Penn State steamrolls Maryland in regular season finale

Written by Merrissa Vault
College Park, MD–Senior day, the last and final day you step foot on the field that you committed years of sweat, blood, and tears to. For Maryland (Overall: 4-8; Big Ten: 2-7), where postseason play was already out of the picture, Saturdays game was for pride and recognition of the 19 seniors who invested so much into the growth of the program. Unfortunately, the memorable day took a gruesome spiral downwards as Saquon Barkley and the #12 Penn State Nittany Lions (Overall: 10-2; Big Ten: 7-2) brought the lion’s den to College Park and annihilated the Terrapins 66-3.

Quarterback, Trace McSorley came out hungry in the first quarter going 10-14 in completions, totaling 93 yards, while adding 39 rushing yards. Doak Walker award finalist and Heisman watch list candidate, Barkley went to work racking up 24 yards and bulldozing any Terrapins in his way. Max Bortenschlager, less effective than usual struggled in the pocket and went 4-7, accumulating 32 yards. DJ Moore recorded 22 yards and Ty Johnson a measly 5 yards. It wasn’t soon after the whistle that the Nittany Lions found themselves up 14-0 before the 2nd quarter with touchdowns by Tommy Stevens and Trace McSorley.

The momentum from Penn State stayed on course the remainder of the half. Any time the Lions stepped foot into their red zone a touchdown was inevitable, which was where Penn State found themselves to start the 2nd quarter. Inside the 4 yard line, McSorley found Gesicki in the corner for a one handed touchdown grab to raise the stakes 21-0.

Maryland struggled to maintain composure committing costly fouls, along with their inability to keep a grasp on the ball. Multiple mistakes by Maryland resulted in the Nittany Lion’s Gesicki picking up his 2nd touchdown pass of the night (28-0).

Little sparks of success from Maryland gave a little bit of hope to the Terrapin fans but they were short lived as Penn State continued to tear away at the Terps. A little bit over 2 minutes before half, kicker Tyler Davis added to the 28-0 lead with a 30 yard field goal attempt (31-0).

The second half was just as agonizing to watch-if you were a Terps fan. While Trace McSorley was retired for Tommy Stevens, Saquon Barkley remained on the gridiron and was cutthroat rushing for two touchdowns (45-0). Unsuccessful offensive drives by Maryland put the ball back in the Lion’s hands and Stevens found his first passing touchdown of the day to Tom Pancoast (52-0).

The highlight of the 3rd quarter for Maryland was that they were able to make their mark on the scoreboard and avoid a shutout thanks to kicker, Henry Darmstadter successfully making a 42 yard field goal (52-3).

However, Penn State refused to make it easy on Maryland and continued their relentless assault. Within a 5 minute span of each other Stevens scored back to back touchdowns to take on the definitive lead of 66-3 and shut down the Terp’s 2017 season.

After tonight’s big win Penn State and Senior tight end Mike Gesicki are extremely optimistic about the future:

“I think all season it showed it but I think today- finishing it off with an exclamation point in the way that we did–it’s convincing for us moving forward and I think it shows we’re one of the top teams in the country.”

On the other end, Coach Durkin couldn’t state more than the obvious after the loss:

“I think it was pretty obvious that it was a poor performance. Poor execution and it was a poorly coached team that went out there. We didn’t play well. A season of adversity got to us and it wasn’t our best effort that we put forth.”

Despite the loss a couple of Maryland’s key players had a record breaking day. DJ Moore finished the season with 80 catches breaking the Maryland single-season record and recorded 2,027 career reception yards, becoming the fifth player in Maryland history to achieve 2,000 career receiving yards.

Jermaine Carter, Jr. led the team with 90 tackles on the season, marking his third straight season leading the team in the category.

Senior Linebacker Jermaine Carter reflected on ending his career with a tough loss:

“You know, it’s difficult but I still have memories of going up to Michigan in the Big House and getting a win there, going to Penn State and getting a win there…I want the same for my younger guys and I hope they can accomplish that next season.”

The Maryland Terrapins will officially end their season 4-8 after playing arguably the toughest schedule in the country. With a huge loss in Jermaine Carter and the possibility of DJ Moore declaring for the NFL draft Maryland has a lot of work and plenty time to prepare for the 2018 season.

(Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmahn / The SkyBoat)

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