When your offense just can’t get rolling, sometimes you have to rely on your special teams. And the Maryland Terrapins have a true star there in running back Ty Johnson, a senior who not only shines on offense, but throws in some brilliance on the teams as well. Last year, Johnson took a kickoff return back 100 yards for a touchdown against Ohio State in Ohio Stadium; on Saturday, he almost matched that in the Big House in Ann Arbor, returning a kickoff after a Michigan field goal 98 yards for a touchdown to put the Terrapins up 7-3 (after the convert) on the Wolverines:
Here’s another look at that:
That’s a great return, with Johnson’s blockers managing to clear an early lane for him between the cover guys on the sideline and the ones in the middle of the field and him hitting that lane perfectly. He then gets another key block to get to the sideline and then uses his speed, agility and an effective stiff-arm move to dodge a last-second tackle from Avery Thomas. That’s very well done by Johnson, and it’s just part of what he’s managed on special teams on the day, as he later made another great play to down a punt inside the five.
This was also crucial for Maryland, as the Terrapins recorded just 21 yards on offense (on 10 plays, so 2.1 yards per play) in the first quarter to Michigan’s 132 yards on 21 plays (6.3 yards per play), but headed into the second quarter with a lead anyway. They’ll need more offensive production to hang with the Wolverines in the long run, as Michigan’s now up 10-7 in the second quarter, but this was an important start for Maryland.