The Maryland football team suffered their fourth consecutive loss at the hands of Nebraska on Saturday afternoon.
The Terrapins dropped the game 28-7, which is a step up than the defeat that they’ve suffered in the two previous weeks. Maryland lost to Ohio State 62-3 last week and were manhandled by Michigan in a 59-3 rout the week before.
Maryland were outgained 401-207 in terms of total yards and only accumulated nine total first downs. Nebraska earned 28 first downs and were 8-of-17 on third down.
The Terps elected to start freshman Max Bortenschlager at quarterback. Perry Hills was in uniform, but didn’t play due to a shoulder injury.
On the other hand, Nebraska star signal caller Tommy Armstrong Jr. didn’t play on Saturday. Amstrong suffered a hamstring injury during a touchdown run last week against Minnesota.
Ryker Fyfe got the start for the Cornhuskers.
Here’s our three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
1.) Bortenschlager moved the football
Hills wasn’t exactly a shoe-in to start Saturday’s game, but his replacement definitely wasn’t either.
The Terps have used Tyrrell Pigrome and Caleb Rowe in relief of Hills throughout the 2016 season. However, Bortenschlager was the one that drew the start in place of the mobile signal caller.
Bortenschlager did a decent job running the offense. Maryland didn’t have him making a ton of difficult reads, but he did seem to target star wideout D.J. Moore quite often.
The freshman signal caller completed 14-of-29 passes for 191 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Moore. Bortenschlager generally hit receivers on short, crossing routes.
It’s clear that Bortenschlager has a decent arm and could definitely hold his own when called upon. He’s also more mobile than many realize and wasn’t afraid to run with the ball if the play broke down.
2.) Defense’s play in the second half was encouraging
Maryland didn’t exactly get off to a great start defensively on Saturday.
The Terps allowed three first half touchdowns, which included a pair of touchdown runs from Terrell Newby. Newby ended up with 98 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
However, Maryland was able to have a little more success later in the game.
Nebraska had just one scoring drive in the second half, which was a third quarter touchdown courtesy of Newby. In fact, the Cornhuskers punted four times in the second half and didn’t score on their last five drives.
The Cornhuskers had three of their last four drives go three-and-out.
The Terps seemed to stop the run at a far better rate. On Nebraska’s second-to-last drive, Fyfe and the Cornhuskers went for it on fourth down and Jesse Aniebonam was able to get to Fyfe for the sack.
Maryland’s pass rush improved and they really clogged the running lanes as the game went on. It’s definitely something that the Terps can build on heading into the season finale against Rutgers.
3.) Maryland struggled to run the ball
It would’ve made sense for the Terps run the ball at a high rate given a true freshman starting at quarterback.
They did use the ground attack 25 times, but it wasn’t with much of a rate of success. When it was all said and done, the Terps only accumulated 11 rushing yards.
Bortenschlager had 11 carries for -22 yards, which obviously happens when a quarterback is sacked. Ty Johnson had seven carries for 21 yards and Wes Brown registered just three carries for 13 yards.
Maryland didn’t seem to get very creative with their running plays. They also completely went away from Johnson.
Johnson had four carries in Maryland’s first two drives and only three the rest of the afternoon.
With a back as talented as Johnson, the Terps need to get him involved more often and maybe even more in the screen game. Johnson didn’t register a single catch against the Cornhuskers.
Even with Lorenzo Harrison suspended, Johnson needs to get more touches throughout the course of a game.