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Johnson's big run lifts Maryland over Minnesota, 31-24

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Johnson's big run lifts Maryland over Minnesota, 31-24

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ty Johnson rushed for 130 yards and a 34-yard touchdown run with 1:10 to play to lift Maryland to a 31-24 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

Max Bortenschlager completed 18 of 28 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score for the Terrapins (3-1). Lorenzo Harrison III added 75 yards rushing and Maryland racked up 262 yards on the ground against a Minnesota defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country against the run.

Conor Rhoda was 13 for 26 for 229 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for previously unbeaten Minnesota (3-1). Tyler Johnson had three catches for 69 yards, but the Golden Gophers rushed for just 80 yards.

D.J. Moore caught eight passes for 90 yards and a touchdown for Maryland.

The Terrapins have already lost two starting quarterbacks -- Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill -- to season-ending knee injuries this year.

Bortenschlager looked overwhelmed at times last week when he was thrust into surprise duty following Hill's injury. Given a week to practice as the starter, he looked much more comfortable. He squeezed a throw in between two Gophers defenders on fourth-and-11 from the Gophers 31 in the first quarter. D.J. Turner made a leaping catch for a 22-yard gain, setting up Bortenschlager's 7-yard draw for a touchdown to get Maryland on the board.

He came up big again in the fourth quarter on third-and-goal from the 4, rolling to his right and hitting a wide-open Jake Funk in the flat for a 24-17 lead. It was the first time an opponent has scored against Minnesota's defense in the second half this season.

The Gophers tied the game midway through the fourth quarter when Shannon Brooks scored with four minutes to play, but Bortenschlager gave Maryland its ninth third-down conversion of the game at the Minnesota 39 and Ty Johnson burst through the line and went untouched for the touchdown to seal the victory.

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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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