Maryland 63, Illinois 33
What Happened: Javon Leake returned a kickoff for a score and ran for three more touchdowns as Maryland started scoring early and didn’t stop. Kasim Hill threw three touchdown passes, and Chigoziem Okonkwo came up with a scoring catch and tore off a 54-yard touchdown run.
Illinois settled for four Chase McLaughlin field goals, but Maryland was scoring touchdowns. The Illini didn’t get into the end zone until late in the third quarter on a 69-yard Reggie Corbin dash, but by then it was way too late.
What Mattered: Maryland found a passing game for one of the only times this season. The offense exploded for 712 yards helped by 281 yards through the air. However, the ground attack is what’s been the key to the Terp season, and it rolled at will for 431 yards. The Terps converted 12-of-15 third down tries.
– The Illinois offense worked. It cranked up almost 500 yards, but it also stalled too often when it couldn’t afford to. AJ Bush completed 11-of-19 passes for 216 yards and two scores with a pick, but outside of one big Reggie Corbin run, the running game didn’t work.
– Kasim Hill threw for 265 yards and three scores, Leake ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns on just five carries – along with his kickoff return for a score – and Okonkwo caught one touchdown pass on one catch, and ran for a touchdown on one carry.
Thoughts: The Illinois defense might be a disaster, but it was still a great day for a Terp attack that did nothing against Iowa the week before. And now the team just needs one more win to go bowling with Michigan State, at Indiana, Ohio State and at Penn State to close.
– Youth was the excuse last year for Illinois. It was a really, really young team, but the disastrous season was supposed to lead for big things going forward. It’s fine to keep building, but under Lovie Smith, the team is getting worse when it should be finding things it can rely on.
The defense – Smith’s forte – isn’t stopping anything, and now it needs to find something positive with Minnesota, at Nebraska, Iowa and at Northwestern to close.