Maryland manhandles FIU in first road trip under D.J. Durkin
Panthers fall to 0-2 after consecutive losses to Big Ten teams
MIAMI – Maryland senior quarterback Perry Hills threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns in Friday night's 41-14 win against Florida International as the Terrapins became the second Big Ten Conference team to rout the Panthers on their home field.
The Terrapins (2-0) won their first road game under first-year head coach D.J. Durkin, notching a convincing victory in a battleground recruiting state.
"It's not easy getting road wins in college football at all," Durkin said after the game.
Maryland got off to a quick start, taking a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 23-yard field goal by junior kicker Adam Greene and a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by junior linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr.
FIU junior quarterback Alex McGough gave way to redshirt freshman Maurice Alexander, who spelled him for most of the second half after McGough was injured on the botched play.
McGough had an interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter -- his fourth pick through two games -- and has yet to throw a touchdown this season. He finished the evening 5 of 10 for 39 yards.
FIU head coach Ron Turner said he was disappointed in his team's offensive performance.
"We had way too many opportunities," Turner said.
The Panthers (0-2) trailed 17-0 in the second quarter when junior running back Alex Gardner gave FIU its first score of the night. Gardner broke through the defensive line for 55 yards, setting up his 4-yard touchdown run on the next play.
"We should be putting out more points as an offense because we're experienced," Gardner said. "Everyone's back, so it's frustrating, but the great thing about sports is that we get another chance."
Maryland took a 31-7 halftime lead and coasted in the second half, going scoreless in the fourth quarter and giving up a 4-yard touchdown pass from Alexander to redshirt freshman wide receiver Austin Maloney with 9:49 left in the game.
"We need to learn how to finish games and keep the throttle down," Durkin said.
While the Terrapins are undefeated, FIU is winless after two games for the first time since 2013. The Panthers travel to Massachusetts next weekend for their first road trip of the season.
It was a homecoming of sorts for 13 Maryland players who hail from Florida, including junior cornerback and return specialist Will Likely, who was Palm Beach County's player of the year in 2011.
Likely had a relatively quiet night on special teams, returning one punt for 12 yards. But his impact was felt on defense, recording five total tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss.
Durkin, who led the Gators to a bowl win after former Florida coach Will Muschamp stepped down, acknowledged the importance of winning in fertile recruiting territory.
"Florida's an important place for us to recruit," he said. "We got a lot of guys in that locker room that are from this state that I know were excited about playing here and, obviously, getting a win here."
Durkin said Maryland coaches were recruiting in the area the day before the game.
"It's always going to be a good place for us to recruit," he said.
The Terrapins will get another chance to play in front of coveted Florida athletes as they face Central Florida in Orlando next weekend.
FIU fell to 0-11 against Big Ten teams, including last week's 34-13 loss to Indiana.
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