COLLEGE PARK -- The weather in College Park was ugly at times, even resulting in nearly hour-long delay at halftime. The game between Maryland and Bowling Green wasn’t much more visually appealing.
Despite being leading, 13-6, at halftime, an offensive shootout broke out in the second half, but an exhausted Maryland defense and a lethargic Maryland offense could not keep up in a 48-27 loss to Bowling Green.
Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson finished 36-of-55 for 491 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Roger Lewis hit the 200-yard mark. Maryland was doubled up in yardage offensively, 692-341.
Here are five things you need to know.
1) Weather delay
After Maryland headed to the halftime locker room with a 13-6 lead, a message was posted on the stadium’s scoreboards that directed fans to evacuate the premises. The game would be delayed until the weather passed.
In all, the delay lasted 55 minutes and the second half began around 2:40 p.m.
2) Will Likely did it again (but one costly mistake)
Will Likely broke a 76-year-old Big Ten record with 233 punt return yards last week against Richmond and Bowling Green made the mistake of punting to him again on Saturday.
Likely, drifting backward, received the ball, dipped and dodged, found an open space, and took the ball 85 yards for a touchdown. It was the lone touchdown of the first half and helped to supplement an offense that continued to have issues with stalling in the red zone again.
But there was a miscue, too. Likely got greedy on a punt in the third quarter. After being twisted around while tracking the ball, he muffed the punt and turned it over inside Maryland’s red zone.
That would lead to a Bowling Green touchdown that would tie the game, 20-20.
3) Mixing in the read option with Perry Hills, but offense struggles
Maryland opened up the playbook to include more read-option looks, trading deep passing attempts for more of a ground game -- which makes sense because Bowling Green gave up 399 yards on the ground last week to Tennessee.
But even when given opportunities, Maryland’s defense stalled far too often. By one count, there were at least five drops by pass catchers, meaning it wasn’t all on Hills.
At the same time, there were throws and situations that weren’t taken advantage of. He was later replaced (more below).
Hills finished 15-of-30 for 168 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
4) Maryland gets pressure on the quarterback, but were on field too long
When defending the spread offense, much falls on the secondary to defend on an island and much falls on the defensive front to get pressure on the quarterback without losing containment.
Both did their job in the first half, especially the front seven, which registered three sacks and four tackles for a loss. Yannick Ngakoue led the way with two of those sacks.
The pressure also forced an interception by Jalen Brooks in the third quarter that gave Maryland another opportunity in Bowling Green territory, but the ensuing drive fizzled out with no points.
Eventually, the defense just couldn’t hold us. Cornerback Sean Davis was being targeted deep repeatedly and getting beaten. BGSU continued to run the ball without much resistance, and the result was back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdown drives of 99 yards and 73 yards.
5) The dagger late
Maryland’s defense was just too worn down. They had held the fort for so long that the disparity in time of possession had become too much to overcome.
Just when it had seemed like perhaps there was a chance to get the ball back in the middle of the fourth quarter, a third-down, 44-yard touchdown pass from BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson to wide receiver Robbie Rhodes slammed the door.
Caleb Rowe was inserted at quarterback in place of Hills and the first pass he threw was intercepted. He was intercepted again shortly after, his second pick in three attempts on the day.