By: Eddie Hobbs
Maryland (4-8, 2-7 Big Ten) came into Saturday’s matchup against No. 12 Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) trying to pull off an upset on senior night. After dropping its last three games to fellow Big Ten opponents, Maryland lost the opportunity to make a bowl appearance this year.
The Nittany Lions went with a balanced attack led by quarterback Trace McSorley (22-33, 237 yards 2 TDs) and running back Saquon Barkley (16 attempts, 77 yards 2 TDs) in the 66-3 victory over the Terps.
It is no secret that Maryland’s front has struggled against the run this season. Maryland is allowing 182 rushing yards per game, and are 0-5 when allowing teams to rush for more than 100 yards in a game and 4-0 when it does not.
Given the statistics, it was expected that Penn State would show off its heisman candidate Barkley early on. The Nittany Lions went a different route and decided to gain their yards through the air for much of the first half, going for 209 passing yards compared to 90 rushing yards.
Maryland could not do much on offense and looked lost for the majority of the half. The Terps only had one scoring chance, a 47-yard field goal attempt by Henry Darmstadter that did not have enough leg. The second quarter saw plenty of yardage for Maryland, 148 total yards, but no points to show for it, and entered the half down 31-0.
“We went out there and we didn’t play very well, I think a season long of adversity and things happening just got to us,” head coach DJ Durkin said. “That wasn’t our best effort we put forth. Can’t do that, I think in life, the lesson for our players is you only get so many opportunities, and we tell them in the game of football, you don’t get many of them….”
One bright spot for Maryland in the game was DJ Moore, who passed Geroy Simon for the single-season reception leader at 78 receptions. Moore finished with eight receptions for 100 yards.
“We just wanted to send the seniors out with a win, and obviously we didn’t do that,” Moore said. “We came up a lot short, but at the same time I am still thinking about the record, but I am still thinking about the game more.”
To open up the third quarter, Penn State went on a 10-play 73-yard touchdown drive to push the lead to 38-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Antwaine Richardson picked up the ball on the 20-yard line and fumbled to give the Nittany Lions perfect field position. Four plays later, Barkley would punch in a one-yard touchdown run to essentially finish off the Terrapins.
Maryland put its first, and only, points on the board with under a minute remaining in the third quarter thanks to a Darmstadter 42-yard field goal.
Heading into the offseason, the Terps will focus on continuing their rebuild, and will try to mold the team around their young quarterbacks. The offense and defense need to work on third down conversions as the team ranked last in the Big Ten on third down on both sides of the ball.