When sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome went down with a knee injury during the previous game against Texas, Maryland was left with true freshman Kasim Hill to lead their offense. It was announced that Pigrome would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, and Hill would presume the starting quarterback role, eventually leading the Terps to an upset win on the road in college football’s opening weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, the Terrapins relied on Hill once again and their lethal running attack to overwhelm Towson, 63-17, at Maryland Stadium.
The Terps put the ball in the hands of their freshman quarterback from the onset, as offensive coordinator Walt Bell called five consecutive pass plays to open the game. Hill, who finished 13 of 16 passing with 204 total yards (163 passing, 41 rushing) and two touchdowns, capped off the opening drive with a touchdown pass to junior wide receiver DJ Moore from nine yards out.
“I thought Kasim did a good job taking the team down the field on that first drive and making good decisions with the ball,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said. “We wanted to come out and get some good throws in with him.”
Maryland also leaned on its running game to help the young quarterback settle in. Maryland ran the ball 36 times for 367 yards, averaging 10.2 yards per rush. Ty Johnson ripped off long touchdown runs of 74 yards and 46 yards.
“It’s great for us, we get off the field pretty shortly. I love when [Johnson] breaks off those big runs, it helps the offense,” sophomore right guard Terrance Davis said about the rushing attack.
The Terrapins’ offense outgained the Tigers, 422 to 199. The defense, meanwhile, held their opponent to under 100 yards rushing for back-to-back weeks (67 yards). In addition, the Terps forced two turnovers— an interception returned for a touchdown by Darnell Savage, and an interception by Antoine Brooks.
Maryland opened up a 21-point lead midway through the first quarter, alleviating any concern of a letdown after their big win over Texas. After the opening touchdown to Moore, Hill again found the receiver again — this time on a screen pass that Moore took to the end zone from 34 yards out after eluding multiple would-be tacklers.
Towson responded with the first of its two touchdowns on the day when freshman quarterback Ryan Stover led a scoring drive. The Tigers converted multiple times on third down and found the end zone when Stover completed a 10-yard pass to Jabari Allen.
The scoring brigade continued for Maryland after halftime, as Johnson, sophomore running back Jake Funk and Moore each scored rushing touchdowns to push the lead to 49-7.
With a 42-point lead, coach Durkin opted to give the second-team players some playing time, thus ending the impressive debut for Hill. The St. John’s (D.C.) product finished with 163 yards through the air on 13 of 16 passing. He also threw the first two passing touchdowns of his career and pitched in to the ground attack with 41 yards on five carries.
The Terps cruised to the finish line with a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Max Bortenschlager, and a 61-yard run by freshman Javon Leake.
Tuscarora graduate Rodney Dorsey added a 59-yard touchdown reception for Towson, and Aidan O’Neill converted a 49-yard field goal late in regulation to make the final score 63-17.
The Terrapins will now enter their bye week with a 2-0 record, as they prepare to host University of Central Florida on September 23. Maryland’s offense will look to keep up its historic scoring pace, as this is the first time in Maryland’s 125-year history they have scored 50 or more points in consecutive games to start the season.
“As coach Durkin always says, the best part about being 2-0 is the chance to go 3-0,” Savage said.