Maryland Football: Ty Johnson continues to excel

Dec 26, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back Ty Johnson (6) rushes in the first half against the Boston College Eagles at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back Ty Johnson (6) rushes in the first half against the Boston College Eagles at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Maryland may have suffered a deflating loss in Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl, but Ty Johnson still showed why he’s one of the most important pieces for the program.

Johnson carried the football 15 times for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also became just the ninth back in program history to top the 1,000-yard mark in a single season.

The Fort Hill (Md.) product ended up totaling 1,004 rushing yards on the season. That ranks him ninth all-time in program history just behind Willie Joyner’s 1982 campaign (1,039 yards).

Johnson’s 159-yard performance was very impressive, but it was just his third-highest total during the 2016 season. He compiled 204 yards on the ground against Purdue and 168 in the season finale against Rutgers.

It wasn’t really about the length of the actual touchdown runs that was remarkable. Instead, it was the timing of Johnson’s runs.

Maryland got off to as slow of a start as a team can in a bowl game.

The Terps were forced to punt on their first four drives and three of those were three-and-outs. In addition, Maryland’s fifth drive resulted in quarterback Perry Hills being sacked and fumbling the ball, which Boston College recovered.

That fumble was turned into a 22-yard Mike Knoll field goals, which gave the Eagles a 16-0 lead with 10:32 remaining in the first half.

Johnson then preceded to put his stamp on the game.

On Maryland’s ensuing drive, Hills hit Teldrick Morgan for an 18-yard completion. One play later, it was Johnson who changed the tide of the Quick Lane Bowl.

Hills took the snap out of the shotgun and placed a delayed handoff into the chest of Johnson. Johnson was able to explode right between the guard and tackle on the right side of the line.

Johnson turned on the afterburners and was aided by Boston College’s Matt Milano taking a bad angle to the ball. The Maryland tailback ended up scampering for a 52-yard touchdown when the Terps desperately needed some points.

More from Terrapin Station

Boston College ended up answering with a five-play drive that founds the end zone. Wideout Jeff Smith found quarterback Patrick Towles for a touchdown on an end-around pass.

On the ensuing Maryland drive, it was once again time for Johnson to take center stage.

Maryland gained 15 yards on the first two plays of the drive thanks to a screen to Levern Jacobs and a four-yard gain from Johnson.

On the very next play, Johnson attacked the right side of the line once again and burst through the hole for a 30-yard touchdown. While it wasn’t an extremely long touchdown like he usually gets, it was very opportune with Maryland trailing 23-7 prior to it.

Considering what he was able on those two runs alone, it’s a little baffling that Johnson only had 15 carries. Following his second touchdown run, the sophomore back only had 10 more carries in the final 36:36 of the game.

Johnson is obviously doesn’t have a history of being a workhorse, but given the recent weight that he’s added, he appears capable of more carries. After all, aside from those two touchdown passes to Jacobs and Teldrick Morgan, Hills didn’t exactly have a great afternoon (just 15-of-35).

Throughout the 2016 season, Johnson showed that he’s an extremely talented running back that can flat-out make plays. He’s as quick as any back that Maryland has had in quite some time.

In fact, Johnson was the first Maryland tailback to rush for 1,000 yards since Da’Rel Scott did it in 2008.

Next: Frontcourt depth wasn't a concern

Johnson should come into next season as the top running back unless Lorenzo Harrison really has a strong camp. This is one of the more special talents that the Terps have had in a long time and he continues to prove it week in and week out.