Maryland kicked off the Mike Locksley era in College Park with a 79-0 onslaught against Howard on Saturday afternoon. It was the second most points the Terps scored in school history.
“I thought that our guys, collectively, offensively, defensively and special teams, they all contributed to the win,” Locksley said after the game. “The best thing that comes out of the game for us is that we had an opportunity to develop our team as a whole by being able to play some really young players.”
Maryland’s victory gave fans a glimpse of transfer quarterback Josh Jackson’s potential to run the Terps offense. Jackson was shaky at the start, but turned things around by throwing for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
“[Jackson’s] a guy that’s really cooled under pressure,” Locksley said. “I was pleased with him and his poise. He stands out to me as a leader. He made some tough throws for some people in his face on some of the quick gain stuff.”
Maryland’s offensive outburst allowed quarterbacks Tyrell Pigrome, Tyler DeSue and Lance LeGendre to run the offense. Pigrome threw for 61 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for a score. DeSue also ran for a touchdown.
Terps’ sophomore receiver Dontay Demus Jr. made a strong impression in his first career start, registering 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Demus’ 26-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter set the tone for the Terps for the rest of the game.
“[Demus] stepped up big time because with his speed and frame he can do a lot of good things on the field,” Maryland receiver Brian Cobbs, who recorded 58 yards, said. “That’s kind of what we’ve been waiting for.”
The Terps run game was solid even though Howard’s defense was made it difficult to rush the ball. Running back Anthony McFarland scored twice, while Jake Funk and Tayon Fleet-Davis combined for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland’s defense dominated from beginning to end, completely shutting down the Bison and their quarterback Caylin Newton. The Terps held Howard to 68 total yards and four first downs.
“I know we’ve said that our philosophy on defense is to be aggressive,” Locksley said. “We had a game plan and where we wanted to keep [Newton] in the pocket. He was a guy that showed on film that he extends plays with his feet outside the pocket.”
Maryland, who put together its first shutout since 2013, recorded eight sacks. Senior transfer Keandre Jones recorded four tackles and 1.5 sacks in his Terps debut. Clemson transfer Shaq Smith had three tackles and a sack, while junior defensive lineman Sam Okuayinonu added seven tackles and three sacks.
“Our defense is bringing a lot of pressure,” Jones said. “Making sure we’re continuing and doing our assignments.”
Maryland took advantage of Howard’s struggles on special teams, recording a safety and receiver DJ Turner scored on a 40-yard punt return.