The Maryland football team faced a step up in competition when they took the field against Florida International on Friday evening.
The Terrapins were coming off a convincing 52-13 victory over Howard in their season opener. While it was a very impressive way to start off the D.J. Durkin area, many expected that type of result against an FCS program.
Maryland continued to excel on both sides of the football against the Golden Panthers. The Terps racked up 31 points in the opening half on their way to a 41-14 win.
The Terps totaled 477 yards of total offense, including 239 yards on the ground. Three players registered at least 50 yards in Trey Edmunds, Lorenzo Harrison, and Perry Hills.
There was a lot to like about Friday’s win, so here are our three takeaways:
D.J. Moore has elite potential
We saw flashes of it from Moore as a freshman last season. Obviously, Moore was hurt by inconsistent quarterback play, but that no longer appears to be an issue.
Moore had a huge night against Florida International as he hauled in six passes for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hills leaned on Moore several times on third down when the Terps needed a conversion.
Moore displayed his speed on several occasions. He caught a 45-yard touchdown in stride and capped off a Maryland drive that went 73 yards in 84 seconds.
In the third quarter, Moore put his stamp on the game. He caught a short pass, sidestepped a defender, and blew by the Golden Panther secondary en route to a 40-yard touchdown.
Moore clearly has the ability to be a great wideout during his time in College Park. He possesses great speed and hands that allow him to be a force on the gridiron.
J.C. Jackson is pretty good
Just minutes before the Howard game, it was announced that cornerback J.C. Jackson wouldn’t be playing.
Jackson was the star cornerback that Durkin had recruited to Florida during the Urban Meyer regime. After some off-the-field issues, Jackson transferred to Maryland and had enrolled in late July.
When Maryland released their depth chart prior to Friday’s game, Jackson wasn’t even listed. However, the news broke minutes before Friday’s game that Jackson would be suiting up.
Jackson certainly didn’t disappoint in his Terps debut.
He registered three solo tackles and was a force in the Maryland secondary. Florida International threw the ball in his direction often, but only completed a pass on one occasion.
Jackson provided blanket coverage and stayed stride-for-stride for the Golden Panther wideouts. He is very physical and a very big specimen on the outside.
It was definitely a strong debut for the Maryland corner. If he can stay on the field, the Terps may have one of the most talented secondaries in the Big Ten.
Running game continues to impress
The running game was definitely the story in Maryland’s season opening win. When a team rushes for 315 yards, that’s going to be viewed as a positive.
The Terps picked up right where they left off on Friday night.
Maryland racked up 239 yards and averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry against Florida International. They had three different players top the 50-yard mark.
Trey Edmunds led the way with 78 yards on just carries. The Virginia Tech transfer is averaging 9.0 yards-per-carry during the first two games this season.
Freshman Lorenzo Harrison also continued to be a big-play threat for Maryland.
Harrison had eight for 64 yards and provided a 40-yard highlight reel touchdowns in the first half. The former DeMatha (Md.) standout leaped over a defender at the line of scrimmage and made his way across the field to find paydirt.
The amount of depth that the Terps have at the tailback position is mind-boggling. After they face Central Florida next Friday, Maryland will get Wes Brown back from his three-game suspension.
While this has been incredibly impressive, the best may be yet to come for Maryland’s ground attack.