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Central Florida breezes past QB-depleted Maryland 38-10

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Central Florida breezes past QB-depleted Maryland 38-10

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Taj McGowan scored two touchdowns, quarterback McKenzie Milton ran for 94 yards and Central Florida capitalized on an early injury to Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill in a 38-10 upset Saturday.

Coming off a three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma, the Knights (2-0) used a 21-point run over the second and third quarters to take control against a team trying to adjust to its third different quarterback in three games.

Maryland (2-1) lost starter Tyrrell Pigrome in its season-opening win over Texas before turning to Hill, a true freshman with seemingly enough poise and talent to sufficiently fill the void. Hill finished off the Longhorns and helped beat Towson 63-17 before leaving this game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury.

He was replaced by sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who went 15 for 26 for 132 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 57-yard touchdown by Mike Hughes with 5:11 left.

Bortenschlager was also sacked five times.

Hill was scrambling on a third-down play when hit by Jamiyus Pittman and Chequan Burkett. The quarterback remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field.

Maryland did not give an immediate report on his condition.

The Terrapins kicked a field goal on the next play but went nearly 32 minutes before scoring again late in the third quarter. By that time, UCF was well on its way to victory and the majority of fans had already made their way to the exits.

It was the second victory for the Knights against a Big Ten school. The previous win -- against nine defeats -- came at Penn State in 2013.

McGowan finished with 33 yards on 12 carries, including touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards. The junior saw extensive action after starter Jawon Hamilton was injured on the Knights' opening possession.

It was 14-3 in the third quarter when Miller ran 55 yards to the Maryland 20. Not long after that, the sophomore tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins.

Milton went 18 for 30 for 178 yards.

Maryland's DJ Moore caught a 20-yard touchdown throw from Bortenschlager to make it 21-10, but the Terps simply didn't have the firepower to complete the comeback.

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Maryland strives to improve Big Ten's worst defense

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Maryland strives to improve Big Ten's worst defense

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland's season is spinning out of control, and the Terrapins find themselves defenseless in their bid to stop it.

Although much of the attention at Maryland this season has focused on the quarterback position, the team's most obvious flaw is its porous defense.

The Terrapins have yielded an average of 36.5 points per game, which ranks last in the Big Ten and 115th of 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They are permitting 439 yards per game -- last in the Big Ten and 104th in the FBS.

Over the past two games, Maryland (3-3, 1-2) has given up 99 points and 1,115 yards. One big reason is that the Terrapins have one sack in their last three games.

"We definitely need more pressure on the quarterback," coach DJ Durkin said Tuesday. "That's pretty much a staple of football. If you allow a quarterback to be patient and calm in the pocket, they usually find a guy open."

That's happened more times this season than Durkin would care to remember, and goes a long way toward explaining why Maryland's pass defense is 107th in the FBS.

Even though injuries have cost the Terrapins their top two quarterbacks , perhaps the most notable injury is the broken ankle sustained by defensive end Jesse Aniebonam in the season opener. Aniebonam had nine sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and 30 quarterback hurries in 2016.

"It's been a little shaky getting through it," defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. said.

"When you lose Jesse off the bat like that, he's your main pass rusher," end Brett Kulka said. "So it's going to be an issue to work through."

Durkin got the job at Maryland after a successful runs as a defensive coordinator at Florida and Michigan. In his second season at Maryland, he's tried just about everything to turn things around with this unit.

In the end, though, it comes down to individual effort.

"I'm sure there's always times when you can have a better call in certain situations, but guys have to win 1-on-1s," Durkin said. "If they keep enough guys in the block, someone's got to win a 1-on-1. It's really an attitude and a demeanor. It's about having the right attitude of, `I'm going to go win. I'm going to beat a block.'"

That didn't happen often last weekend in a 37-21 loss to Northwestern. Not only did the Wildcats pass for 293 yards, but tailback Justin Jackson rambled for 171 yards.

It was the third defeat in four games for the Terps. Things don't get any easier Saturday against No. 5 Wisconsin and Big Ten rushing leader Jonathan Taylor, who amassed 219 yards on the ground last week in a win over Purdue .

"He's hard to tackle," Durkin said. "He's got good speed, good vision. He understands what they do. Where to hit the hole, when to be patient how the blocks are going to unfold."

It's going to take a huge effort from the Maryland defense to pull off an upset.

"We need to go back to the basics," Brooks said. "We need to run to the ball more, make more tackles, cause more turnovers."

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Ty Johnson's 100-yard kick return for Maryland earns him Big Ten honors

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Ty Johnson's 100-yard kick return for Maryland earns him Big Ten honors

The Maryland Terrapins got rocked on the road by Ohio State on Saturday, losing 62-14 — although that’s still an improvement on their 62-3 loss in 2016 — but there was a clear bright spot on the field: Ty Johnson.

The Terps’ junior running back was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday, and the honor is well deserved after Johnson stunned the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe in the first quarter of the game with a 100-yard kick return.

After Ohio State jumped out to a 14-zip lead about five minutes into the game, Johnson was on the receiving end of the Buckeyes’ kickoff following their second touchdown. Johnson caught the ball on the edge of his team’s end zone, and thanks to great blocking early on by the Terps, he was able to zigzag his way through Ohio State players and find a path down the sideline to the opposite end zone.

Johnson’s standout play was the 37th 100-yard kick return in Big Ten history, according to the conference. It was also Maryland’s first since Will Likely did it against Iowa in 2015.

This is the first time Johnson has received Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and he averaged 31.5 yards per kick return on six attempts against the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Maryland’s next game is Saturday, October 14 when the Terps host the Northwestern Wildcats at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.

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