The Maryland Terrapins did it again — knocking off a favored and ranked (if you want to pay attention to those things) Texas Longhorns football team.
Much like last season, it was a fight to the very end and it was Maryland coming out on top again. The Terps survived for a 34-29 win in Landover, Md. this time around.
But, spoiling Tom Herman’s debut last season was one thing, winning in 2018 felt totally different.
After all, it came on the heels of one of the craziest offseasons one could imagine. There was the tragic death of a teammate following an intense workout and then the suspension and investigation in to the head coach.
It also came as the debut of Matt Canada as a head coach at any point in his long career in college football.
So, of course, getting this win was an emotional moment for the Terps. But, there is a large question at hand — what does this win really mean?
Last season’s win in Austin proved to mean little more than a glimpse of what could’ve been.
Injuries to both quarterbacks that played this Saturday crushed any momentum that was being built. So too did other injuries on both sides of the ball.
The good news on this Saturday was that Maryland’s quarterbacks escaped this one without injury. Kasim Hill, who came on for injured Tyrell Pigrome, looked every part of the star people expected last season.
He finished this game completing 17 of 29 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Pigrome was 3 of 4 for 22 yards in his limited action.
Maryland found a balanced run game too, with no one rushing for more than 31 of the 143 yards put up as a team.
The Terps defense gave up plenty of yardage — 405 to be exact — but they also found ways to make positive contributions when it mattered most. There were the three turnovers created. There were the seven tackles for loss as well.
Maryland didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher either.
All of those were positive developments for a defense that badly needed to prove it could contribute positively to the 2018 season.
Kicker Joseph Petrino hit a pair of short field goals as well
Many are adding all of that up and spinning tails of Maryland’s rise. There’s no doubt that this win and the two over Texas in this series are important, but they aren’t the end all, be all that some writers are making it out to be.
Then there is the factor that far too many of my fellow brethren in the sports writing world care about the AP Poll and Coaches Poll. Clearly Texas is not one of the 25 best teams in America and the Longhorns probably should never have been thought of that highly to begin with.
So, what does it really mean? For me, this win is telling in that Maryland has become a program capable of playing with teams that are hanging around the fringes of quality.
One could chalk last season up to a fluke or to Texas just getting used to Herman and his style. But this second win? It showed that Maryland isn’t afraid of the name brand in front of them — they can play with anyone on their best day.
Ultimately, this win will be looked back on as a promising start and unless they do something with it, that’s all it will be.
There are still 11 more games to help define the 2018 season.
How the Terps build from this start and work going forward will matter way more than what took place on the 1st of September.
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