McDevitt grad Johnson passes Bowling Green to win vs. Edsall's Terrapins
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue insisted stopping Bowling Green's high-tempo offense isn't that difficult, even after Saturday's outcome suggested otherwise.
Matt Johnson, a graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, threw 491 yards and six touchdowns, both career highs, as Bowling Green pulled away to send Maryland to a 48-27 defeat.
"You've got to be mentally prepared," said a frustrated Ngakoue, who had three sacks of Johnson, all before halftime. "That's all you've got to do, man."
Roger Lewis caught two touchdown passes and set a career high with 200 receiving yards, and Johnson also connected with Robbie Rhodes, Ryan Burbrink, Derek Lee and Gehrig Dieter.
The Falcons signal-caller threw four TDs during the fourth quarter, as the Terrapins (1-1) gave up the game's final 21 points and fell to 8-2 against nonconference opposition since 2013.
"Team loss today," said Maryland coach Randy Edsall. "Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all contributed to it."
Edsall is a Susquehannock High School graduate.
Johnson's previous career high of 424 passing yards came only a week ago against No. 23 Tennessee. On Saturday, Bowling Green (1-1) outgained Maryland 692-341, and ran 105 plays to the Terps' 59. In two weeks, the Johnson's group has accrued 1,268 total yards.
Maryland quarterback Perry Hills threw for two touchdowns and ran for 94 yards, but was removed midway through the fourth quarter.
Hills completed 15 of 30 passes for 168 yards and was intercepted once, one of four Maryland turnovers in a game delayed by 55 minutes at halftime for inclement weather.
"I missed too many things," said Hills. "There's some things that I could've done better and that I'm going to look to improve on."
Hills said Edsall hasn't told him if there will be any long-term change at starting quarterback. Saturday's backup, Caleb Rowe, threw two picks in three pass attempts
"We'll sit down and watch the film and have a discussion about what we're going to do moving forward," Edsall said.
Maryland was also outgained 201-156 on the ground, a week after the Terrapins ran for 341 yards in their season opener against Richmond.
While Hills was the Terps' leading rusher, Bowling Green's Fred Coppet ran for 109 yards on 15 carries and teammate Travis Greene ran for a touchdown.
Maryland's William Likely returned a punt for a touchdown for the second time in as many games, but also muffed a punt after halftime that set up Greene's touchdown run.
Brad Craddock kicked two first-half field goals for Maryland.
Bowling Green took the lead for good on Johnson's second connection with Lewis, a 27-yard fade route that made it 34-27 midway through the fourth quarter and punctuated a seven-play, 73-yard drive. Lewis outmaneuvered cornerback Sean Davis to make the catch.
Johnson threw for two more scores before exiting for backup James Knapke against a flummoxed Maryland defense.
"I don't know, it was just lack of communication," Ngakoue said. "We weren't hitting the defensive calls we were supposed to do. . It was just too many gashes and holes."
Bowling Green took a 27-20 lead early in the fourth after a 99-yard, 17-play drive.
Johnson completed it with a 5-yard toss to Burbrink on second-and-goal. The Falcons converted twice on third down during the march, including via Davis' pass interference penalty on third-and-13.
Maryland responded with its own 75-yard drive, punctuated by Hills' 22-yard TD toss over the middle to Levern Jacobs. The throw, coming on a drive prolonged by a Bowling Green unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, knotted it for a third time with 12:30 left to play.
The Terps wouldn't threaten again.
"They just played very well on defense and they tackled very well," Hills said. "Nothing that we really haven't seen. Just they executed a little bit better."