Two interceptions. One fumble. A missed chip shot. Sure, that first half probably could not have gone much worse. And yet the Terps are only down 6-0 to visiting William & Mary at halftime in their season opener at Byrd Stadium.
Maryland turned the ball over three times in its first two possessions, including a tipped interception by true freshman Perry Hills on his second career collegiate pass early in the first quarter. His second interception came on third and long, when Hills got pressured in the backfield and, on his way down, threw it right into the hands of William & Mary safety Brian Thompson.
True freshman Albert Reid later fumbled in Tribe territory. He earned the starting running back spot earlier in the week, and had looked solid on that drive with two six-yard rushes.
With 13:43 left in the second quarter, the Terps took over on their own 30 and marched well into the Tribe red zone. Hills was 4 of 5 for 43 yards before he overthrew a wide-open Devonte Campbell in the end zone. True freshman Brad Craddock then shanked a 25-yarder wide left.
Hills finished the first half 10 of 16 for 90 yards and those two interceptions. Leak leads all receivers with three catches and 37 yards. Justus Pickett has five rushes for 18 yards.
The Terps’ defense has kept them in this game, even if the offense mustered little more than a peep so far. Preseason all-American Joe Vellano has seven tackles and an interception, but cornerback Dexter McDougle was flagged for two pass interference calls early in the game, one of which directly led to the Tribe’s first field goal, a 30-yarder by Drake Kuhn. Kuhn tacked on a 22-yard field goal with 2:56 left in the first quarter.
The Tribe have just 88 yards of offense at halftime, including 38 passing yards.
But as the Terps exited the field for halftime, the Byrd Stadium crowd showered plenty of boos on them. After all, Maryland’s drive sequence went as follows: interception, three-and-out, interception, fumble, missed field goal, three-and-out, halftime.
Not exactly a promising start for a squad desperate for a turnaround.