College Football notebook: Maryland holds on to upset Texas in emotional season opener

Terps beat Texas for the second year in the row, while Towson continues its rivalry with Morgan State.

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In the first college football notebook of the 2018 season, I will be covering Maryland, Towson and Howard.

Maryland earns statement victory over Texas: The Terps have been through a lot over the last three months. From the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair to reports of abuse within the coaching staff, which has led to head coach DJ Durkin being placed on administrative leave.

Despite everything surrounding Maryland, the team was able to beat No. 23 Texas 34-29 in its season opener on Saturday afternoon at FedEx Field.

“I just can’t say enough about our players, everything that they’ve been through, and the way they stuck together. It was a great way to honor Jordan [McNair],” Interim head coach Matt Canada said to media after the game. “This was a win for Jordan and we’re certainly proud of our team, proud of our program.”

The Terps held a 24-7 in the second quarter, but committed three turnovers in the final six minutes of the second quarter, which allowed Texas to cut the deficit to 24-22 at the half. The Longhorns managed to take a 29-24 lead in the third quarter thanks to a two-yard touchdown run by junior running back Kyle Porter.

The game was delayed for 86 minutes in the fourth quarter due to bad weather. The Terps came out of the delay and took a 31-29 lead after a 17-yard rushing touchdown by running back Tayon Fleet-Davis.

Quarterback Kasim Hill was impressive in his first start for the Terps since tearing his ACL against UCF last season. Hill went 17/29 with 222 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played a football game and it was just fun to be back out there with everybody,” Hill said. “[There are] things that you miss on the sidelines like all the emotions and conversations and the flow of the game. Just being out there with those dudes, that’s the love of it right there.”

Freshman wide receiver Jeshaun Jones made a strong impression in his collegiate debut as he turned a lot of heads with his versatility. Jones started out rushing 28 yards for a touchdown. He would later catch a 65-yard touchdown pass and throw one himself. He is the first FBS freshman since Marcus Mariota to record a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown in a single game.

“He is versatile. He’s a very good football player,” Canada said. “Obviously the pass was special, what he did after the catch was special. And then obviously the trick play down in the red zone, we had it, we kind of auditioned it. We had three or four guys throw it in practice, his was the best, and you’re only going to do it one time.”

It’s the second year in the row where the Terps beat Texas in the season opener. Maryland’s next game will be on Sept. 8 against Bowling Green.

Towson quarterback Tom Flacco was solid in his debut: Rutgers transfer Tom Flacco, the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe, made his Towson debut in the 36-13 victory over Morgan State on Saturday. Flacco threw for 245 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Morgan State started the game with a 3-0 lead then the Tigers took over and scored 36 unanswered points. Flacco threw his first touchdown pass to Shane Leatherbury, which gave Towson a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

Flacco connected with tight end Chris Clark for a touchdown, which gave the Tigers a 24-7 lead in the second half.

The victory marked Towson’s 19th win in the 25-game Battle for Greater Baltimore series. The Tigers have won three straight games against the Bears.

Howard falls to Ohio despite a strong performance from Caylin Newton: Howard’s attempt at making a second straight upset against a FBS school didn’t go as planned as the Bisons lost to Ohio 38-32 on Saturday.

Howard was up 22-17 halftime, but Ohio rallied to score 21 points in the second half to earn the win. Backup quarterback Quinton Maxwell tallied 233 passing yards and four touchdowns (two passing and two rushing). Ohio’s DL Knock scored on a 99-yard kick return in the second half.

Caylin Newton, brother of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam, threw for a career high 439 yards, three touchdowns and pair of interceptions. Newton also ran for 93 yards on 21 carries.

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