PHOTOS: Maryland upsets Texas for second straight year

By Jake Russell

The Maryland Terrapins shocked the college football world last September when they handled the No. 23 Texas Longhorns, 51-41, in Austin.

Fast forward 364 days and the Terps were looking to do the same thing when they hosted 23rd-ranked Texas at FedEx Field Saturday afternoon in the second of a two-year home-and-home arrangement. This time, however, it would have to be under much different circumstances.

The program has faced heavy scrutiny over its treatment of players during workouts and practices following the heatstroke death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair in June. Maryland also opens its season with head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave while two investigations are ongoing. No one was really sure what to expect from this year’s team.

The players had two options: let the situation take them over and never fully recover or unite and play in the fashion McNair would want them to. Saturday’s end result shows they chose the latter.

The Terps opened the game with a tribute to McNair by lining up on offense with just 10 players, leaving a hole at right guard where McNair would have been stationed. The Terps held their stance until time ran off the play clock for a delay of game. In a classy gesture, Texas declined the penalty.

Maryland quickly turned its attention to the task at hand, putting together a six-play, 67-yard scoring drive in just over two minutes topped off by a 28-yard touchdown run by freshman Jeshaun Jones, who put his name on the map Saturday.

Jones added a 65-yard touchdown reception two drives later and a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Jones became the first true freshman to run, catch and throw for a touchdown in a game since Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2012.

Thanks in large part to Jones, Maryland stormed out to a 24-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The Longhorns mounted a comeback, cutting the lead to 24-22 by halftime, even taking a 29-24 lead late in the third. The Terps answered with a Tayon Fleet-Davis 17-yard touchdown run to go up 31-29 before an 86-minute weather delay interrupted the game.

Texas put up a fight but three forced turnovers by the Maryland defense in the final quarter sealed their fate, including an Antoine Brooks Jr. interception with 1:04 remaining that secured the 34-29 victory.

With that, the Terps upset the Longhorns for the second straight year. But this one meant more. The whole team displayed No. 79 stickers on every helmet. The team captains held a No. 79 jersey during the pregame coin toss. A No. 79 flag hung behind the bench, which offensive lineman Ellis McKennie proudly waved as he ran over to the Maryland student section and then along the Maryland sideline after the big win.

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