AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With a new head coach and the promise that the program is already on the rebound with its $10 million locker room, big wins in recruiting for the future and some good looking talent for the present, all eyes were on Texas and Tom Herman.
Then Maryland spoiled the Longhorns unveiling — in emphatic fashion.
Tyrrell Pigrome passed for two touchdowns and ran for another before leaving with an injury and Maryland stunned No. 23 Texas 51-41 Saturday. Even after Pigrome had to be helped off late in the third quarter after twisting his knee, freshman Kasim Hill came in and led two crucial fourth-quarter touchdown drives that put the game out of reach.
Maryland (1-0) led 27-7 in the second quarter, and then held off a Texas rally to snap a 17-game losing streak to ranked opponents, the third-longest streak among Power Five conference teams.
“It’s a breakthrough for the program. No one knew what to expect,” said Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore, who had 133 yards receiving and a touchdown.
The Longhorns scored three non-offensive touchdowns: an interception return and blocked field-goal return by Holton Hill and a 91-yard punt return by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. But those highlights couldn’t deliver a win for Herman, who was brought from Houston to replace Charlie Strong after three straight losing seasons. Texas had its same old problems, giving up a special teams touchdown, missed field goals and a defense that was physically battered all game and give up big plays.
Shane Buechele passed for 375 yards for Texas (0-1).
“I told our guys to never get used to this feeling, but that if we all thought that we were going to come in here and in nine months, sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think that we’ve arrived, then we’re wrong,” Herman said.
Maryland: The Terps pounded Texas on the line of scrimmage and rolled up 263 yards rushing. The Terps were about a three-touchdown underdog and never wavered, even when Texas rallied. But the injury to Pigrome, who had the offense humming when he was in, could be troublesome. Pigrome kept the Longhorns off balance with his runs and confident throws. Hill delivered on the touchdown driver in the fourth, but how he fills the role as a starter if needed could be tested.
“No one said a word, no one like, ‘oh no.’ Kasim came in there and just handled the moment,” Durkin said.
Texas: What a letdown for a team that offered so much promise in the preseason, but looked more like a redux of 2016 on the field. Texas produced a 2,000-yard rusher last season, but couldn’t run against Maryland, couldn’t stop the run and Buechele was often on the run. The Longhorns also had 11 penalties for 117 yards, several wiping out big offensive plays.
“Why can’t we get out of our own way?” Herman said.
Ty Johnson did most of the damage on the ground for Maryland with 132 yards on 12 carries, a whopping 11-yard average every time he touched it. And much of it came up the middle as the Terrapins pinned back a defensive line that continues to be a weak spot for the Longhorns. Herman had called the group a surprise of training camp.
“That was, I’ve never, with a conventional offense … I’ve never seen us give up so many rush yards,” Herman said.
Texas will fall from the rankings when the new AP Top 25 is released Tuesday. Herman’s reputation as the hottest young coach in football lured some voters into believing big things were happening at Texas. They likely won’t come back for a while.
Hill’s two touchdowns were just two of the explosive special teams plays in this game. Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr., scored on a 71-yard return after a blocked field goal in the second quarter. After Hemphill-Mapps’ punt return in the third got Texas within 30-27, Johnson returned the kickoff 62 yards, then ran 40 yards for a touchdown two plays later.
“That was a wild game,” Durkin said. “Nobody flinched.
Maryland: The Terrapins host Towson on Sept. 9.
Texas: The Longhorns will try to get Herman’s first victory against San Jose State next week.