Last week was a difficult one for Danny O'Brien. The backup Maryland quarterback had to answer media questions about a botched handoff that led to a fumble on his first — and at that time, only — play of his college career against Navy.
It all went a little more smoothly for the redshirt freshman on Saturday night against Morgan State.
Three of O'Brien's first four passes went for touchdowns — 27 yards to tight end Matt Furstenburg, 24 yards to Torrey Smith and 22 yards to Da'Rel Scott.
Expect to see more of O'Brien — even in games that aren't routs, as Saturday's was. Coaches have said they will look for opportunities to play him each week in relief of starter Jamarr Robinson.
Smith racks up yards
Entering Saturday's game, Smith needed 291 yards to set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for career kickoff return yards. North Carolina's Brandon Tate (2005-08) holds the mark. Smith already holds the Maryland record.
At the end of last season, Smith was seeing more teams trying to kick away from him — a tactic employed last week by Navy, which kicked short.
As the Morgan State game began, Smith needed 37 yards to pass Bren Lowery (1986-89) for fourth place on Maryland's career all-purpose yards list.
Smith had accumulated the needed yards by halftime — and also had two touchdown receptions as the Terps piled up 45 first-half points.
LaMont Jordan tops the Maryland list with 4,960. Jordan was an honorary captain at Saturday's game.
Ferrara misses game
Maryland kicker Nick Ferrara missed his second straight game with a strained groin.
Punter Travis Baltz filled in and converted a pair of 47-yard field goals.
Last year, Ferrara filled in for Baltz and temporarily became Maryland's punter. He fared well.
Now, it's Baltz's turn to return the favor.
J. Brooks runs again
Saturday's game marked the first time Morgan State had ever played Maryand.
But it wasn't the first time that Bears running back Jourdan Brooks had faced the Terps.
Last season, Brooks carried 17 times for 56 for Rutgers in a 34-13 victory over the Terps.
Brooks transferred after the season and did not have to sit out a season because he left the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Taking excuses away
Ever noticed an abundance of overthrown passes from around the middle of the Byrd Stadium field?
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen did. For years, Friedgen says, he's seen his quarterbacks throw high — particularly when they are throwing from the middle of the field toward the sideline.
"The field has a crown right in the middle," Friedgen says, which means the quarterback is slightly elevated when he's throwing to the outside.
Friedgen said before Saturday's game that he placed his passers between the hash marks in practice and had them throw sideline routes over and over.
"At least I'm going to take that excuse away," the coach said.