By Harry Lichtman
COLLEGE PARK — Following a 42-14 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor the previous week, the Maryland Terrapins football team (4-2) got back on track against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-6), taking care of business in dominating fashion on homecoming weekend, 34-7.
The game started ugly with punts from both teams, until late in the first quarter, when senior tailback Ty Johnson took the handoff and raced 65 yards down the sideline for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead for the Terps.
On that play, Johnson became the fourth Maryland player to record 4,000 all-purpose yards, joining Torrey Smith, LaMont Jordan and Stefon Diggs. Johnson rushed for 132 yards during the game.
Although the 4,000-yard mark is a major milestone, Johnson wasn’t that much aware going into Saturday’s game.
“My mom’s really the one that pays attention,” Johnson laughed. “I just go in ready to play the game. It means something, but as of right now we had a great win as a team.”
After Chance Campbell recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the Terps’ next drive resulted in freshman kicker Joseph Petrino nailing a 39-yard field goal at the end of the quarter to extend the lead to 10-0.
Maryland redshirt freshman quarterback Kasim Hill had himself a day. Early in the second quarter, he rolled to his right and found graduate receiver Taivon Jacobs in the end zone for the 23-yard score.
Halfway through the quarter, Hill hooked up with sophomore Tayon Fleet-Davis over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown to improve the shutout to 24-0.
Petrino added another field goal in the third quarter to make it 27-0. After an interception gave the Terps back possession, Hill hooked up with freshman Jeshaun Jones in the end zone from eight yards out, to cushion the lead to 34-0.
Hill finished the afternoon eight-of-17 for 76 yards and three scores, but the rushing attack of Johnson and redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland also propelled the offense.
The game sure looked like it would be a shutout for Maryland. However, with less than a minute to go, Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
While the Terps’ offense did all the scoring, the defense was able to help them regain possession in Scarlet Knights territory, as the defense had five interceptions – including four off true freshman Artur Sitkowski and one off fifth-year backup Giovanni Rescigno of Rutgers.
Two of those passes were picked off by senior safety Darnell Savage, Jr., while juniors Tino Ellis and Byron Cowart also intercepted Sitkowski. Senior linebacker Tre Watson got the interception off Rescigno.
On the other side of things, Sitkowski had a horrendous afternoon, as he completed more passes to the other team than his own. He went 2-of-16 for eight yards and four interceptions, with a passer rating of -33.3.
The five interceptions are the most by Maryland since Nov. 14, 1998, when they had seven picks against Duke.
“We just want to take it one week at a time,” said Savage. “It’s a long season, and really you don’t want to dwell on the past, whether it’s good or bad.”
With their overall record now 4-2, Matt Canada’s Terps will head out to the Midwest to face the Iowa Hawkeyes next Saturday, Oct. 20, at noon.