Maryland looked fantastic in a 41-14 win over Florida International to go 2-0. What are the 5 Things That Matter about the Terps’ blowout win?
The Maryland passing attack was terrific.
The Terps put the game away in the first quarter on the Jermaine Carter pick-six and a 40-yard Lorenzo Harrison run as part of a 17-0 scoring run, but it was the efficient and effective passing game that stood out. Perry Hills had yet a second straight solid performance, D.J. Moore had the look of a No. 1 receiver, and the offense was terrific throughout. This won’t be the Texas Tech passing attack, but Hills threw well, ran for 52 yards, and showed he’s ready to help the offense continue the quick turnaround.
FIU’s quarterback situation might be in Maurice Alexander’s hands now.
It was the worst of all possible worlds for the FIU offense with QB Alex McGough throwing a pick-six and getting banged up along the way trying to make the stop. Maurice Alexander wasn’t razor-sharp, but he got the offense moving a little better and showed off a little mobility. However …
The FIU ground attack had its moments.
There might not have been many bright spots for the Golden Panthers at home, but Gardner tore off a 55-yard dash and finished with 109 yards on 16 carries. Anthony Jones ran well, too, with 64 yards on just 14 carries. It might have been hard to make any sort of a comeback after getting down so big early, but the ground game will carry the Golden Panthers – it’s going to be a big positive into the Conference USA season.
Zero is a good thing.
Maryland turned it over 36 times last season and was -18 in turnover margin. New head D.J. Durkin said it was his main priority to stop the problem from the start and reverse the trend. Also last season, the Terps only went one game without a turnover, and now it’s 2-for-2 to start 2016. The D might only have one takeaway, but it’s amazing how much better the O can be when there aren’t any giveaways.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
It’s hardly a shocker that Maryland is 2-0, but beating Howard and FIU by a combined score of 93-27 is how it’s supposed to work. The offense has been terrific, the defense – while it had a few problems against the run against the Golden Panthers – has been solid, and everything has gone as well as possible for Durkin. With UCF up next and Purdue to follow, a 4-0 start now is a must before going to Penn State.
FIU is better, even though it didn’t show it in two straight home losses to the Big Ten – losing to Indiana last week 34-13. But things will quickly easy up with UMass next to get the first win of the season, and then come the must-wins over UCF and Florida Atlantic at home to get the season kickstarted.