The Tom Herman era in Austin has gotten off to a rocky start as the No. 23 Longhorns fell at home to unranked Maryland, 51-41.
Making matters worse, this was Texas’ first home opening loss in twenty years, and the worst debut in Longhorn coaching history.
The victory marks the Terrapins first win over a ranked opponent since defeating N.C. State seven years ago, and the most points Maryland has ever scored against a ranked opponent.
While Texas closed within three points early in the fourth quarter, the game was all Maryland, all day.
The Terps needed only 12 completions to win this afternoon; nine from Tyrrell Pigrome and three from Kasim Hill, who filled in following an injury to Pigrome late in the third quarter.
Thanks to a strong running game led by Ty Johnson (12 carries, 132 yards and a touchdown) that carried the ball 43 times for 263 yards and four touchdowns, that was more than enough.
Texas Quarterback Shane Buechele wasn’t so lucky and was forced to carry the Longhorn offense all afternoon, as Maryland’s defense stuffed Texas’ run game, holding them to 98 yards on 31 carries, while notching eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The untold story of the game was that Texas only had a chance thanks to their defense and special teams.
Cornerback Holton Hill got the Longhorns on the board early, returning a Tyrrell Pigrome pass 31 yards for six, and later blocked an Adam Greene kick, returning it 65 yards to pay dirt, cutting Maryland’s lead to 13 at that point.
Reggie Hemphill-Mapps returned a Wade Lees punt 91 yards with five minutes to play in the third quarter, cutting Maryland’s lead to three, but the Longhorns would get no closer.
Kicker Joshua Rowland, a junior college transfer from Madison, Mississippi, didn’t help the cause with a 42 yard miss and a blocked 44 yard attempt on the following Texas drive.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Terrapins defense, led by Jermaine Carter Jr. and converted linebacker Shane Cockerille shut down the Longhorns all afternoon.
In addition to the eight tackles for loss, Buechele was sacked five times as the Texas offensive line struggled to protect the sophomore from Arlington, Texas.
This early season unexpected victory sets Maryland up for a big home opener next week against Towson, followed by a bye week and game against UCF to close out non-conference play before opening B1G play as they close out the month of September.
Texas meanwhile, has to regroup quickly as San Jose State comes to Austin next weekend before the Longhorns make their long anticipated return to Los Angeles as they take on the USC Trojans in a rematch of the 2006 BCS Championship game before they begin Big 12 play on the road in Ames against Iowa State.