Maryland defeat Rutgers to Book themselves a Spot in the College Football Bowl Game

Written By:  Merrissa Vault

(Photo Credit: SaJorden Miller/ The SkyBoat)

College Park, MD— Whether it was the energy revolving around Senior Day, or Maryland’s Darth Vader styled uniforms making an appearance at Capital One Field, I’m not sure, but nonetheless, the Force was definitely with Maryland from the beginning to the end. Both teams surely were not oblivious to being the “other” BIG 10 match up happening today but even so, the teams put on a good show for their fans as they played in potentially their last game of the season. The Maryland Terrapins with a record of (2-6) in the BIG 10 conference and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights with a record of (0-8), played for their team and their seniors in their final debut.

Maryland Head Coach, DJ Durkin, made it blatantly clear that it was all about the seniors all week long. In the post-game interview Durkin stated, “It was about the seniors today. We made no bones about it.”

That message undoubtedly made its way to the players. Junior linebacker Jermaine Carter, Jr. when asked on the subject stated, “We knew we had to go out there and get the win for the seniors today.” Rutgers Head Coach, Chris Ash, also made it known that this last game was for the seniors.

From the start of the game, Maryland proved to be the dominant force. 55 seconds into the game Maryland running back Kenneth Goins rushed for 46 yards, straight into the end zone. After an unsuccessful drive by Rutgers, it appeared early on as if Maryland was going to take control of the rest of the game. The Terps picked up another touchdown to make the score14-0, but Rutgers found the end zone after a long drive to put themselves on the scoreboard and cut the lead to14-7. Maryland’s defense remained solid and their offense continued to pound the Rutgers defense to pick up another touchdown right before the half.

In the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights were the first ones on the board. Running back Justin Goodwin rushed 28 yards down the field for a touchdown to bring the score to 21-13. The Terps put an end to their scoring drive very quickly with a blocked field goal and less than two minutes later, senior running back Andrew Stefanelli found himself in the end zone for his first career touchdown to increase the lead to 28-13.

After Stefanelli’s touchdown, Rutgers appeared to struggle the remainder of the game. Maryland’s defensive line was a force to be reckoned with and Rutgers struggled to complete third-down conversions. Maryland commanded the rest of the game and the BIG 10 match up concluded with a final score of 31-13, making Maryland bowl eligible and improving their overall record to 6-6. Senior quarterback, Perry Ellis was asked his thoughts on going to a bowl game.

“It’s very important, being the last year,” Hills said. “Just getting an extra game with the University of Maryland, it feels great. It means so much, just getting an extra game. You’re not given anything after that, so just getting another one with your teammates, your brothers, it’s something special”.

Emotions were high after the game. For Rutgers, this game ended their season and their seniors’ collegiate career. Coach Ash spoke about the seniors after the game.
“I’ll go ahead and start by just thanking our seniors. We have a tremendous group of individuals that have helped us in this last year, provided leadership and helped us build a foundation. I’m just feeling for them right now.”

Rutgers junior defensive back, Saquan Hampton, was then asked about the emotions in the locker room after today’s game. “Obviously everybody isn’t feeling up right now” he said, “but we just have to come into the offseason and work hard and get better. We’ve been improving, so we just have to take everything to the offseason”

With that being said Coach Ash plans to continue to instill belief in his players, develop his players and go out and recruit in these next few months.
For Maryland, it doesn’t get much better than a win on senior day and a one game extension of their season.

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