We’ve all had it driven into our heads: the importance of third-down efficiency, right?
Yeah, well, sometimes. Saturday afternoon in Austin, Texas, was not one of those times.
Texas was a very respectable nine for 18 in third-down efficiency. Maryland was three for 11. Yet, Maryland won, 51-41 — and ruined Tom Herman’s debut as Texas’ coach — because it converted when it was absolutely crucial.
Approaching the midway point in the fourth quarter, Maryland was clinging to a three-point lead and Memorial Stadium was rocking. Texas had stormed back from a 16-point halftime deficit, Maryland had lost quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome after he twisted a knee, and the Terrapins and their freshman backup faced a third-and-19 situation near midfield.
But the freshman converted, connecting with D.J. Moore on a 40-yard pass play that included a terrific run after the catch.
Then again, Maryland’s freshman wasn’t just any freshman. Kasim Hill was a highly sought recruit out of Washington, D.C., and it’s easy to see why. He’s built like a linebacker at 6 feet 2, 232 pounds and he is a dual threat in the backfield.
One play after that key third-down pass, Hill ran three yards for a touchdown. The extra point pushed Maryland’s lead back to double digits and the game was essentially over.
Hill completed all three of his passes for 44 yards and ran five times for 14 yards. Maryland’s win over No. 23 Texas was its first after 17 consecutive losses to ranked teams.
If there was a highlight for Texas — other than Herman’s postgame comment that the Longhorns needed more than nine months and a sprinkling of fairy dust to turn things around — it was a 91-yard punt return in the third quarter by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps.
Hemphill-Mapps, a redshirt freshman, made a terrific play, fielding the ball between defenders, cutting right to pick up a key block, and sprinting down the sideline.
More terrific is that he is from Manvel High in Houston. Hopefully it made his hometown proud.
You think it’s clear who is in charge of football around Manhattan, Kansas?
Kansas State opponents pull off Bill Snyder Highway into the parking lot at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, then get off the bus next to a life-size bronze statue of — you guessed it — Bill Snyder.
Snyder, who was treated for throat cancer after last season, opened his 26th campaign as coach of the Wildcats on Saturday against Central Arkansas, a 55-19 win.
Kansas inducted its 2007 team into the athletic program’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, honoring a team that won the Orange Bowl.
The Jayhawks of 10 years ago won 12 games — or one more than Kansas had in the six full seasons before Saturday’s 38-16 victory over Southeast Missouri, a Football Championship Subdivision team that was 3-8 last season.
You were warned
Florida, which lost its opener to Michigan, 33-17, has nine players under suspension while they are under investigation for alleged credit card fraud.
A 10th suspension was given to freshman receiver James Robinson, after he recently was cited for marijuana possession — the same thing he was cited for in January during his official recruiting visit to Ohio State.
Max Browne was a winner, though he was not particularly impressive, in his debut as Pittsburgh’s quarterback.
Youngstown State rallied from 21 points down at halftime, only to lose in overtime, 28-21, when Browne connected with Jester Weah on an 11-yard scoring pass.
The USC transfer completed 17 of 24 passes for 140 yards, was sacked three times and lost a fumble that Youngstown State turned into the touchdown that forced overtime.
He’ll have to do a lot better next week if the Panthers are to be competitive against No. 6 Penn State, which will be looking to avenge a 42-39 loss to Pittsburgh last season.
Can’t get away
Jeff Brohm was born in Louisville, was Kentucky’s Mr. Football in 1988 as a senior at Trinity High near Louisville, passed for 5,451 yards as a quarterback at the University of Louisville and, when his pro career ended, became a coach with the Louisville Fire, a now-defunct Arena Football team, before heading back to his alma mater to help coach his younger brother, Brian.
So, when Brohm made his debut as Purdue’s coach Saturday, guess who the opponent was?
Kiffin won’t concede
Let’s face it, not much about Lane Kiffin’s coaching career has been normal. His debut Friday night as Florida Atlantic’s new coach wasn’t either.
After three lightning delays, the game ended Saturday morning nearly six hours after it started, with the cheerleaders gone and cleaning crews already picking up after what had been a crowd of 28,481, the third-largest in FAU history.
Navy was well on its way to a 42-19 victory at the end of the third quarter, the time of the first delay, which lasted 59 minutes. After play resumed for 67 seconds, there was another delay. And after the teams returned to the field to warm up at 10 minutes past midnight, they were told to turn around and head back for cover.
Still, Kiffin wouldn’t concede. “We were staying for the long haul,” he said after the game finally ended. “That’s just how we are. That’s how our program is. That’s how we want our players to think. If you love football, why wouldn’t you want to keep playing?”
Wait. Stop. It was a rhetorical question.
Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 20 passes against Texas El Paso, including his first 16 to establish an Oklahoma single-game record. He also completed his last five in last season’s Sugar Bowl, giving him 21 consecutive completions over two games — one shy of Sam Bradford’s school record. … Willie Taggart won his debut as Oregon’s coach, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider he’s only the third of the Ducks’ past nine coaches who won their first game. … Save the headline “Wolfpack lose a close one.” North Carolina State’s 35-28 loss to South Carolina continued a trend from last season when the Wolfpack lost games by scores of 33-30 to East Carolina; 24-17 in overtime to Clemson; 21-14 to Boston College; and 24-20 to Florida State.
Associated Press reports contributed to this article.