Terps Football: 5 Thoughts Before Maryland/UCF
Opponent: UCF Knights (1-0, 0-0 The American Conference)
Location: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (51,802)
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM ET
TV/Radio Broadcasts: Fox Sports 1, Maryland Sports Radio Network
Series Record: 1-0 Maryland
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After a week off last week, the Terrapins are back in action this weekend as UCF travels to College Park. Last season, the same two teams went to two overtimes in Orlando, FL before then-freshman quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome scored a game-winning touchdown. Both teams come into this game undefeated, with Maryland looking for a perfect non-conference record for the second year in a row.
1. Maryland Won Big on Saturday Night
They may not have played a game themselves, but Texas’ performance on the road at USC makes the Terrapins’ win over the Longhorns even more impressive. Texas held USC’s offense (generally considered to be one of the nation’s best) to just 17 points through 4 quarters of play on the road. That’s the same defensive unit that gave up 51 points to Maryland at home. The Terrapins felt a small boost in their national stature when the AP Poll was released on Sunday, as they moved up a few spots to #28.
2. How Will UCF Look After 2 Weeks Off?
The Knights were forced to reschedule their game against Georgia Tech due to Hurricane Irma, so they haven’t played a game since August 31st. They annihilated FIU in that game by a score of 61-17, but how rusty will they be when they travel north this weekend? Maryland may be able to get off to a quick start before UCF knocks off that rust.
3. Is Ty Johnson Human?
Can we talk about Ty Johnson for a second? Through the first two games of the season, he has carried the ball 17 times for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s an average of 15 yards per carry. FIFTEEN. It blows my mind each and every week that Maryland was the only FBS team to offer him a scholarship. Is it crazy to call him a sleeper for the Heisman Trophy?
4. Be Ready for McKenzie
When the Terrapins faced UCF last season, McKenzie Milton was just a freshman making his first collegiate start. He performed fairly well, going 21-for-36 with 260 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. However, he also had his share of freshman moments. Now that he has a full year of experience under his belt, Maryland’s defense must be ready for him. They did an excellent job of keeping him in the pocket last season, as he was unable to fully utilize his mobility. Against FIU, he went 16-for-21 with 360 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception.
5. This Team is Fun to Watch
On a more general note, how fun is this team to watch every weekend? They’re playing with an energy we never saw during Randy Edsall’s tenure, and seem to be improving with each passing week. Walt Bell’s offense is as electric and explosive as ever, with Ty Johnson running the ball and Kasim Hill tossing it around to D.J. Moore. Jimmy Brumbaugh and Andy Buh’s defense is flying to the ball, with Jermaine Carter, Jr. locking down the middle and Antoine Brooks running anywhere and everywhere. In less than 2 years, DJ Durkin has instilled a culture of energy and excitement in this program that’s extremely contagious. Teams who play the Terrapins had better beware of their excessive juice.