They might have stumbled a bit in the first half of tonights season opener, but the Maryland Terrapins behind a strong offensive effort of Keon Lattimore( 106 yards, 3 touchdowns) as the Terps rolled over I-AA opponent Villanova 31-14.
Maryland who struggled to get on the scoreboard during the first quarter and even had an early scare as starting quarterback Jordan Steffy headed to locker room with cramps.
While Steffy was in the locker room second string quarterback Chris Turner finished the series which included a 57-yard touchdown drive that Lattimore concluded with an 18-yard run for a 24-7 lead. Terps Head Coach Ralph Friedgen was impressed with Steffy’s hard nosed play and ability to come back and lead the Terps.
“I thought he looked very comfortable. He played the way he has been practicing. He’s different now. I don’t know if he’s more comfortable with me now or what, but I see a lot more confidence. He’s not afraid to offer me suggestions on the sideline, and I kind of like that. He tells me what he saw and I think he’ll continue to get better because this game was a real confidence-builder,” said Friedgen.
Many fans looked to the field when Steffy went down and expected Josh Portis to enter the game, but as the media found out an hour before game time, Portis would not be playing for a major reason.
Portis would be ruledineligible for the rest of the season for what he called a “mistake” that violated the University’s Code of Academic Integrity, which outlines procedures regarding cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Portis, a sophomore, will also lose this season of eligibility.
“Kids make mistakes,” said Friedgen, who declined to elaborate on the situation. “This is no indication of what type of person he is. I think he’s a great character kid who, like all of us, makes mistakes at times. Right now Josh is hurting. I wish him the best of luck and we will stand behind him as a team and hope he can right his mistakes.”
While the Terps stole the show from the Wildcats, they still hung with the overpowering Terps for a good portion of the game and have a decent future behind Antwon Young, who went 17-for-28 for 176 yards in his first college start. The biggest demise for the Wildcats tonight was their rushing game. The Wildcats finished with 11 yards rushing on 22 carries. Lattimore carried the ball 21 times for the Terps the entire night… you won’t defeat many Division I teams when one player from the opposing team carries the ball almost as many times as your entire team. The performance by Young did impress Villanova Head Coach Andy Talley.
“I was impressed with the way Antwon Young played. He is continuing to grow and I was really happy for him. I thought he did a great job of getting the ball to the right people. He made the necessary reads when they blitzed us. He threw some great passes and he did all of that without a running game. We knew that coming into the game tonight that we would have to throw the ball down the field a lot,” said Talley.
Keon Lattimore surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards on his second touchdown run of the night and became the first Terrapin to rush for three touchdowns in one game since Mario Merrills did it against Temple on Oct. 8, 2005.