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Maryland's victory over Indiana showed team is still capable of winning shootouts

COLLEGE PARK — There's a common theme to Maryland's three wins this season over other Football Bowl Subdivision teams, including its two in the Big Ten.

No matter who is playing quarterback, the Terps can put up some impressive offensive numbers when they win.

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Going into Saturday's game at Rutgers, Maryland is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring offense (30.6 points per game) and fifth in rushing (173.3 yards per game).

Maryland coach DJ Durkin and his players say they've seen progress and practice has become fun again.

In their three FBS wins, the Terps are averaging 41.3 points and 233 rushing yards.

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That trend could continue Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., where the game against Rutgers moved after originally being scheduled for Yankee Stadium in New York.

The Scarlet Knights are ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in several defensive categories.

And the Terps showed something else in their most recent victory.

Something that started with a season-opening 51-41 win at then-No. 23 Texas resurfaced Saturday, when the Terps broke a three-game losing streak with a 42-39 victory over Indiana at Maryland Stadium. Coach DJ Durkin's team showed it was still capable of winning shootouts.

Given some of the problems the Terps still had defensively against the Hoosiers, who passed for 410 yards, that could be the best formula for Durkin's team to get to the brink of bowl eligibility against Rutgers.

Not that Durkin, whose defensive roots go deep, wants to live as dangerously as the Terps did last week. On Saturday, the Hoosiers got off to a quick 14-0 start and after falling behind 28-23 by halftime, they led 33-28 midway through the third quarter.

"Obviously that's not the way any of us designed that game to start or to go," Durkin said during his Tuesday news conference. "You take a team that's on a little bit of a losing streak right there and start the game 14-0, and you can see that nosedive real fast and it didn't.

"Our guys didn't flinch. We went through the game yesterday with them and there were plenty of times we needed to make a play somewhere and we did. Even after they went up 14-0, the next series, Lorenzo [Harrison III] had an unbelievable run and got everyone going."

Don Markus analyzes Maryland's 42-39 football win over Indiana, one that keeps the Terrapins in bowl contention.

Harrison scored Maryland's first touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-7. Even after a safety on a tackle of junior running back Ty Johnson swung the momentum back to Indiana, a blocked punt and 16-yard touchdown return by junior safety Darnell Savage Jr. brought the Terps back again.

"There were answers in that game," Durkin said. "You always want your team to do that. Whether it's a game that's 10-7 or 42-39, you want to see that your team responds when they're called upon. We were able to do that on Saturday and obviously we need to continue doing it."

Sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager overcame an early interception, which led to Indiana's second early touchdown, to finish 10-for-16 for 171 yards with two touchdowns. Bortenschlager said that after the rough start, the team's confidence and his own seemed to grow.

"Throughout the game we knew we'd be fine if we just kept plugging away," Bortenschlager said Tuesday. "But just to see us do that and score a lot of points, which we weren't able to do lately, was huge for our confidence."

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Johnson, who was tackled for a 7-yard loss on the play that resulted in the safety, overcame his early miscues to finish with 91 yards on 13 carries, said the first-half comeback against the Hoosiers showed what the Terps are capable of producing. Indiana had played well against the run against several of the elite teams in the Big Ten East.

"It just shows that once we get rolling, the possibilities are unlimited," Johnson said. "It just showed that we can move the ball downfield. There were a lot of times when we had to pick up the defense and the defense had to pick us up, but at the end of the game, it showed that we can run the ball, we can throw the ball, we can make plays when needed."

Just as they did in the seemingly long ago season opener, it also showed that Maryland was capable of winning a shootout.

Not that Durkin wants to experience that too often.

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