Terps Beat FIU Despite Lack of 3rd Down Stops

Maryland was able to hold off FIU today despite allowing 12 third-down conversions

When a team allows 12 third-down conversions in one game, it usually ends in a loss. Saturday afternoon, the Terps were able to win despite their defensive failures on third down, defeating the FIU Golden Panthers 42-28.

Quarterback Danny O'Brien received his first collegiate start, and was very impressive in the Maryland victory. The redshirt freshman was 18-27 for 250 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions against a staunch FIU defense, and the quarterback's maturity and leadership were not lost on head coach Ralph Friedgen. “I was really impressed with his poise,” Friedgen said. “He never got rattled, as a freshman [who was] playing his first game against a pretty good defense. You'd think he was at least a little bit nervous, but I never got that from him.”

Maryland fell to an early deficit, as FIU running back Jeremiah Harden pounded in a two yard run to cap off a 13 play, 64 yard drive late in the first quarter. The Terps tied it up early in the second quarter when O'Brien found LaQuan Williams in the back of the endzone on a beautiful pass and catch for a 9-yard score, and then took the lead three minutes later on an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown from Tony Logan. "We had a mistake on special teams where we just didn't tackle,” FIU head coach Mario Cristobal said. “[Logan]'s a real good player, and if you miss a player like that, he is going to make you pay the price. He's got 4.3 speed, and he really made us pay on that return."

The Terps were able to use big plays to score on numerous occasions. Including Logan's punt return, Maryland had four touchdowns on plays of over 55 yards. Da'Rel Scott ran for a 56-yard touchdown, Torrey Smith caught a 68-yard touchdown pass, and Davin Meggett took a run downfield 76 yards for a score.

Maryland was outgained 472-419 by the Golden Panthers, but FIU had 98 plays on offense compared to the Terps' 55. FIU starting quarterback Wesley Carroll, a transfer from Mississippi State, was 35-58 for 355 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Harden ran the ball 17 times for 52 yards, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had 7 catches for 72 yards, and slot receiver Greg Ellingson caught the ball 6 times for 93 yards.

Maryland's next game is Saturday, October 2, at home against Duke. Kick-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET.

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