Maryland Drops its First Game in Blowout Loss
Freshman quarterback, Kasim Hill of the Terrapins scrambles for extra yards and was hurt after a hard tackle. UCF routed Maryland 38-10 during a game at the Capital One Field in College Park, MD on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Teddy Owusu/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, MD— The University of Central Florida Knights (2-0) defeated the Maryland Terrapins Saturday afternoon avenging last season’s 30-24 double-overtime loss with a 38-10 rout at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.
“Give credit to UCF,” said Maryland head coach DJ Durkin following the loss. “They're a good ball club and they were prepared, played well and made the plays to win the game.”

Both teams started out a little slow. Understandable considering neither had played a game in quite some time. It had been 23 days since the University of Central Florida played a football game. Even more daunting, the Knights had been 1-9 all-time against the Big Ten, the only win coming at Penn State in 2013. But before Hurricane Irma washed through Florida and shook up life in the panhandle, the Knights’ defeated Florida International 61-17 while racking up 587 yards of offense. Coach Scott Frost and his team had a “chip on their shoulder” and believed they could “come away with a win.”

UCF jumped out quickly on Maryland, answering a Terps’ Henry Darmstadter 34-yard field goal with 21 unanswered points. Junior running back Taj McGowan put the Knights up early capping two, second quarter drives with touchdowns.

The Maryland Terrapins, coming off of an early bye week and still seeking validation as a top-25 program after a 51-41 upset win on the road over Texas and a 63-17 drubbing of Towson at home, were poised to capture its third win of an unblemished campaign. Unfortunately, starting quarterback Kasim Hill went down on Maryland’s second possession and the Terrapins unraveled.

“Our guys as a team – I think – did not handle adversity well,” Durkin admitted. “I think so far this year in the three games we played we had adversity and had handled it. But now we had adversity and we didn't.”

Hill was injured on a hit as he scrambled for a few yards inside UCF territory. Later it was confirmed that he would be lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL. Sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager replaced Hill and completed his first two pass attempts but was stuffed on fourth-and-1. The sophomore out of Fishers, Indiana, Bortenschlager appeared gun shy after being thrown in the fire, and mostly attempting passes to the flat or bubble screens.

Bortenschlager threw and interception in Maryland territory on the first play of his second series to set up UCF in scoring position. But the Terps defense held strong and forced a punt. Maryland responded with a missed 34-yard field goal on its next possession and entered the half down 14-3.

“There was a level of play that we were at and it consistently dropped off at different spots and different times. I told them you have to control what you can control.” Durkin continued to say, “Injuries are part of this game and it is what it is. That's part of our game. When someone goes down the next guy comes in but it's also about the guys around them to step up and elevate their level of play. We did not do that today and that's why you saw the score you saw.”

Things didn’t get much better for Bortenschlager and the Terps after the break. After forcing a Maryland punt on the first possession of the second half, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton hit Jordan Akins for his only touchdown toss of the afternoon. The sophomore quarterback out of Kapolei, HI threw for 178 yards on 18-of-30 passing and added 94 yards on the ground including a 55-yard run on third-and-3 to set up the score.

Bortenschlager eventually got into a rhythm and hooked up with D.J. Moore for a 20-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 21-10. UCF answered with a 73-yard drive that not only ate up precious game clock, but ended in a Matthew Wright 20-yard field goal.

The Maryland defense gave up scoring drives of 7-, 9-, and 6- plays that would have made any legitimate comeback attempt very difficult. The defense allowed 428 yards of offense to the Knights including 250 yards rushing (about 80 yards above their season average). Conversely, UCF stuffed the Terps’ running game the entire afternoon for a grand total of 42 yards on 37 rushing attempts. Maryland entered the matchup averaging 315 yards on the ground.

“I'm sure it took them out of their rhythm, losing their quarterback and having to put a different guy in that kind of has a different style of play,” said UCF head coach Scott Frost. “But our defense played lights out. Few penalties that we need to correct. I thought they played hard, I thought they were in the right positions.”

Bortenschlager would finish with 132 yards on 15-of-26 passing, one touchdown and two interceptions including a pick six returned by Mike Hughes. The sophomore was also sacked five times—a feat Coach Fisher attributed to film study.

“Yesterday after walkthrough we walked by the defensive meeting room and two-deep of our linebackers and DBs were in the meeting room with the call sheet making calls and watching film on their own and making all the calls they'd have to make,” said Frost. “That's rare. Nobody asked them to do that, they did it for two hours before they got on the bus. That’s the kind of commitment level we have right now. Like I said, I'm proud to coach them."

Maryland (2-1) will next travel to Minnesota (3-0) to open up Big Ten conference play. The Gophers stubborn defense has allowed only 8 points per game and 59 rushing yards per game this season. Minnesota defeated Maryland 31-10 last season. Game time is 12 p.m. ET.