LANDOVER, MD — After a tumultuous and tragic summer, Maryland’s football team has something to celebrate. For the second straight season the Terps opened up the season against the University of Texas Longhorns and won. Maryland took down Texas 34-29 in an upset that many people did not see coming.
Today’s game began with a moment of silence for 19-year-old Jordan McNair, the Randallstown native and McDonough school standout who died after collapsing during a summer workout on May 29th. Maryland players displayed stickers with No. 79 on their helmet to honor McNair. The Terps opened the game by fielding only 10 men on the opening snap. The Longhorns and Coach Tom Herman showed their class by declining the delay of game penalty. Coach Matt Canada’s post game comments further emphasized the Terps passion for playing for McNair.
“Everything we’ve done to honor Jordan is from our players,” Canada said. “They’re the ones who decided it, talked about it. … It was special. It was emotional. It’s emotional right now talking about it. I’m proud of our players.”
In Canada’s interim head coaching debut, the Terps jumped off to a fast start outscoring the Longhorns 24-7. Maryland’s offense was led behind freshman sensation wide receiver Jeshaun Jones’s three touchdown performance in his debut game. He threw a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and caught a touchdown, an extremely rare feat.
After a few Terps mistakes and a picture-perfect catch by Collin Johnson the Longhorns nearly tied up the game at half 24-22.After Kasim Hill and the Maryland offensive line was stymied on a fourth down attempt, Texas running back Kyle Porter scampered for a short touchdown run. This gave the Texas Longhorns the advantage with 4:14 left in the third quarter. The Terps responded with a perfectly-timed and well-orchestrated 75-yard touchdown drive capped off with 17-yard touchdown run by Tayon Fleet-Davis. With the succesful extra point by Joseph Petrino the Terps now had a 31-29 lead. With 14:25 in the fourth quarter the game was suspended due to thunderstorms in the area.
The game would not resume for 86 minutes. The break in play could not have come at a more perfect time for the Terps. Prior to the Fleet Davis run, the Longhorns had scored 22 unanswered points. When the weather suspension was lifted, the Longhorns came out completely flat on offense. The Maryland defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter to upset the Longhorns in the opener for the second year in a row.
Takeaway: Maryland jumped out to an early lead behind an explosive offense and an aggressive defense. The defense looks much improved and much like a real BIG10 defense should, adding notable size and depth which was a real problem in years past. Coach Canada and the Terps rebounded out of the pit of misery stemming from the summer. They have overcome heartbreak and adversity to stun the country with another upset victory at the expense of Texas.
Next up– The Terps embark on their first road journey of the 2018 season against the Bowling Green Falcons. Kickoff is Sept. 8 at 6:00 pm.