Getty Images

Maryland true freshman scores TDs via run, catch and pass on first three touches in win over Texas

2 Comments

Jeshaun Jones certainly knows how to make a debut.

In Saturday’s opener that featured heartbreaking tributes to a fallen teammate, Maryland rode that emotional wave all the way to a 34-29 upset of No. 23 Texas.  It marked the second straight opener in which the Terrapins upended the Longhorns.

Playing a huge role in the win was Jones, who as a true freshman scored three touchdowns in his collegiate debut.  Not only that, but the touchdowns came by three different means — a 28-yard run, a 65-yard reception and a 20-yard pass.  That trio of touchdowns came in the first 22 minutes of the game.

Not only that, but they came on the first three touches of Jones’ career.

Jones is the first freshman with a rushing, passing and receiving touchdown in the same game since Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in October of 2012.  The future Heisman Trophy winner didn’t, though, do it in his first-ever game or on his first three touches.

Jones, meanwhile, finished his freshman debut with two receptions for 73 yards; one carry for 28 yards; completed his only pass for 20 yards and a touchdown; one false start penalty; and one drawn pass interference call on the Longhorns.

A three-star member of the Terps’ 2018 recruiting class, the Fort Meyers, Fla., product was the No. 118 wide receiver in the country on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.

After extended weather delay, Maryland sends No. 23 Texas home with loss

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
5 Comments

For the second year in a row, Maryland (1-0) is starting the year with a win against Texas (0-1). The Terrapins managed to regroup after blowing a big first-half lead and weathered a nearly 90-minute weather delay in the fourth quarter to close out a 34-29 win against the No. 23 Longhorns.

Turnover issues popped up at the most unfortunate of times for Texas. After Maryland kicked a field goal to take a five-point lead, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger was picked off on the second play of the ensuing possession. Fortunately for Texas, the defense stood tall and forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. But on that next offensive series, Tre Watson fumbled the football after a pass completion for a six-yard gain on third-and-three. After video review, the ball was awarded to Maryland.

Maryland had a 24-7 lead in the first half, but Texas stormed into the locker room with momentum after cutting the lead to 24-22. As things seemed to settle down after the break, Texas took their first lead of the game on a Kyle Porter touchdown run in the third quarter. Maryland would answer with a lengthy 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. Tayon Fleet-Davis ran for a 17-yard score to grab the lead back for Maryland, but it was at this point Mother Nature decided to interrupt the game with Maryland up 31-29 early in the fourth quarter.

The weather delay clocked in at 1 hour 26 minutes and the game resumed with Maryland kicking off to the Longhorns after their go-ahead touchdown. The break did not hurt Maryland, as the defense made some plays, including a game-clinching interception by Antoine Brooks as Texas was moving down the field in the final minutes of the game. Texas was just 3-of-15 on third downs and Texas had three turnovers in the game, while Maryland was without a turnover all game long.

Kasim Hill led the Maryland offense with 222 passing yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Jeshaun Jones had a grand debut as well, becoming the first FBS freshman to score a touchdown with a reception, run, and a pass in the same game since Marcus Mariota did it in 2012.

Ehlinger was 21-of-39 for 263 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

Say what you will about the current state of the Maryland program and all that has happened, but the players wearing the Maryland football uniforms absolutely deserved to enjoy the moment with a victory over the Longhorns once again.

Maryland will be on the road next week at Bowling Green. The Terrapins will play their first true home game in Week 3, against Temple. Texas will play their home opener next week with a game against Tulsa.

Texas swings momentum in their favor, but Maryland holds 24-22 lead at half

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
2 Comments

Maryland looked to be in prime position to make it a second straight year with a season-opening victory over the Texas Longhorns, but the Terrapins have to regroup after letting a 24-7 lead nearly vanish before halftime. Texas missed on a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute of the half after a late touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger to Collin Johnson. Maryland leads Texas, 24-22, at halftime.

After a tumultuous offseason leading up to the start of the new season, Maryland’s football program finally had a chance to get on the field in uniform and pay tribute to Jordan McNair, who passed away during offseason training. On the first play of the game, Maryland’s offense took the field with 10 players and left an open spot at McNair’s position, right guard, before taking an intentional delay of game penalty. Texas head coach Tom Herman declined the penalty in a show of good sportsmanship.

Maryland wide receiver Jeshaun Jones has rushed for a 28-yard touchdown and tossed a 20-yard touchdown. He is the first FBS freshman to accomplish that trifecta since Marcus Mariota did it with Oregon. Of course, Mariota was a quarterback and not a wide receiver.

Texas was called for five penalties in the first half, including a targeting call on Gary Johnson that resulted in an ejection. But while things did not start well for Texas, the Longhorns chipped away and cut into a 24-7 deficit. A Keontay Ingram touchdown run in the second quarter seemed to help turn the game in favor of Texas. The defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back quickly, but Texas had to punt away. The punt pinned Maryland down against its own goal line, which led to a free two points for the defense when Maryland botched a handoff on third down.

The safety made it a one-score game and Texas, and the Longhorns continued to capitalize on the safety by scoring a late touchdown in the final minute of the half.

We’ll see if Maryland can get it back together or if Texas can keep this going after a break in the action.

