Terps Take on Longhorns to Start Season
Maryland Looks to Defeat Texas in Opener for Second Straight Year
Maryland opens its 126th season of football at noon Saturday at FedEx Field as it looks to pick up its second straight season-opening victory over the No. 23 Texas Longhorns. It marks Texas’ first trip to the East Coast to face the Terrapins since the teams played each other in College Park in 1960.
Maryland is dedicating its season to offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died in June, 15 days after collapsing at a team workout. Initiatives to honor McNair's life include wearing a “79” decal on helmets and a moment of silence prior to this weekend’s game.
“Our players did a tremendous job of focusing on each other, focusing on sticking together, continuing to think about, talk about and find different ways to play for Jordan,” interim head coach Matt Canada said in a press conference yesterday. “That’s something our entire program is doing, and we’re very proud of the way our players are handling that.”
Other storylines for the game include:
- The Terps have won eight consecutive season openers, and 12 of their last 13. In the eight-game streak, Maryland has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 21 points (38–17) and totaled at least 50 points in four straight games. The Terps are 1–7 all-time when opening the season against ranked opponents, with the lone victory coming last season in Austin.
- Maryland racked up 51 points in last season's upset victory over then-No. 23 Texas, marking its first victory against a ranked opponent since 2010 and its most points ever scored against a ranked opponent. The Longhorns allowed more than 30 points just once in its remaining 12 games. Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards on 12 carries and Tyrrell Pigrome was 9 for 12 with 175 yards and two touchdowns before going down with an injury in the third quarter. Then-true freshman Kasim Hill closed the game by completing all three passes and rushing for a touchdown.
- Maryland returns 97 percent of its total rushing yards from 2017, including those of senior Ty Johnson and junior Lorenzo Harrison III, who have combined for 3,134 rushing yards over the last two seasons. A first-down machine, Johnson has averaged 7.5 yards per carry on 282 career attempts while posting 14 rushing touchdowns. The Maryland rushing attack has averaged more than 160 yards per game in three straight seasons for the first time since 2001–03.