While the Maryland Terrapins' football team took to the field hosting their final home game of the season, they hoped to send off their seniors on a high note. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as expected.
Head coach Mike Locksley could not have been happy with how his team performed in the first quarter. On their first possession of the game, junior running back Javon Leake was able to rush the ball for 14 yards but fumbled after the tackle by Nebraska's senior defensive linemen Carlos Davis.
Things got even worse for the Terrapins after a couple of big mental mistakes by their special teams unit. At the 9:50 in the first quarter, the Cornhuskers punted the ball but the Terrapins were penalized for 15 yards after their freshman wide receiver Isaiah Hazel tried to leap over Nebraska's defenders. That play resulted in an automatic first down that led to a touchdown drive for Nebraska. A couple possessions later, Leake fumbled the ball again on a mishandled kickoff return.
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez led his team to three scoring drives, including his one-yard rushing touchdown. Their top running back Dedrick Mills was running all over the Terrapins with ease, gaining over 30 scrimmage yard and a touchdown in this quarter alone.
Maryland only had two first downs and punted the ball twice with no scoring possessions. Nebraska outpaced Maryland in yardage 162-49 and on the scoreboard 17-0 going into the second quarter.
Not only did the Terrapins' struggles continue, they had to use three quarterbacks in this quarter. Josh Jackson, Tyrrell Pigrome, and four-star recruit Lance LeGendre were left hobbling off the field with injuries.
One player that stood out for Maryland was freshman defensive back Nick Cross. He made one interception but also had a near-interception that was tipped in the air for a spectactular touchdown for Nebraska's top receiver JD Spielman. Despite allowing the score, he truly made his presence felt and has certainly got the attention of his coach.
The Cornhuskers' top three players on the offense could not be slowed down. Martinez completed 13-of-21 of his passes for 153 yards and scored three total touchdowns. Dedrick Mills rushed for 65 yards and a score. Junior receiver JD Spielman caught six passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind these are only the first half statistics.
Leake did not see the field for the remainder of the first half after his second fumble. The Terrapins' top receiver Dontay Demus caught only one pass for 12 yards but his lack of productiveness was a result of their struggling quarterback room.
Nebraska does not look like a team that is on a four-game losing streak. They went into half with a 34-0 lead, limiting Maryland to only 128 total yards and five completed passes at this point in the game.
As the Cornhusker made their way back on the field and with the game at hand, their head coach Scott Frost had a conservative gameplan to keep the clock winding down. No matter what they did, the Terrapins could not stop them. It was clear that Nebraska was going to run the ball for the remainder of the game but the lack of penetration from the Terrapins' defensive line has made it easy on the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska's freshman running back Rahmir Johnson handled the running back duties for the rest of the quarter. By the end of the quarter, he had 18 carries for 55 yards and scored the first rushing touchdown of his college career.
There is nothing good to be said about how the Terrapins performed in the third quarter. In their three possessions, they punted twice and turned it over on downs. Martinez was outstanding for Nebraska finishing the night with 194 passing yards, 94 rushing yards, and three total scores. With his team up 44-0, the team pulled Martinez out for the rest of the night and played freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey.
Fourth Quarter & Conclusion
Maryland's defense was confused by Nebraska's run-pass options the entire game. The Cornhuskers only threw the ball eight times in the second half, due to Maryland's inability to stop the run. McCaffrey came in for Nebraska and his team did not skip a beat with him under center. He finished the night rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown in the second half.
The future is bright for Nebraska, as McCaffrey and Rahmir Johnson capitalized on their opportunities as freshman. Their defense limited the Terrapins to three yards per carry before Javon Leake's 58-yard touchdown run. Last week, the Cornhuskers had only one tackle-for-loss against Wisconsin.
Mike Locksley is not having the season he was expecting. The issues for the Terrapins go way beyond just the quarterback position with inconsistent production across their roster. Leake had three fumbles on the night and Maryland's quarterbacks combined for 57 passing yards to finish the game. The Terrapins were held in check for only 206 total yards as they lose 54-7, extending their losing streak to six. Meanwhile, Nebraska's bowl hopes are still alive with the win.
Next week, the Maryland Terrapins will travel to East Lansing, Michigan to play the Michigan State Spartans in their final game of the 2019 season.