Maryland Football Crushes Syracuse Orange, Remains Undefeated
Terp’s QB Josh Jackson threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns as Maryland routed Syracuse 63-20 during a game at the Capital One Field in College Park, MD on September 7, 2019. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
College Park, MD – Maryland football has something brewing. After last week’s 79-0 trouncing of the Howard Bison (FBS) in the home opener, the Terrapins followed up with a 63 – 20 upset over the No. 21 ranked Syracuse Orange (1-1). Maryland’s offense looked unstoppable to open the game, scoring three touchdowns on its first three possessions on the way to 42 first half points.

“We run a style of offense where the defense can’t be right unless they out-execute us,” Maryland first-year coach Mike Locksley said. “It’s hard to be right and the only time that you usually have the ability to stop it is if our execution breaks down. It’s more about us than it is about them.”

 Quarterback Josh Jackson, the graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, continued his solid play, throwing for 296 yards on 21-of-38 passing for three touchdowns and one interception. Jackson’s overall play, combined with Locksley’s formidable offensive system not only reinforced the Terps’ dominating performance in week one, it is putting college football on notice that there is something special brewing at College Park.

 “We talked about the first game as a first impression,” Jackson said. “And now you just build your reputation.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery’s offense is the run game. An effective ground game is the key to setting up Maryland’s run-pass-option, confusing defenses and gaining chunk yardage. Led by sophomore running back Anthony McFarland Jr.’s two rushing touchdowns in the first half, Maryland would go on to total 354 yards on the ground and score six total rushing touchdowns for the game. The Hyattsville, MD product, McFarland was also effective in the passing game, catching Jackson’s last touchdown pass of the game, scoring from six yards out with under a minute remaining in the second quarter to put Maryland up 42 – 13. Fellow backfield mate, junior running back Javon Leake led the Terrapins in rushing with 107 yards on only seven carries and two touchdowns.

 Maryland’s defense played well overall, despite the occasional miscommunication in the secondary. Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito’s box score numbers look good – 330 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 28-of-39 passing – but the Maryland defense, especially in the first half, never let the junior quarterback get into a rhythm. The Terps forced two turnovers in the first half that led to two Maryland touchdowns. Early in the first quarter, linebacker Keandre Jones forced a fumble as DeVito scrambled on third down. Fellow linebacker Ayinde Eley recovered the loose ball, which the Terps converted to a McFarland touchdown on its next possession to go up 14-0. Jordan Mosley then grabbed his first career interception in the second quarter, setting up a 20-yard touchdown run by McFarland and a 28-7 lead.

RB Anthony McFarland of the Terrapins breaks a tackle and races for the end zone. Maryland routed Syracuse 63-20 during a game at the Capital One Field in College Park, MD on September 7, 2019. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 With the game out of hand in the second half, Maryland turned to backups redshirt junior Jake Funk and junior Tayon Fleet-Davis. In a repeat role from last week the pair made the most of the opportunity. Fleet-Davis received the bulk of his carries in the fourth quarter, grinding on seven straight rushing attempts for 58 yard, including a 5-yard touchdown. Funk followed that up with a drive of his own exploding for runs of 54 and 28 yards before scoring a 10-yard touchdown.

 "When you have a running back room like we have, it’s just great to finish games with guys like Tayon Fleet-Davis and Jake Funk,” said Locksley, whose team averaged 7.9 yards a carry and 7.8 yards per play overall. “Those guys were able to come in and finish the fourth quarter.”

 Maryland (2-0) next visits the Temple Owls (1-0) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA for its first road game of the young season. Temple is 1-0 after quarterback Anthony Russo passed for 409 yards and four touchdowns in the Owls’ home opener, a 56-12 victory over Bucknell. Maryland is 7-2 versus Temple all-time, however, the Owls smoked an undefeated Maryland squad, 35-24 in last season’s matchup. The Terps will be looking to avenge last year’s loss and stay undefeated. Game time is 12:00 p.m.

 Written by Teddy Owusu