UCF cruises past injury-depleted Maryland in return after 23-day layoff
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Central Florida coach Scott Frost watched in horror as Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill twisted in agony on the field.
Though the first-quarter injury contributed heavily to the Knights’ 38-10 upset of the Terrapins on Saturday, the scene near the UCF sideline was tough to watch.
“I’m brokenhearted for them and Kasim,” Frost said. “Someone going down on the football field, that’s not what you want to see.”
Hill was scrambling on a third-down play when hit by Jamiyus Pittman and Chequan Burkett. The quarterback remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field.
Though it was apparent that something was amiss with Hill’s right leg, coach DJ Durkin provided no information afterward.
“I don’t have an update,” he said. “We’ll get him examined and find out more.”
The first-quarter mishap worked out nicely for the Knights (2-0) and miserably for the Terrapins, who came in undefeated and averaging 57 points a game.
“That certainly took the wind out of their sails,” Frost said.
Maryland (2-1) lost starter Tyrrell Pigrome in its season-opening win over Texas before turning to Hill, a true freshman with seemingly enough poise and talent to sufficiently fill the void. Hill finished off the Longhorns, helped beat Towson 63-17 and was 2 for 2 for 23 yards in this game before exiting.
He was replaced by sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who went 15 for 26 for 132 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 57-yard touchdown by Mike Hughes with 5:11 left.
Bortenschlager was also sacked five times.
Hill’s departure was simply too much for the Terrapins to take, and not just on offense. Maryland surrendered 428 yards, including 250 on the ground.
“We didn’t handle the situation very well,” linebacker Jermaine Carter said.
“How someone getting hurt on offense can affect our defense, I don’t know,” Durkin said.
Taj McGowan scored two touchdowns for the Knights, and McKenzie Milton went 18 for 30 for 178 yards in addition to running for 94 yards.
Coming off a three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma, the Knights used a 21-point run over the second and third quarters to take control against a team trying to adjust to its third different quarterback in three games.
“The guys are happy, but they’re not acting like they won the Super Bowl,” Frost said. “I think they kind of expected to win this game. They came out and played harder than the other team did and we executed better. They deserved to win.”
After Hill went down, the Terrapins kicked a field goal on the next play. Maryland then went nearly 32 minutes before scoring again late in the third quarter.
By that time, UCF was well on its way to victory and the majority of fans had already made their way to the exits.
It was the second victory for the Knights against a Big Ten school. The previous win — against nine defeats — came at Penn State in 2013.
McGowan finished with 33 yards on 12 carries, including touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards. The junior saw extensive action after starter Jawon Hamilton was injured on the Knights’ opening possession.
It was 14-3 in the third quarter when Miller ran 55 yards to the Maryland 20. Not long after that, the sophomore tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins.
Maryland’s DJ Moore caught a 20-yard touchdown throw from Bortenschlager to make it 21-10, but the Terps simply didn’t have the firepower to complete the comeback.
UCF: The Knights have enough talent to win games like this, even if Hill didn’t get hurt. UCF appears vastly improved in Frost’s second season. The evidence: Last year, the Knights lost in overtime at home to Maryland.
Maryland: The Terrapins appeared on their way to a big season, but now they’re using their third-string quarterback. Judging by his uneven performance, it’s painfully obvious why Bortenschlager started the season as third on the depth chart.
UCF hosts Memphis on Saturday, a game that was postponed earlier this month by Hurricane Irma.
Maryland opens Big Ten play at Minnesota on Saturday, a team that defeated the Terrapins in College Park last year.