COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Something tells me they won’t all be this easy. The Mike Locksley era got off to quite the start on Saturday as Maryland obliterated Howard to the tune of 79-0.
Games between FBS and FCS schools are often blowouts. Sure, there is the occasional Appalachian State-Michigan upset, but for the most part these games tend to be pretty one-sided.
Saturday’s game went well beyond the typical FBS-FCS rout.
Maryland was up 56-0 in the first half, the most points the Terps have scored in a half in program history. The final score of 79-0 fell just one point shy of the program record for points in a game.
Maryland leaned on its passing game in the first half in response to Howard’s defense which stacked the box and left no deep help in the secondary. Clearly the goal was to stop the run, but the Terps took advantage of the defense with 306 passing yards. Quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.
By halftime, Locksley was trying to figure out how to hold the team back.
“We made the decision at halftime, we made some adjustments to be able to run the ball even when they outnumbered us,” Locksley said. “We still were able to pop a few in there. But we've got to call our game and one of the things, we have to develop our young players and the only way you develop them is by executing your offense defense and special teams schemes.”
Even though they took their foot off the gas, Maryland still came oh so close to setting a new program record for points in a game.
With the score 79-0, running back Jake Funk broke off a 49-yard run to set Maryland up deep in Howard territory.
“Funk broke it out of there,” Locksley said. “I was glad he got tackled.”
Maryland got the ball down to Howard’s 7 but elected not to take the field goal and instead turned the ball over on downs.
“That was done out of respect for our opponent,” Locksley said.
“It was a perfect storm,” he added. “We got into a situation where we were trying to manage the clock. We had the ability to tag our runs to make sure that if you break them off, they go down. You do that, it's kind of disrespectful. You score, it's disrespectful. So we tried to manage it.”
Howard head coach Ron Prince did not take the score as any sign of unsportsmanlike play from the Terps.
“First of all, it’s my job to stop Maryland, not Maryland, alright,” he said. “I thought Coach Locksley was very sportsmanlike about the entire thing and obviously at the end there, they laid off.”
They laid off just one point and seven yards away from a new school record.
But the point was not to run the score up. The point for Locksley was to develop his team which has to navigate a brutal Big Ten East schedule and who welcomes a ranked Syracuse team to College Park next week.
Locksley said after the game he spoke with coach Prince. “He understood that we weren't trying to run the score up. We respect the game, we have respect for the way it should be played.”
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