less than 10 yards out.
And Jackson seamlessly provided his first touchdown of the day. Tight end Tyler Mabry snagged a pass from Jackson just inside Syracuse’s five-yard line and smoothly ran it in. The opening drive only took the Terps a minute and 37 seconds. Mabry also became the first tight end to score in back to back games since Dan Gronkowski back in 2008.
Syracuse’ offense was a point of focus for coach Dino Babers after the Orange’s season-opening win over Liberty last week. And the Orange were plagued by a fierce Maryland defense. Despite redshirt sophomore Tommy DeVito recording three touchdown passes, he also added an interception towards the middle of the second quarter.
DeVito ran out of the pocket laterally looking to pass it to his receiver near the Maryland sideline, but Jordan Mosely stepped up in front to make the catch — his first career interception.
The Orange scored a couple more times after some long hauls from DeVito found their way into the hands of wide receivers Trishton Jackson and Sean Riley; the main offensive playmakers that Syracuse had on the afternoon.
But despite the odd Syracuse success, Maryland dominated the game offensively. Jackson threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. McFarland added three scores. Running back Javon Leake provided two and 107 yards. And by the end of the third quarter, Maryland led 49-20.
“It starts with the offensive line, they did a good job of blocking and containing them,” Leake stated. “They just opened the holes for us and we just hit them and did our job.”
Syracuse’ run game was almost nonexistent as they finished with 70 yards on the ground, almost five times less than Maryland’s total rushing yards (354).
Jackson had an impressive game, completing 21 of 36 passes. He helped set a program record of 98 points scored throughout the first two halves.
“Having the type of runners we have and the attention that they draw, they’re going to have to bring guys up to stop it [the run game],” Locksley explained on both the passing and running game being so productive. “They’re going to have to pick their poison.”
After a near-complete performance against Howard, the Terps managed to replicate their success against a fiercely competitive ranked Syracuse team. They racked up 650 yards of offense on one of 2018’s best defenses — and moved to 2-0 on the season.
Locksley noted a couple things the team still needs to work on and cited his ‘twenty four hour’ rule regarding the team’s short time frame to celebrate the impressive win and move onto the next task.
“We won two games and it’s great that we won the two but we have a lot of football left to be played.
The Terrapins will get back to work as they have another week of practice before having their first away game of the season. They will head to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls Saturday afternoon.