Maryland Beats Penn State In a Thriller 20-19


Maryland Beats Penn State 20-19

Players of the Game:

Will Likely, Cornerback- 1 Interception for 7 Yards

L.A. Goree, Linebacker- 6 Tackles, 2 Fumble Recoveries

Sean Davis, Defensive Back- 11 Tackles, 1 Tackle for a Loss, 3 Passes Broken up

Maryland wanted to establish a rivalry with Penn State by entering the Big Ten. Doing that would allow them to compete for top-notch recruits on the eastern seaboard in this country and generate more interest in Terps football.

The intentions had been evident for a while, but they became more clear at the beginning after the Terps refused to shake Penn State players’ hands in the pre-game and then caused a pre-game fight to break out that resulted in a personal foul on Stefon Diggs.

But for this rivalry to be taken seriously, Maryland had to win, just as Randy Edsall said. That’s the best way to prove they could compete with the big boys.

And in a thriller, they did just that on Saturday.

Penn State first jumped to a 3-0 lead. Maryland responded with a solid drive to go up 7-3. Two more Nittany Lions field goals made the score 9-7 at halftime, and in the second half Penn State went up 16-7 after a touchdown drive following a Maryland turnover.

Then Maryland came back with a field goal and another touchdown to go up 17-16. Penn State had a field goal to go up 19-17, and Brad Craddock later kicked a 43-yard game-winner 20-19.

The game was clinched when, on the next drive, Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg fumbled the snap on 4th an 1 and fell down.

The game was reflective of that play. This was a hideous game, when at one point in the first half both teams had more penalty yards than rushing yards. But both defenses played very well, and honestly, it was hard to pick out a player of the game. That should have gone to the entire Maryland defense because they all made plays.

Goree recovered 2 fumbles, one of which set up the Terps’ second half touchdown. Likely had an interception and a 15-yard punt return that set up the Terps’ game winning field goal. And Davis had to play multiple positions Saturday, but he was all over the field in the process with 11 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 3 passes broken up.

On offense, Maryland’s stars stepped up when it mattered. Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown played awful until they went down 16-7. After that, Diggs came away with 53 receiving yards, Brown scored a touchdown, and CJ Brown started to make plays. They came through when it mattered most.

Now, the Terps, who were supposed to struggle all year in the Big Ten, are 6-3 and have a chance to get to 8 or 9 wins. Who saw that coming at the beginning of the year (except for yours truly, who said the Big Ten was overrated from the start)? This could also do wonders for recruiting for them in the area.

The program might just be dramatically on the rise.

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  • Penn State, meanwhile, suffered its second straight heartbreaking loss. The Nittany Lions have lost 4 straight, much of which is the result of their early-season luck running out. But at 4-4, they still could easily get to a bowl game this year. James Franklin obviously has this program going in the right direction, but Christian Hackenberg is turning into a very unreliable quarterback.

    Either Hackenberg has no confidence or he trusts himself too much. That has to change going forward, especially when the Penn State defense keeps working so hard to win games.

    Either way, this was a thrilling Big Ten game, and it could be a budding rivalry if the Terps could be a lot more competitive than they were the last time they played on a yearly basis. Saturday was a good start. The series is now 35-2-1 Penn State.