By Megan Smedley
The Terps rebounded after the disastrous game against Bowling Green, defeating South Florida 35-17. Caleb Rowe made his fourth career start Saturday, replacing the struggling Perry Hills. Rowe threw an interception in his first set, marking three interceptions in his first six passing attempts for the year.USF quickly took advantage with a four-yard touchdown to Rodney Adams.
Rowe recovered marching down the field, completing a 28-yard pass to freshman D.J. Moore. Maryland converted on a 4th and 1, setting up their first redzone opportunity of the game. Rowe threw his first touchdown of the year to fullback Kenny Goins Jr. to tie up the score 7-7, halfway through the first quarter.In the final seconds of the quarter, Rowe connected with Taivon Jacobs for a 70-yard touchdown pass down the sideline, for Jacobs’ first career touchdown. Tavion’s big brother Levern was excited for his little brother’s moment.
“I just told him ‘It was a great play,’” Jacobs said. “I knew he could that. I know he’s got them wheels so I just expected that out of him.”
Rowe threw his second interception of the game at the start of the second quarter. During the runback by USF’s Deatrick Nichols, Maryland’s Wes Brown delivered a brutal hit to the head. Brown was ejected from the game for intended targeting.
“Kids get out there in the heat of the moment; they play the game and sometimes things happen,” Head Coach Randy Edsall said after the game. “Wes is a great kid. He wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. He just…His technique was very bad.”
USF threatened in their next possession. Adams was wide-open heading towards the endzone, but let the ball slip through his fingers for the incomplete pass. USF later converted on a 34-yard field goal by Emilio Nadelman to tighten the score 14-10. With less than a minute left to play in the half, Rowe took control. Levern Jacobs connected with a 49-yard pass just shy of the endzone. At 2nd and goal, Rowe flipped to Brandon Ross, who fumbled, then picked it up and carried it in for the touchdown.
At the half, Maryland led 21-10. Rowe had 225 yards for two touchdowns, yet two interceptions. Maryland’s biggest mistake in the first half was penalties. They lost 80 yards on eight penalties but remained in control the majority of the half. Edsall called the large amount of penalties “totally unacceptable.”
The Terps began the second half receiving the ball. Ty Johnson had a huge return for 45 yards. Rowe threw his third touchdown of the day to tight end Avery Edwards, for his first at Maryland. Edwards got a little carried away and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for excessive celebration.
“I didn’t realize we were in the NFL and we were allowed to spike the ball,” Edsall said. “I mean, Holy crap. That was a shocker.”
Avery Edwards surprised himself when he did that as well.
“I’ve never even spiked the ball before in my life,” Edward said. “But it was definitely a first touchdown I’ll always remember.”
Maryland followed up the touchdown with a huge defensive stop. Back-to-back sacks by Jesse Aniebonam and Roman Braglio forced a turnover on downs. Caleb Rowe struggled again throwing a pick to USF’s James Byrd, Rowe’s third of the day. Following a quarterback change for USF, Steven Bench threw an interception to defensive back Sean Davis, who returned it for 33 yards. Rowe connected with the Avery Edwards to widen Maryland’s lead to 35-17. That would do it for the Terps who move on to 2-1 on the year. In his first start of the year, Caleb Rowe became the first Maryland quarterback to throw four touchdowns since 2010. Rowe went 21/33 with 297 yards and three interceptions.
“He [Rowe] did some very good things out there,” Edsall said. “But as a quarterback you cant throw three picks. Those picks led to their points….Let’s be consistent.”
Next week, Maryland travels to Morgantown for their first away game against heated border rival West Virginia.