COLLEGE PARK, M.D.- Maryland (2-1) failed to escape the injury bug yet again.
During the first quarter of the Terps’ final non-conference matchup against the University of Central Florida (2-0) on Saturday afternoon, freshman quarterback Kasim Hill scrambled out of the pocket and was sandwiched by two UCF defenders. The play led to Hill laying on the ground in pain, unable to move his right leg. It was a sight the Terps were too familiar with.
Maryland had to battle adversity early this season as the team saw sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome tear his ACL in the season opener. However, the Terps couldn’t fight adversity against UCF as the Knights ran up the scoreboard in route to a 38-10 victory and ending Maryland’s non-conference play on a sour note.
“We did not handle adversity well,” Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin said. “So far this year, we had adversity that we handled but now we have some we didn’t. It certainly showed when we were playing a good team like that.”
After Maryland jumped out in front to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, UCF outscored the Terps 38-7. Knights’ quarterback McKenzie Milton was able to beat the Terps with his dual-threat ability. Milton went 18-30 with 178 passing yards and a touchdown, while running for 94 yards. Milton broke through the Terps defense for a 55-yard run in the third quarter, which set up a touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Atkins that increased Central Florida’s lead to 21-3.
“He [Milton] was able to use his feet very well,” Maryland senior linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “We didn’t a very good job keeping him in the pocket and that was one of our keys. We wanted him to beat us in the pocket.”
The Knights defense had Maryland’s number even when Hill was on the field. The Terps were 2-13 on third down conversions and were held to 42 rushing yards. Maryland entered the game with the ninth best rushing attack in the country.
“They did their studying,” Maryland junior running back Ty Johnson said. “They saw the way we lined up and took advantage of it.”
Johnson, who ran for 100 or more yards in four straight games, was only able to muster up 39 rushing yards. Sophomore running back Lorenzo Harrison racked up a team-high 51 yards on 10 attempts.
Sophomore, and Maryland’s third string quarterback Max Bortenschlager stepped up to the plate when Hill went down. Bortenschlager struggled as he was immediately thrown into the fire against a tough UCF defense.
“It’s tough being thrown into a situation like that,” Johnson said. “But I think he handled it well and played his hardest.”
Bortenschlager threw for 132 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Bortenschlager’s lone touchdown pass came late in the third quarter when he found wide receiver D.J. Moore for a 20-yard touchdown pass that cut the deficit to 21-10.
UCF ended any chance for a Maryland comeback when running back Adrian Killins ran 15 yards into the end zone then cornerback Mike Hughes intercepted Bortenschlager’s pass and ran 57 yards for a touchdown.
“I think we let the circumstance affect how we were going to play,” Durkin said. “We had breakdowns and lack of communications. It wasn’t one thing that you can put your figure on.”
As the Terps wait on the status of Hill’s injury, they go back to the drawing board to prepare for their first Big Ten game of the season against Minnesota on Saturday.