Maryland Terps

Quick Links

Maryland Terrapins crush Big Ten rival Illinois 63-33

maryland-celebration-illinois-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Maryland Terrapins crush Big Ten rival Illinois 63-33

Maryland opened up its passing game and fortified an already formidable running attack with seldom-used Javon Leake.

The result was a feel-good 63-33 rout over Illinois, one that was definitely worth singing about well into Saturday night.

"The locker room, we're in there singing that (Maryland fight) song, those guys are excited," interim coach Matt Canada said. "We found a way to win. We played good on offense, good on defense, good on special teams."

Leake rushed for three touchdowns and scored on a 97-yard kickoff return , Kasim Hill had the best passing game of his career and Maryland held the Fighting Illini without a touchdown until late in the third quarter.

Leake is the first Maryland player to score four TDs in a game since D.J. Adams in the 2010 Military Bowl. Leake, a sophomore, finished with 140 yards rushing, including scores of 64, 27 and 43 yards.

"The offensive line did a great job today," Leake said. "They just set me up to make plays."

Prior to Saturday, Leake had 16 career carries, just nine this season.

"He was not at the top of the list in the running back room as the season began," Canada said. "He continued to practice hard."

The victory left the Terrapins (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) one win short of becoming bowl eligible, no small feat for a team that was rocked by the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and has been playing under Canada since August.

Despite of the uncertainty surrounding the program, Maryland has already exceeded its win total (4) from last year.

"The whole point of the story is, our guys have checked their egos and just want to win," Canada said. "We're sitting here 5-3 with a bunch of kids who are playing so hard for each other and care for each other."

Canada, the team's offensive coordinator, took over for DJ Durkin, who is on administrative leave during an investigation of the culture of the program.

The probe began soon after McNair collapsed on the practice field and died of heatstroke in June. The report is complete. Now, after the commission determined there are problems with the culture of the program, the school and the football team await the fallout.

Reggie Corbin ran for 155 yards and a touchdown for the Fighting Illini (3-5, 1-4). Illinois had yielded 158 points during a three-game skid, and its streak of forcing a turnover in 21 consecutive games came to an end.

"It's kind of beyond words the feelings we have right now," coach Lovie Smith said. "There's been some cracks that we've seen, but not like this. We knew what was at stake, just thought we would play a lot better. I thought our preparation was good, but as you can see it was not."

Starting quarterback M.J. Rivers was knocked from the game in the second quarter on a hit by Tre Watson, who was ejected for targeting. Rivers went 3 for 13 for 45 yards.

Leake's kickoff return and 64-yard run, along with two touchdown passes by Hill , provided Maryland with a 28-9 halftime lead. The Terrapins tacked on three touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 27-yard run by Leake and Hill's third touchdown pass.

Hill was removed from the game late in the third quarter with the score 49-19. He went 11 for 19 for a career-high 265 yards, and his three TD passes tied a career best.

Playing Illinois for the first time, Maryland set a school record for most points in a Big Ten game since joining the conference in 2014. The Terps finished with 712 yards in offense.

It was a redemptive performance for a team that mustered only 115 yards one week earlier in a 23-0 loss to Iowa.

WATSON DISQUALIFIED

Watson leads the Terps in tackles and is tied for the team lead in interceptions, but this is the second time he's been booted for targeting.

Watson played three seasons for Illinois before coming to Maryland this year.

JOHNSON OUT

Johnson, Maryland's leading rusher, missed the second half with a leg injury. He ranks fourth on the team career list with 2,597 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Illinois: The Illini have a bad defense, plain and simple, especially when unable to force turnovers.

"Big plays are really hurting us," Smith conceded.

Maryland: Well, for one game at least, the Terrapins proved they can pass as well as throw. That should be an asset in upcoming games against Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State.

UP NEXT

Illinois hosts Minnesota, which defeated Indiana 38-31 Saturday for its first Big Ten win of the season.

Maryland faces visiting Michigan State (5-3, 3-2), which defeated Purdue 23-13 on Saturday.

Quick Links

Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland's future defense is in the running for a huge boost on Wednesday.

Flowers High School defensive tackle Tommy Akingbesote posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be announcing his commitment at 6 P.M. on Wednesday. According to 247sports.com, the race is between the Terps and Virginia Tech - though a myriad of other schools are also listed as possibilities.

Terps coach Mike Locksley has already had two 4-star defensive linemen commit: Demeioun Robinson from Quince Orchard is ranked third in the state and 58th in the country overall. And another Flowers player, Marcus Bradley, who is ranked 9th in the state and No. 186 in the country is heading to College Park.

 Akingbesote is ranked 16th in the state according to 247Sports.com's rankings.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Quick Links

What to watch: Re-live Maryland, Virginia's lacrosse championships

What to watch: Re-live Maryland, Virginia's lacrosse championships

DMV college lacrosse fans looking to re-live the glory days of UVA and Maryland's programmings are in luck on Monday. ESPNU and the ACC Network are airing a slew of title games including Maryland men's 2017 title and Maryland women's battle against North Carolina.

Here's the schedule for Monday, May 25 (in EST): 

NCAA MEN'S LACROSSE

12:00 PM    North Carolina vs. Maryland (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
2:00 PM    Maryland vs. Denver (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
2:00 PM    Notre Dame vs. Duke (Championship)  Channel: ACC Network
4:00 PM    Notre Dame vs. Duke (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
6:00 PM    #5 Yale vs. #3 Virginia (Championship) Channel: ACC Network
6:00 PM    Ohio State vs. Maryland (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
8:05 PM    Duke vs. Yale (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
10:00 PM    #5 Yale vs. #3 Virginia (Championship) Channel: ESPNU
10:00 PM    North Carolina vs. Maryland (Championship) Channel: ACC Network

NCAA WOMEN'S LACROSSE

8:00 PM    North Carolina vs. Maryland (Championship) Channel: ACC Network