Last time between Minnesota and Maryland

The Gophers have a 1-3 all-time record against the Terrapins.

Nick Jungheim

Final:

Maryland 42, Minnesota 13

The Gophers’ second-ever visit to Maryland Stadium marked the start of what would become a four-game losing streak for the team as Minnesota dropped its first game of the season in blowout fashion.

Maryland burned the Gophers’ defense for big gains throughout the afternoon, racking up 432 yards on 51 plays on the way to a 42-13 victory. Minnesota fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and never cut that deficit to fewer than 11 points. The game was put out of reach for the Gophers when on the first drive of the second half Maryland linebacker Tre Watson intercepted quarterback Zack Annexstad and returned the pass for a touchdown, making the score 28-10.

After allowing 27 points over the season’s first three games, the Minnesota defense struggled to contain the Terrapins’ offense. On the first drive of the game, the Gophers suffered a significant loss when redshirt sophomore Antoine Winfield Jr. left the game with a foot injury that sidelined him the rest of the 2018 season. Before the injury, Winfield had made his presence known as a vital contributor to the defense, recording 10 solo tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Without Winfield’s speed in the secondary, Minnesota was unable to limit explosive plays from the Terrapins. Immediately following Winfield’s departure, running back Anthony McFarland Jr. opened the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run. Later in the first quarter, senior Ty Johnson added an 81-yard touchdown run. The Terrapins had three more long offensive touchdowns on the afternoon, on a 54-yard pass and runs of 64 and 21 yards.

The game would foreshadow the struggles Minnesota’s defense would have over the next five weeks, particularly against the run. Maryland averaged 8.5 yards per rush attempt on the afternoon. Johnson led the way with 123 yards on 11 carries and McFarland added 112 yards on six attempts.

In this year’s meeting, Maryland will not have the now-graduated Johnson. McFarland missed last week’s game against Indiana with an injury. In their absence, junior Javon Leake filled in at lead running back, amassing career-highs in carries (23) and yards (158).

Minnesota will have a full complement of running backs this season after redshirt seniors Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks missed last season’s meeting with injuries. Quarterback Tanner Morgan will get his first look at Maryland after serving as Annexstad’s backup during last year’s meeting. 

On defense, Winfield is back and is having a productive 2019 campaign with a career-high four interceptions, five passes defended and two sacks. Senior linebacker Kamal Martin who had seven tackles in the teams’ 2018 meeting is a game-time decision this week after suffering an injury against Rutgers.

Quotables from the game:

“I thought there was a lot of good and then a lot of bad,” head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters. “We were inconsistent in a lot of areas and when you are inconsistent on the road in the Big Ten, it’s going to be very difficult for you to win.”

“They have speed everywhere,” Fleck told reporters of Maryland’s offense. “They did a tremendous job of their game plan, executing it perfectly and we didn’t go a very good job with ours.”

“We knew it was going to be a tricky offense,” linebacker Thomas Barber told reporters. “Really that was just eyes and keys. If we mistook our keys just even for a split second as you saw, they could have some big runs.”