By: Ethan Cadeaux
For the second time in three games, the Maryland Terrapins saw their starting quarterback be forced to leave the game due to injury.
In Week 1, sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome tore his ACL in a victory against Texas. In the first quarter of this Saturday’s contest, freshman Kasim Hill was forced to leave the game with an apparent right leg injury.
With an offense that was designed for quarterbacks such as Hill and Pigrome, who can be just as effective with their legs as their arm, the Terps fell flat as soon as Hill went down, falling to UCF, 38-10.
“Our guys as a team, we did not handle adversity well,” Terrapins head coach D.J. Durkin said. “Injuries are a part of this game. It is what it is.”
By the end of the game, the only people left in Maryland Stadium were sporting the Knights white and silver, as the Knights rolled over a Terrapin team that was a four-point favorite entering the game. Chants of “U-C-F” echoed in the stadium after each UCF touchdown as the Knights pulled away from the Terrapins in the second half.
Sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who replaced Hill, simply could not execute the Terrapins offense, which scored 51 and 63 points respectively in their first two games of the season. The Bortenschlager-led Terps only scored 10 points in the defeat.
Maryland’s offense focuses on a lot of short passes and releasing the ball quick, yet Bortenschlager held onto the ball far too longer in multiple circumstances. The Knights pass rush took advantage of the sophomore’s inexperience, as they sacked him five times on the afternoon.
Instead, the Terps just put up 10 points in a game that never seemed close once Hill went down.
The Terps started the scoring off in the first quarter on a Henry Darmstadter field goal, but UCF scored three unanswered touchdowns to open up an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter.
“They were a team that was executing and we were a team that wasn’t,” Durkin said on UCF’s second half adjustments.
A Bortenschlager touchdown pass to D.J. Moore cut the Knights lead to 11 with two minutes to go in the third quarter, but UCF answered with a field goal on the ensuing possession. After Maryland stalled again, the Knights punched it in the end zone for the fourth time of the afternoon, opening a 31-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
“I just think we let the circumstances affect how we played and responded,” Durkin said. “We had breakdowns and lacks of communication. That was the message to the team when I talked to them. How someone getting hurt on offense can affect our defense – I don’t know. Or how it can affect our special teams. There were plays that we didn’t make. But give them credit because they did.”
A bobbled pass by Moore on the ensuing Terrapins possession turned into a pick-six for the Knights, giving UCF the official knockout punch.
The Knights offense dominated the Terrapin defense with an impressive balanced attack. The Knights rushed for 248 amount of yards, while throwing for 178 yards in their convincing victory.
Meanwhile, the Knights kept the dynamic Maryland offense in check, allowing just 155 passing yards and 42 rushing yards.
Ty Johnson, who rushed for 256 yards through the first two games, was held to just 25 yards on 11 carries against UCF.
“They did their studying, they did their film,” Johnson said on the UCF defense. “They saw certain formations, certain ways we align, and they took advantage of it.”
Hill’s health should be the main concern for the Terrapins, because they could be in trouble for Big Ten play if they’re without their true freshman quarterback.
“Keep your head up,” Johnson told Hill. “We’re going to get things right.”
Maryland is back in action next week, when they travel to Minnesota on Saturday to kick off its Big Ten schedule.
“We got to keep our head up and get ready, because we start Big Ten play next week,” linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “We [have] another challenge in Minnesota next week.”