COLLEGE PARK — Ty Johnson has never been impressed by his accomplishments at Maryland. So it was no surprise how the senior running back reacted Saturday after his performance in a 34-7 homecoming win over Rutgers put him in select company.
By rushing for 132 yards on just nine carries, Johnson went over the 100-yard mark for the 11th time in his career. More significantly, he is now fourth in all-time rushing with 2,564 yards. He also reached 4,081 career all-purpose yards, joining Torrey Smith, LaMont Jordan and Stefon Diggs among Terps to pass 4,000.
“I don’t really pay attention to it all too much,” said Johnson, who had a 65-yard touchdown run against Rutgers. “My mom’s really the one that really pays attention to stuff like that. I just go in ready to play a game. That stuff doesn’t mean anything to me.”
“Well, it means something,” he said. “But as of right now, we had a great win as a team. I’m about to see my mom, she’s probably going to hug me and be like, ‘Oh my God.’ But it’s great. It’s a great feeling and it’s on to next week starting tomorrow and Tuesday."
The performance by Johnson followed one for which he was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week because of a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a 42-21 loss at then-No. 15 Michigan.
Big game for Cowart
Junior defensive end Byron Cowart, who transferred to Maryland this season after two disappointing years at Auburn, continues to show why he was considered among the nation’s elite pass rushers coming out of high school.
Cowart finished Saturday’s game with three tackles, including a sack and two tackles for losses, and made his first career interception on a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by junior linebacker Antoine Brooks Jr.
Even after he was called for a horse-collar tackle on Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski to negate a second sack and a third tackle for loss, Maryland interim coach Matt Canada liked what he saw from the 6-foot-4, 293-pound Cowart.
“I know you can feel him out there,” Canada said.
What has impressed Canada more from the former No.1 high school prospect in the country has been the leadership he has provided since joining the team in January.
“He is a tremendous young man,” Canada said. “He was a captain for us today. … When [the defense] comes off the field, it’s, ‘Let’s go, coach. Let’s get it.' I think he’s been a tremendous teammate. He’s come in and says, ‘I’m a teammate. I’m going to work.’ He’s playing really hard. So I really like him a lot and I love the way he’s working for us. I’m proud of him.”
Penalties still a problem
Though the penalties were not as problematic Saturday as they’ve been in other games, Maryland’s propensity to commit them is still a concern for Canada.
The Terps, who rank near the top (or bottom as the case might be) of the Football Bowl Subdivision in penalties committed and penalty yards per game, had nine infractions for 85 yards Saturday.
“None of them are OK," Canada said. “I've got to do a better job and we talk about it and we emphasize it. The thing we’re not going to do is play scared. We’re not going to play scared to make a mistake. We can’t lose the game doing silly things.”