Bowling Green running back Fred Coppet (28) runs the ball against Maryland linebacker Jalen Brooks (43) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in College Park, Md. Bowling Green won 48-27.
Bowling Green running back Fred Coppet (28) runs the ball against Maryland linebacker Jalen Brooks (43) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in College Park, Md. Bowling Green won 48-27. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

As Bowling Green marched up and down the field Saturday under a dark sky at Byrd Stadium, Maryland tried to hold and tried to build a response to the mounting deficit and keep the Falcons deluge at bay. But the Terps couldn't withstand Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson and his stable of dangerous receivers in the second half.

In a game that featured a 55-minute weather delay and pouring rain at halftime, Maryland was eventually swept away in a 48-27 loss to Bowling Green before an announced 36,332 at Byrd Stadium.


"We played a tough opponent," quarterback Perry Hills said. "They did some really good things. We just didn't execute the way we should have."

Johnson paced the high-powered Falcons offense by completing 36 of 55 passes for 491 yards, six touchdowns and an interception. Bowling Green rang up 692 yards of offense, the most allowed by the Terps since West Virginia put up 694 in a loss last September.

Wide receiver Roger Lewis continually beat cornerback Sean Davis and finished with 15 catches for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Fred Coppet added 109 yards on 15 carries for Bowling Green, and wide receiver Ronnie Moore had eight balls for 79 yards. The Falcons ran 105 plays — an almost even split between 55 passes and 50 runs — and it finally became too much for the Terps to handle in a 28-point fourth quarter.

"We weren't in the the defensive calls we were supposed to do at the right time," said Yannick Ngakoue, who finished with three sacks.

The Maryland defense couldn't get off the field when it mattered. Bowling Green converted eight of 18 third-down attempts and also converted twice on fourth down. On one fourth-down attempt at the Maryland 8-yard line in the third quarter, cornerback Alvin Hill intercepted Johnson in the end zone. But Maryland was offsides, giving Bowling Green a first down.

On the next play, running back Travis Greene plowed in from 3 yards out to tie the game 20-20.

During a 17-play, 99-yard drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters and ended with a touchdown pass from Johnson to wide receiver Ryan Burbrink to give the Falcons a 27-20 lead, Bowling Green converted three third-down attempts.

"We weren't tired," Ngakoue said. "We were used to it because [the coaches] pushed is in practice. … It's just that unfortunately we weren't clicking right today, so they won, and we just got to go back to practice and just keep fixing stuff."

While Bowling Green's offense was piling up points, the Falcons defense stymied a Maryland unit that had looked impressive during last week's season-opening victory over Richmond. After running for a career-high 150 yards against the Spiders, running back Brandon Ross was held to 10 yards on eight carries. Running back Wes Brown ran nine times for 53 yards, and Hills finished the game as Maryland's leading rusher with eight carries for 94 yards, including a career-long 36-yard run in the first half.

But Maryland couldn't string together any consistent production against a Bowling Green defense that allowed almost 400 yards on the ground in its season opener.

"They didn't really do anything special," right guard Andrew Zeller said. "They just moved a little bit up front, and I don't think that really hurt us. We have to take a look at it and see what the problem was. We won't be able to tell until we look at the film."

There were flashes of potential in Maryland's passing game. Hills connected with freshman wide receiver D.J. Moore on a 42-yard touchdown pass — the first score of Moore's young career — to take a 20-13 lead early in the third quarter. After Bowling Green's 99-yard drive, Hills connected with wide receiver Levern Jacobs for a 22-yard touchdown pass to the game at 27-27.

Drops plagued the Terps' wide receivers, though, and Hills finished 15 of 30 for 168 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Backup quarterback Caleb Rowe entered for him in the fourth quarter and threw two interceptions in three attempts.

For the second straight week, cornerback Will Likely supplied the boost for Maryland's offense. On the final play of the first quarter, Bowling Green's Joseph Davidson kicked a booming 54-yard punt down the left sideline. Likely gathered it at the Maryland 15-yard line before turning up field for the second-longest punt return in Maryland history, and his fourth career punt return touchdown, to put Maryland up 10-0.


But Likely also contributed to Maryland's woes. With the Terps leading 20-13 in the third quarter, Likely muffed a punt deep in his own territory. The Falcons pounced on it and tied the game a few minutes later as part of a 42-14 run in the second half.

"It's always tough taking a loss because you don't play the game to lose," Hills said. "It really hurts, especially because I hate losing. We have to watch the tape, forget about it and get ready for the next game."


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