Record number of players on NFL’s official early-entry list for 2018 draft

Getty Images
1 Comment

If it seemed to you like there were an inordinate number of early cannonballers jumping into the draft pool, you were correct.

Four days after the Jan. 15 deadline, the NFL Friday announced that 106 players have been granted special eligibility for the April draft.  That sets a new record for early entrants, breaking the mark of 98 set in 2014.  The past two seasons, there were 95 and 96 in 2017 and 2016, respectively.  In 2015, there were just 74.

The SEC was hit hardest by attrition with 26 players leaving early, although the ACC wasn’t far behind at 24.  The Pac-12 was next among the Power Five conferences with 17, followed by the Big 12’s 13 and the Big Ten’s 11.

Among Group of Five leagues, Conference USA lost the most with four.  The Mountain West saw three go early, with the AAC (two), MAC (one) and Sun Belt (one) coming next in line.  There were also two non-FBS players who left early, as well as two from Notre Dame.

As far as individual schools go, there were three that lost six apiece — Florida State, LSU and Texas.  Alabama lost five, while Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC all lost four apiece.  Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Stanford and Tennessee were on the losing end of three players each.

In addition to the 106 granted special eligibility — they’ll be listed at the end — the NFL also granted eligibility to 13 players who the league writes “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements.” Those players are listed below:

» Jordan Akins, TE, UCF
» Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
» Kyle Allen, QB, Houston
» Will Clapp, C, LSU
» Terrell Edmunds, DB, Virginia Tech
» Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson
» Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
» Sam Jones, G, Arizona State
» Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
» Brian O’Neill, T, Pittsburgh
» Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
» Tre'Quan Smith, WR, UCF
» Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Courtesy of the NFL, below is the complete list of 106 players who have been granted special eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft:

» Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
» Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE, Toledo
» Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville
» Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
» Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
» Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
» Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
» Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
» Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
» Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
» Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
» Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
» Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
» Geron Christian, T, Louisville
» Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
» Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
» Vosean Crumbie, DB, Nevada
» J.J. Dallas, DB, Louisiana-Monroe
» James Daniels, C, Iowa
» Sam Darnold, QB, USC
» Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
» Michael Dickson, P, Texas
» Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
» DeShon Elliott, DB, Texas
» Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
» Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine
» Nick Gates, T, Nebraska
» Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
» Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State
» Rasheem Green, DT, USC
» Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
» Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
» Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh
» Holton Hill, DB, Texas
» Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
» Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn
» Mike Hughes, DB UCF
» Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
» Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
» Ryan Izzo, TE, FSU
» Donte Jackson, DB, LSU
» J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland
» Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
» Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
» Derwin James, DB, FSU
» Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
» Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
» Courtel Jenkins, DT, Miami
» Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
» Ronald Jones, RB, USC
» John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
» Arden Key, LB, LSU
» Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
» Du’Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
» Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
» Chase Litton, QB, Marshall
» Tavares Martin, WR, Washington State
» Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
» Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
» Tarvarus McFadden, DB, Florida State
» R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
» Reginald McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
» Quenton Meeks, DB, Stanford
» Kolton Miller, T, UCLA
» D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
» Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State
» Nick Nelson, DB, Wisconsin
» Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami
» Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
» Dwayne Orso-Bacchus, T, Oklahoma
» Da’Ron Payne, NT, Alabama
» Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
» Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida
» Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
» D.J. Reed, DB, Kansas State
» Justin Reid, DB, Stanford
» Will Richardson, T, NC State
» Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
» Austin Roberts, TE, UCLA
» Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss
» Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
» Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
» Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
» Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
» Andre Smith, LB, UNC
» Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
» Van Smith, DB, Clemson
» Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss
» Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
» Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
» Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
» Maea Teuhema, T, Southeastern Louisiana
» Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
» Kevin Toliver, DB, LSU
» Travonte Valentine, NT, LSU
» Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
» Vita Vea, NT, Washington
» Mark Walton, RB, Miami
» Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
» Chris Warren, RB, Texas
» Toby Weathersby, T, LSU
» Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pittsburgh
» JoJo Wicker, DT, Arizona State
» Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State
» Connor Williams, T, Texas
» Eddy Wilson, DT, Purdue

Illinois grad transfer Tré Watson lands at Maryland

Getty Images
1 Comment

As we tidy up from a day of opening presents and other such Christmas delights, how about we clean up some transfer news for good measure?

In late November, Tré Watson took to Twitter to announce that he would be transferring from Illinois.  Late last week, the linebacker took to the same social media website to announce that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Maryland.

As a graduate transfer, Watson is eligible to play immediately for the Terps in what will be his final season of eligibility.

In nine games this past season — he missed three because of an injury — Watson totaled 65 tackles, good for tied for third on the team. The linebacker’s 4.5 tackles for loss were tied for second on the Fighting Illini as well.

Last season, Watson earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after starting eight of 12 games and finishing second on the team in tackles with 102.

Watson becomes the fourth FBS player, and third from a Power Five program, to transfer to Maryland since early September, joining defensive lineman Byron Cowart (Auburn), Marcus Lewis (Florida State) and Rayshad Lewis (Utah State).  Cowart will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 as a grad transfer, while the USU Lewis transfer, the son of Miami Hurricane legend Ray Lewis, and the FSU Lewis can play in 2018 after sitting out 2017, leaving them with three and two years of eligibility remaining, respectively.