COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland football team delivered another outstanding offensive performance alongside a strong defensive effort to take down No. 21 Syracuse 63-20 on Sept. 7.
The 63 points are the most that Maryland has ever scored against a ranked opponent in the program’s history. The victory also marked the first time that the Terrapins scored at least 56 points in consecutive games.
“We had a great opportunity to play a ranked team here at home and to come out with a win today,” Head Coach Mike Locksley said. “Really proud of our guys and we ride them really hard during the course of the week. We strive for excellence in our execution and the thing we ask each guy for is the best version of themselves every time they come out and that collectively gives our team the best chance to be successful.”
Following a punt by the Orange, Maryland quickly took advantage and ended their first drive in five plays with quarterback Josh Jackson finding tight end Tyler Mabry for a 7-yard touchdown. The Terps would force a fumble on Syracuse’s next possession and quickly respond with a 3-yard touchdown by running back Anthony McFarland to give Maryland a 14-point lead in under six minutes of game time. The road team would finally get on the board when quarterback Tommy DeVito threw a 9-yard touchdown pass with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter.
On the Terps next possession, Jackson showed his growth under Locksley’s system, converting two third-down situations and driving the offense down the field in 11 plays. The drive ended with lead rusher Javon Leake scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run before the end of the quarter. Jackson finished the game throwing for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
As Syracuse (1-1) looked to fight back, defensive back Jordan Mosley delivered an early knockout blow with a tiptoe interception before being stopped on the 20-yard line. On the ensuing play, McFarland rushed through untouched for a 20-yard touchdown to increase Maryland’s lead by 21.
The former DeMatha Catholic High School standout continued his successful day on Maryland’s final offensive drive before halftime. First, McFarland turned a quick pass reception into a 39-yard gain. It would set up a quick 6-yard catch for his third touchdown of the game. The 5-foot-9 running back rushed for 75 yards while hauling in 45 receiving yards.
“Coach (Locksley) has been hopping on us all week about how we need to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” McFarland said. “That’s going to give us the best chance to win and just trying to execute every single play.”
In Maryland’s opening drive in the third quarter, Leake powered his way for a 64-yard score for the team’s seventh touchdown. Meanwhile, the defense only surrendered one more score to Syracuse in the second half, limiting the Orange to 400 yards of total offense. Their success came even as linebacker Shaq Smith was ruled out of the game during warm-ups.
“That just shows our depth in that room,” linebacker Keandre Jones said. “We have depth in that room and we have depth on this team. A lot of younger guys want to step up and play and help this team out.”
Maryland capped off their stellar performance by allowing their reserve backs to take over. First, Tayon Fleet-Davis (Potomac High School) rushed for 58 yards in one drive midway through the fourth quarter, finishing it off with a 5-yard touchdown run.
With less than five minutes to go, redshirt junior Jake Funk (Damascus High School) completed two huge runs of 54 and 28 yards before bullying his way for a 10-yard score. The Terps finished with 650 yards of total offense while the running back core scored six touchdowns.
“It’s us building a reputation as an offense,” Jackson said. “We talked about for the first game the first impression and now you just build your reputation. Being able to put up 60 points on an ACC top 25 team is very awesome and very good for our offense.”
As the Terrapins prepare to take on Temple on Sept. 14 on the road, Locksley said he plans to make sure his players do not take the road trip lightly. Despite their success, the head coach plans to work on reducing the number of plays his offense performs each game and during practice as well. Against Syracuse, Maryland finished executing 84 offensive plays.
“There’s some things that we will always learn from because it’s the game within the game that we’ll continue to stress with our guys,” Locksley said. “Winning takes care of itself when you have the right kind of habits and behaviors. I’m going to keep driving that home with you guys as well.”