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Maryland (6-6, 3-6 in the Big Ten) senior running back Kenneth Goins Jr. kicked off senior day by finding a hole in the Rutgers’ defense, and running 46 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. That set the tone for the Terps 31-13 win over the Scarlet Knights on Saturday, and becoming bowl eligible for the first time in two years.
“Great day for us, great day for our program,” Terps head coach D.J. Durkin said. “We are 6-6 and bowl eligible. When you look at where we come from, it’s a tremendous achievement for our guys. It truly tells you where our program is heading.”
Besides Teldrick Morgan 83-yard punt return that gave the Terps a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter, the run game carried Maryland offensively.
“Coach Bell told us they [Rutgers] just stand there and wait for things to happen,” Sophomore running back Ty Johnson said. “Coach was preaching that we can beat these guys and run all over them if we execute on the line.”
Johnson finished with 168 yards, and averaged 15.3 yards per carry on 11 attempts. Goins tallied 81 yards on 10 attempts. Freshman quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome came into the game in the second quarter, and put the Terps up 21-7 after he ran 28 yards to the end zone.
Senior quarterback Perry Hills was the starting quarterback despite dealing with shoulder problems prior to the game. Hills only went 9-15 and threw for 96 yards, but it was a positive sign for the Terps to have him on the field.
“For him [Hills] to go out for the senior game and get the opportunity to play in a bowl game is great,” Johnson said.
Defensively, the Terps were led by Jermaine Carter Jr. as he registered 15 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Durkin thinks Carter is beginning to learn the type of player he can be.
“Jermaine is a great player. He is scratching the surface on what he can be,” Durkin said. “I have high expectations for him as a player and leader moving forward.”
Late in the third quarter senior fullback Andrew Stefanelli fought through Rutgers’ defensive front to score his first collegiate touchdown, which put Maryland up 28-13.
“We had it plan for a week and if we had the opportunity, we were going to do it,” Durkin said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him [Stefanelli]. Stef is as tough as they come and never says a word.”
The win allows Maryland’s football season to continue, and that means a lot for the players especially the seniors on the team.
“It means so much to get an extra game,” Hills said. “You are not given anything after that, so getting another one with your teammates is something truly special.”