Maryland’s opening drive where quarterback Josh Jackson threw an interception and the Terps picked up two penalties set the tone for what spectators were going to see throughout Friday night’s matchup against No. 12 Penn State.
The Terps committed nine penalties and the defense got embarrassed, as they allowed 619 total yards in their 59-0 loss to the Nittany Lions, which kicked off Big Ten play.
“Disappointed in our effort, disappointed in the discipline we played with tonight,” Maryland Head Coach Mike Locksley said. “We were out-coached, we were out-played, and that’s on me as the head coach and the leader of this football family, to have our guys prepared to go out and play the type of game we need to play.”
Jackson struggled for the second straight game, as he went 9-20 with 62 yards and a pair of interceptions. Jackson was heavily pressured by Penn State’s defense, as he was sacked three times.
“We’ve got to do a better job of making sure we stay protected and that he makes decisions in the offense that allows him to get the ball out quick,” Locksley said. “We’re not an offense that is gonna drop back and throw it 50 times a game. We’re a run-pass option type of offense where the ball usually comes out quick.”
Jackson’s best drive came in the first quarter when he threw a 15-yard pass to junior receiver Sean Savoy. Maryland received additional 15 yards when Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons was called for targeting on Jackson then ejected out of the game. Maryland was in the red zone with a chance to score, but Jackson threw an interception Penn State corner Tariq Castro-Field.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had a different story, as threw for 398 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Clifford was making plays on the ground, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Clifford sent the Maryland fans that sold out Capital One Field to the exits when he threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Bowers that gave Penn State a 28-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“The big thing – and we said this going into the game – is that we needed to affect the quarterback. We’re a pressure defense and for whatever reason we didn’t necessarily affect him,” Locksley said. “He made some quick decisions and we knew that he had the capability.”
Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler had a big game, recording 108 yards and a 58-yard touchdown reception where he nearly took the ankles of a Maryland defender.
Maryland sustained injuries early in the game, as running back Lorenzo Harrison, cornerback Marcus Lewis and right tackle Marcus Minor exited the game in the first quarter.
“The initial thing with Marcus Lewis was a knee,” Locksley said. “I don’t know the severity of it. With Marcus Minor, it was a dislocated toe. He went out pretty early. We lost [Harrison] early in the game. Injuries are going to a part of the game and we’ve got to work to create the depth were gonna need to play in this league.”
Penn State has outscored Maryland 163-6 in its last three matchups. The Terps’ will have a tough time trying not to make their performance against the Nittany Lions a trend against Big Ten powerhouses, as they have to face Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State this season.
“It starts with playing with discipline and not beating yourself,” Locksley said. “I’ll give credit to Penn State, but if you look at the way the game started, we didn’t do a great job of playing with discipline, we had a lot of penalties early in the game, the turnover down in the red zone. Those are all things that we self-inflicted. To close the gap, good teams don’t beat themselves. Right now, we’re not playing that type of football and it’s up to me to figure out how to get us to play that way.”