Revenge was fresh on the mind of every Maryland Terrapin football player today as they took on Temple. Everyone has tried to block last seasons 38-7 loss in College Park to these same Owls from their memory up until now and today presented the Terps an opportunity for redemption.
The Maryland defense was the story of the first half leaving the Temple offense searching for answers. The Owls had no room to run as the Terps were quick to close up any and all running lanes. The Owls rushed the ball 39 times for a total of 52 yards. Holding a team to 1.3 yards per carry will win you a lot of games.
Perry Hills had his coming out party today at Lincoln Financial Field in his home state of Pennsylvania. One week removed from a collegiate debut to forget Hills looked like a different quarterback from the 2nd quarter on today. Finishing with three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, Hills was an intricate part of the Terrapins win and showed fans why he was chosen as the Terps starter after C.J. Brown went down with a knee injury.
In a wild second quarter where the Terps scored 23 unanswered points we saw glimpses of what we could have in Hills. His first TD pass was a perfect 22 yard strike to tight end Matt Furstenburg. Hills followed that up with a 32 yard bomb to a wide open Marcus Leak, who led Maryland with 90 yards receiving today, in the back of the endzone to put the Terps up 17-3.
On the ensuing Temple possession the Owls botched a snap badly and gave up a safety. Just like that the Terrapins were up 19-3 getting the ball back with a chance to break this game wide open. That is exactly what they did, Perry Hills capped off the best quarter of his young career with an 11 yard touchdown run to give Maryland a 23 point lead heading into the half.
At this point you would think Terps fans would be feeling good. A 23 point lead under Randy Edsall was rarefied air for this team. Road success is something the Terps haven’t been used to either, going into today Maryland hadn’t won a road game since November of 2010.
Wouldn’t you know it, the Terps had to make this one interesting too. Temple came out and forced a turnover to begin the second half and promptly converted that into a touchdown cutting the lead to 26-10 before some fans had gotten back to their seats from halftime. After a Brad Craddock 26 yard field goal Temple answered quickly with a 62 yard touchdown pass to C.J. Hammond cutting the Maryland lead to 29-17 going into the fourth quarter.
Temple continued to storm back in the fourth quarter as Brandon McManus blasted a 40 yard field goal through the uprights just over a minute into the quarter. Temple followed that up with a 35 yard touchdown pass from Chris Coyer to Jalen Fitzgerald where he burned Dexter McDougle cutting the one time 23 point Terrapins lead to two. Maryland fans surely had flashbacks to the 2011 finale against N.C. State where the Terps saw a 41-14 third quarter lead evaporate into thin air.
Thankfully for the Terp Nation the 23 point lead Maryland amassed this afternoon was enough to get the job done. With 2:51 left in the game Justus Pickett rumbled into the endzone from seven yards out to give Maryland a 36-27 lead. Temple never got closer than that as Demetrius Hartsfield made the game winning interception of Coyer just 46 seconds later, icing the game for Maryland.
In what could be considered the most impressive win of the Randy Edsall era here at Maryland the Terrapins overcame being 10 point underdogs and avenged last seasons blowout loss to Temple. The Terps now sit at 2-0 heading into next weekends game with Edsall’s former school the Connecticut Huskies in College Park.
Revenge was what the Terps came to Philadelphia for and that is exactly what they got. Maryland out gained Temple 334 to 230, holding the rush happy Owls offense to only 52 yards on the ground. The Terps forced three turnovers and held Temple to only nine first downs on the afternoon. If the Maryland defense continues to perform at the high level they have played at these first two weeks the Terps have a great shot at opening up 2012 with three straight wins.