Maryland’s football game against Indiana on Saturday was a shootout between both offenses, but the energy within Capital One Field felt like a blow out was being taken place.
Yet, you can’t blame Terps’ fans that remained in the stands, as the team gave them little to cheer about at the end, falling to the Hoosiers 34-28.
“We made it a four quarter game, something we haven’t done around here this year,” Terps’ Head Coach Mike Locksley said. “But, we didn’t make the plays when we needed to. We had two drives at the end to win the ball game, but we didn’t get it done.”
With the Terps next three games featuring ranked opponents, this was a must win for Locksley’s squad. However, Maryland’s defense particularly its secondary didn’t play with a sense of urgency in the first half, allowing 327 yards and 523 for the entire game.
Senior defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. and linebacker Chance Campbell were the lone bright spots on the defensive end, recording a combined 17 tackles. Brooks picked off Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the end zone in the second quarter.
“Antoine is going to compete,” Locksley said. “Even in the series where he made a mistake, he came back and made an interception as [Indiana] was driving down the field. I know he would give us a 110% every chance he gets.”
Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome, who made his second start of the season, threw for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Running back Javon Leake stepped up in the starting role after Anthony McFarland was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Leake rushed for a career high 158 yards on 23 carries. Leake broke through Indiana’s defense for a 60-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, which was the fifth time this season where the Terps scored on a play that was 50 or more yards.
Pigrome gave Maryland some form of life during the closing seconds of the third quarter, throwing a 53-yard pass to tight end Tyler Mabry that set up Leake’s second rushing touchdown to cut the deficit to 31-28.
Indiana sucked out any momentum the Terps gain late in the fourth quarter when safety Juwan Burgess stripped the ball from Leake then recovered it at Maryland’s 15 yard line, which led to a field goal.
“To have the ball pulled out there, that’s fundamental,” Locksley said. “Being able to execute in critical situations has been an Achilles heel for us. I got to get these guys to perform in critical situations and perform at the level they are capable of.”
Pigrome guided the Terps down the field, but his attempt at a comeback drive fell short when he threw an interception to Indiana defensive back Taylor Reese, which capped off the afternoon.
“It’s very frustrating because the defense did a good job trying to give us a chance,” Pigrome said. “I tried to throw the ball down the field to score, but I didn’t execute.”
Maryland will face No. 20 Minnesota, who is undefeated in conference play, next week.