Maryland rides Hill’s hot start, quick-strike offense to overwhelm Towson


Maryland coach D.J. Durkin. Photo by Elia Powers. Maryland coach DJ Durkin. Photo by Elia Powers.

Editor’s Note: Baltimore Watchdog reporters went six deep in the press box for Saturday’s Maryland-Towson showdown. Read two reporters’ takes on the Terrapins below.

By Aaron Lighter
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If there was any doubt that true freshman Kasim Hill was ready to be the starting quarterback for Maryland, those doubts were silenced on Saturday.

Making his first collegiate start in only his second game as a Terrapin, Hill connected on his first eight passes, and went 13-of-16 for 163 yards on two touchdowns in Maryland’s 63-17 win over Towson Saturday at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Hill threw 11 straight completions over two games, dating back to Maryland’s week one victory over Texas, before his first incomplete pass as a college quarterback in the second quarter.

In the Terrapins’ 51-41 upset in Austin, Hill spelled Tyrrell Pigrome, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Maryland coach DJ Durkin described Hill’s performance as “efficient” and said was impressed with his reads in run-pass-type options.

“I thought Kasim [Hill] did a great job taking the team down the field on that first drive and making good decisions with the ball,” Durkin said. “We wanted to come out and get some good throws in with him and he certainly did that.”

Ty Johnson helped out with 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just two carries for Maryland (2-0), which scored its most points in a game since 1954. Johnson’s longest run was a 74-yard score midway through the first quarter to put Maryland ahead 21-o. But his most impressive run was a 46-yard touchdown early in the third quarter in which he broke several attempted Towson tackles to give the Terrapins a 35-7 lead.

During the second touchdown run Johnson eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the fourth straight game, becoming just the fourth Maryland running back to do so.

Hill’s main target was wideout D.J. Moore, whom he connected with seven times for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

“It helps the whole team when you have a guy you can spit the ball to and he can break the tackles and get big gains,” Durkin said of Moore. “I think the offense did a great job as whole helping Kasim get through this.”

Hill’s teammates said they weren’t surprised by his smooth debut as starting quarterback.

“He’s a very poised young man,” said Maryland defensive lineman Kingsley Opara. “People respect him around here and he earned that right.”

Added offensive lineman Terrance Davis: “It wasn’t a big surprise. Kasim’s been cool since he got here and we knew he’d step right in and do well.”

Hill wasn’t the only freshman quarterback who impressed in his first career start.

Towson’s Ryan Stover got the start in place of an injured Morgan Mahalak (upper-body injury) and put together a solid outing. He went 21-of-36 with 210 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while adding 52 yards on the ground.

“I got a good feel for what they were gonna do,” Stover said. “We a good job at executing and we did well handling (Maryland’s) pressure up front.”

The biggest mistake made by Stover came midway through the second quarter.

With the Tigers putting together a solid drive, Stover lobbed a pass toward the Maryland sideline that was intercepted by Darnell Savage Jr. and returned 75 yards for a touchdown which made it 28-7 Terrapins.

“I was in the middle of the field,” Savage said. “I saw the quarterback’s eyes move that way. When I saw him throw the ball, I knew I had a good jump on it. I ran over there and caught it. When I caught it, I saw I had blockers in front of me so I just let them lead me into the endzone.”

Stover’s best display came on the drive before the interception as he led the offense on an 11 play, 81-yard drive that lasted 6:02 and was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jabari Allen, which made it 21-7.

“To put that together on them, on their (number) one defense after they just made us go three-and-out a couple of times, it definitely got the whole team up,” Stover said.

Up next for Maryland is a matchup versus Central Florida on Sept. 23rd. Towson (1-1) will return to action next weekend on the road at Saint Francis.

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By Nick Ferrara
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK, MD. — Nine touchdowns. In just under 22 minutes on offense.

A slew of statistics tell the story of Maryland’s 63-17 win over Towson Saturday in its home opener. But perhaps none better illustrate the Terrapins’ efficient offensive performance and their quick-strike ability than the time-of-possession margin.

Making his first-ever collegiate start, freshman quarterback Kasim Hill dazzled early, completing his first eight passes of the game for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver D.J. Moore notched three scores and running back Ty Johnson broke loose for two long touchdowns of his own, including one that went for 74 yards to put Maryland up by two scores early.

“When you try to go three or four yards all the way down the field it becomes difficult,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said. “We count explosive plays always because that is a big factor in the game. Those are big swings in field position. The big plays that end up as touchdowns are the ones that everyone remembers.”

Maryland had many memorable scores — six of its nine touchdowns came on plays of 25 yards or more. And the Terrapins only punted twice all game.

“They’re explosive, they’re talented, they’re smart, they’re physical,” Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. “They’re going to be a very good football team.”

Hill finished the game 13-of-16 for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

“He [Hill] was very efficient,” Durkin said. “A lot of those passes were run-pass-type options where he’s got to make a decision, make a read, and he made the right ones.”

Maryland (2-0) scored its first 60-point game since 2010 and had the most points by a Terrapin team since 1954. This game also marked the first time that Maryland has opened up its season with two consecutive wins with over 50 points scored in each game.

To go along with the 534 yards of total offense that Towson (1-1) allowed, the big-play ability of the Terps offense continually shattered hopes of a Towson comeback.

Towson mustered 309 yards on offense in almost 40 minutes of possession but only found the end zone once in the first half and once late in the game.

Tigers redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Stover showed glimpses of promise in his first career start, completing 21-of-36 pass attempts for 210 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“Not bad,” Ambrose said of his starting quarterback. “I mean, try being a redshirt freshman going to play a team that’s probably going to be ranked in the top 25 very soon.”

Stover’s day was overshadowed by the 74-yard pick-six he threw at the hands of Maryland safety Darnell Savage, Jr. that ended a comeback hope and put Towson in a 28-7 hole at halftime.

“He did some really good stuff today, he did some bonehead stuff today, but he did some really, really good things today,” Ambrose said.

Towson will look to find its stride when they face a much more manageable opponent in St. Francis next Saturday.

Maryland is off next week but will be fine tuning its already-explosive offense in preparation for Central Florida on Sept. 23.

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