Pigrome’s three TDs lead Maryland past No. 23 Texas
AUSTIN, Texas — In a game of momentum swings created by big plays by both teams, the difference in Maryland’s 51-41 win over No. 23 Texas on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was the two things the Terrapins could control — keeping their poise and running the football.
The wild game featured three special teams’ touchdowns, two of those by the Longhorns, and another score by Texas on an interception return.
To offset the unexpected, Tyrrell Pigrome passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 64 yards and another score for Maryland (1-0) before suffering a knee injury late in the third quarter.
With Pigrome out of the game in the fourth quarter, true freshman backup Kasim Hill led a scoring drive that allowed the Terrapins a 44-34 lead. Hill converted a third-and-19 pass before running 3 yards for the crucial touchdown.
“There was a lot of back and forth,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said. “Every time is got close, out guys responded really, really well. That’s what it takes. To be a team that’s going to compete for championships, you’ve got to be able to do that on the road.”
Ty Johnson added 132 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries for the Terrapins, who outgained Texas 482-473 despite running just 58 plays to 84 for the Longhorns. Maryland enjoyed a 263-98 advantage in rushing yards.
“It was one of the craziest games I have been in,” Johnson said. “Coach Durkin said all week that we would face adversity on the road and that when adversity hits us we need to keep driving and not to worry about anything. This is a huge win. A lot of people wanted to see what we could do.”
Texas quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 375 yards and two touchdowns and ran three yards for another score in a losing cause as the Longhorns opened the Tom Herman coaching era in Austin with a thud.
Buechele connected with 10 different receivers in the game, but was sacked five times as the Longhorns struggled to run the ball despite returning four starters on the offensive line.
“We moved the ball well but we made crucial mistakes and penalties that cost us the chance to grab the momentum of the game,” Buechele said. “We have to learn what we did wrong and move on. We have a good mindset — we are cocky but not arrogant — and we will keep that attitude going forward.”
Maryland put the game out of reach via a 12-yard TD run by Jake Funk with 2:08 remaining and snapped a 17-game losing streak to ranked opponents.
Pigrome ran 25 yards for Maryland’s first touchdown, hit D.J. Moore for a 20-yard score and found Tavion Jacobs on a 46-yard TD pass in the first half. The Terrapins also got a 71-yard blocked field goal return by Antoine Brooks for a score while building a 27-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Texas’ two touchdowns in the first half came from its defense, special teams and defensive back Holton Hill. Hill was in the right place at the right time twice on Maryland’s mistakes, intercepting a tipped pass on the Terrapins’ first drive and scooting untouched for a 31-yard TD return.
In the second quarter, Texas defensive tackle Poona Ford blocked a field goal attempt by Maryland’s Adam Greene and the ball bounced right into Hill’s hands before he set sail for a 65-yard TD return that kept the Longhorns in the game.
Greene converted a 26-yard field goal late in the half to push the Terrapins to a 30-14 advantage at halftime.
Maryland outgained Texas 271-171 in the first half and owned a whopping 167-28 advantage in rushing yards. The Longhorns had five penalties in the first two quarters — three which directly stopped drives — and Buechele was sacked three times.
Texas crawled back to within 30-27 in the third quarter on a 23-yard TD pass from Buechele to Armanti Foreman and a 91-yard punt return touchdown by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. But the Terrapins answered on a 40-yard TD run by Johnson to stall the Texas comeback.
Buechele cut the Maryland lead to 37-34 with his 3-yard TD keeper near the end of the third quarter, setting the table for a furious fourth quarter.
Any thought of a resurgence at Texas was dispelled by the Longhorns’ uneven performance on Saturday against a Maryland team that was picked to finish fifth in the Big 10’s Eastern Division. But Herman said there was no sign of doubt or here-we-go-again from his team after the loss.
“We’ve got to do better,” Herman said. “We are our own worst enemy right now. We responded in the right mental and attitudinal way but the execution and the self-inflicted wounds are things that are difficult to recover from, if not impossible.”
NOTES: The Longhorns’ 2017 roster features five players whose fathers also lettered in football at Texas (reserve QB Josh Covey, LB Breckyn Hager, RB Kirk Johnson, WR Collin Johnson and LS Michael David Poujol). ... Maryland had been outscored 102-0 in three previous meetings with Texas. ... The Longhorns had no defense or special teams’ TDs in 2016; it took just 1:20 of the game to score their first defensive touchdown this season