COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Roman Hemby breezed through a gaping hole into the secondary — and wasn’t satisfied.
“A lot of people can get to the second level, a lot of people can make big runs, explosive plays,” the Maryland running back said. “But who can ring the bell, who can take it home?”
Hemby’s speed was on full display Saturday when his 70-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the second half helped the Terrapins pull away to a 31-10 victory over Buffalo. Hemby rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on an otherwise uneven day for the Maryland offense.
His long TD gave the Terrapins a 24-7 advantage after 39 seconds in the third quarter.
Antwaine Littleton also ran for two touchdowns for Maryland (1-0), and Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 290 yards. It was also a solid defensive showing for the Terrapins, who return a talented quarterback and an impressive group of receivers but still need to show they can stop top teams.
Buffalo (0-1) didn’t give them much of a test. The Bulls were outgained 446-268. Cole Snyder threw for 160 yards but was sacked four times.
“I think the biggest thing is how we move forward from this point,” Buffalo coach Maurice Linguist said. “Every opportunity you step on the football field, you have an opportunity to really examine yourself out of multiple lenses, see what mistakes are out there, whether from a schematic standpoint, and look at yourself from a personnel standpoint and then make that jump.”
Hemby, a redshirt freshman who had 17 rushing attempts last season, made the most of his seven carries in this year’s opener. He scored on a 33-yard run in the first quarter, and then Littleton added a 2-yard touchdown in the second.
It was 17-0 when Buffalo scored its lone TD on a 19-yard run by Al-Jay Henderson. Then the Bulls stopped Maryland on fourth down in the final minute of the half to stay within 10 points.
That was one of a handful of moments when the Terrapins weren’t quite clicking. Tagovailoa had an overthrown pass intercepted in Buffalo territory in the third, and later Rakim Jarrett dropped one of the Maryland quarterback’s nicest tosses of the day.
“Our goal is to try to get 80 plays,” said Terrapins coach Michael Locksley, whose team had only 61 on Saturday. “The only way to get to that 80 is to be good on third down, and I think we were 4 of 13 today.”
Still, the Terps never seemed like they were in much danger in this opener. Littleton’s 1-yard touchdown early in the fourth made it 31-7.
Buffalo: The Bulls played a turnover-free game and kept Maryland’s receivers from making too many big plays, but Buffalo simply didn’t move the ball well enough to threaten an upset.
Maryland: The passing game was a bit inconsistent, but the offensive line, which returns every starter, did a nice job. The Terrapins ultimately won this game about as comfortably as expected.
Dontay Demus was back for Maryland after missing the final eight games of last season because of a knee injury. The senior caught three passes for 23 yards.
“Just felt like walking out there my freshman year,” Demus said. “Just felt like it’s my first game all over again. It’s just been a long while, and I missed being out there with my brothers.”
Jeshaun Jones, back from a leg injury, had four catches for 70 yards. Locksley said Demus and Jones probably played about half of their usual snaps.
Buffalo: The Bulls host Holy Cross next Saturday night.
Maryland: The Terps play at Charlotte on Saturday. Maryland hasn’t played a nonconference road game since a loss to Temple in 2019.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
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