The 1st quarter started off quiet for both teams, Maryland was the first to break through early with a 12-yard pass from Bortenschlager to Moore. Moore recorded his 100th career reception and succeeded Stefon Diggs on the all-time career TD receptions the play before. Northwestern struggled down the field with inconsistent plays on the run and in the air, but were able to get close enough to punch in a field goal before the end of the quarter.
Maryland’s offensive line completely disappeared at the start of the 2nd quarter, which resulted in the ball back in the hands of Clayton Thorson who soon found his rhythm moving downfield. After three consecutive rushing attempts to the goal line, Justin Jackson finally broke through for the Wildcat’s first touchdown of the game(10-7). 3 minutes later Bortenschlager found his go-to man, Moore deep for a 52 yard reception (14-10).
The Terrapin defense also decided to crumble as Thorson began to dismantle them. Thorson found 6 different receivers down field, and 75 yards later Maryland opened a huge showing of the endzone for Thorson to waltz in for an 18 yard rushing touchdown (14-17). Less than two minutes later and after two incomplete passes by Bortenschlager, Thorson found Flynn Nagel and the end zone to extend their lead going into halftime (24-14).
The second half was just an extended version of what the Terrapin defense showcased in the first. They Terp’s defense was walked all over in the front line and the backfield coverage was nonexistent. Moore continued to be the only Terrapin productive in the offensive attack.
“He always answers the call and comes to play every week.” Coach DJ Durkin’s thoughts on the skilled wide receiver.
Moore had a career day catching 12 passes, 210 receiving yards, and extended his reception streak to 27 consecutive games-longest in Big Ten.
The remainder of the 3rd quarter Thorson and the Northwestern offense continued to move down the field. The Maryland defense remained solid in that series and held Northwestern to a field goal attempt (27-14). Bortenschlager was later able to find someone other than Moore in the endzone. Taivon Jacobs recorded his 2nd touchdown of the season (27-21). Little did Maryland know, that would be their last effective drive.
The last 15 minutes were a nightmare for the terps. Their defense continued to be punished. The defensive line allowed 84 yards rushing in the 4th quarter. Coach DJ Durkin attributed the Wildcat’s successful offense to the slow tempo that their defense was playing at, that allowed for the runs and routes to develop underneath.
Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr simply stated, “We have to be better tacklers, we didn’t do a good job today tackling and that led to big plays.”
The wildcats were able to tag on field goal around the 12th minute to bring the score (30-21). As if the Terps luck couldn’t get any worse, middle of the quarter Bortenschlager went down after a hard tackle grasping his left shoulder. Running back, Ty Johnson filled the quarterback role while Bortenschlager was being evaluated. 4th string quarterback, Caleb Henderson, began to warm up on the sidelines as well.
Wide Receiver DJ Moore commented, “Yea [It was scary] because I had seen him slide when he landed on his shoulder.”
Fortunately for the Terps the curse that seems to be following around the quarterbacks was not casted tonight and Bortenschlager made his way back onto the gridiron to replace Johnson, but soon turned the ball over on 4th down back to the Wildcats.
Northwestern 4 minutes later found their 5th touchdown of the night as the Terps opened up a gaping hole for him to just cruise through, and that was all she wrote for the Terrapins (37-21).
Maryland has a lot to work on in preparation for next Saturday’s game against No.7 Wisconsin. The Terp’s running game has been shut down the last two games. Ty Johnson recorded 20 yards of Maryland’s 85 total rushing yards, while Northwestern had 238 rushing yards on the night. Maryland’s defense needs to work on complete coverage across the field, and they need to figure out how to get the ball in the hands of other receivers than just DJ Moore.
Maryland now drops to 1-2 in the conference and is losing their grasp on qualifying for a bowl game. With a challenging second half of games left, Maryland will have to dig deep to remain eligible.