By Ethan Cadeaux
Good things usually happen for the Maryland Terrapins when wide receiver D.J. Moore plays well.
But on Saturday afternoon, the exact opposite happened.
Despite a career afternoon from Moore, who tallied 210 yards on 12 receptions, both career highs, and two touchdowns, Maryland was dominated in almost every aspect by Northwestern.
In a game that was a lot more of a blowout that the score shows, the Wildcats used a balanced attack to wear down a poor Maryland defense, defeating the Terps 37-21.
“I’m at a happy medium right now,” Moore said on his performance. “Yeah, it was a career day you could say, but at the same time, we did lose. There’s stuff we got to correct.”
The Terrapins were unable to slow down the Wildcats offense for much of the second half, particularly the run game. The Terps struggled to contain Northwestern senior running back Justin Jackson all evening, as he finished with 171 yards and two touchdowns. In the game, Jackson set the program record for rushing yards.
As a team, Northwestern finished with 239 rushing yards on 43 attempts, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson was also very effective with his legs in addition to his arm, as he displayed his athleticism on a 17-yard scramble that resulted in a late first-half touchdown.
The short passing game also exposed the Terp defense all afternoon. Thorson completed passes to nine different receivers, eight of whom caught multiple passes. Thorson finished with 293 yards on 49 attempts.
“We got to be better tackling,” senior linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “We didn’t do a very good job today tackling, and that led to big plays. Most times we were in positions to make plays, but we didn’t do a good job of making tackles today.”
The Wildcats dominated time of possession, holding the ball for over 11 minutes more than the Terrapins.
“We just got to focus when were on the field,” Carter said. “When we’re on the field, we’re expected to make a stop. We have to go out there, no matter what the offense does, go out there and get a stop. We didn’t do a very good job on third down today.”
Entering the contest, the Terps were unsure who would be starting at quarterback due to an injury sophomore Max Bortenschlager suffered last weekend against Ohio State. Bortenschlager made the start, but received little to no help from anyone besides Moore.
Still, the sophomore put together a respectable line, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns, without turning the ball over.
Outside of Moore, the Terrapins offense was subpar. Wide receiver Taivon Jacobs caught a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to trim the Northwestern deficit to six, but was quiet the rest of the afternoon. Only two other Terrapin receivers caught a pass.
“We left a lot of plays on the field,” offensive lineman Brendan Moore said.
For a second straight week in a row, the Terps’ running game was nonexistent. Bortenschlager led the way with 34 yards on 12 attempts. The supposed two-headed monster of Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison combined for just 49 yards on 17 total attempts.
Maryland has now never won a game when trailing at halftime under head coach D.J. Durkin, falling to 0-9.
Maryland faces a much tougher test than Northwestern when it travels to Wisconsin on Saturday to face the undefeated Badgers.
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to lie down,” Brendan Moore said. “We’re going to keep fighting, going into the next week. Next week is the most important game, and just keep on fighting. Stick together, get closer as a team, and get better.”