Texas Upset by Maryland in Tom Herman's Debut as Longhorns Head Coach

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2017

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Shane Buechele #7 of the Texas Longhorns scrambles and is tackled by Brett Kulka #96 of the Maryland Terrapins in the second quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Maryland Terrapins upset the No. 23 Texas Longhorns 51-41 Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.

The game marked Tom Herman's debut as head coach for the Longhorns, and his team couldn't overcome a 30-14 halftime deficit.

The running game was the biggest difference, as Maryland rushed for 263 yards on 43 carries with four touchdowns, led by Ty Johnson and his 132 yards and one score on 12 totes.

Life after D'Onta Foreman didn't start well for Texas, as evidenced by its yards-per-carry average of just 3.2 on 31 rushing attempts.

The Longhorns spoiled an incredible effort by junior defensive back Holton Hill in the loss. He accounted for both of Texas' first-half touchdowns with a 31-yard interception return and a 65-yard return of a blocked field goal.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Hill pulled off a feat rarely seen in the FBS ranks:

Prior to leaving the game with an apparent leg injury, Maryland sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome completed nine of his 12 pass attempts for two touchdowns and one interception, while adding 64 yards and once score on the ground.

Texas sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele finished with 375 yards, two touchdowns and one pick on 34-of-52 passing, along with 21 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.

In addition to their poor run defense, the Longhorns made major mistakes on special teams aside from the blocked field goal they returned for a touchdown and a later punt return score, as pointed out by FS1's Nick Wright:

Their most egregious error was a blocked field goal of their own returned 71 yards for a touchdown by Maryland's Antoine Brooks early in the second quarter.

After Texas jumped ahead 7-0 on the pick-six by Hill in the first quarter, Maryland scored 27 unanswered points and never looked back.

The Longhorns made things interesting in the third quarter when a 91-yard punt return touchdown by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps cut the deficit to three.

After a Maryland touchdown, Buechele then pulled Texas to within three once again at the end of the third with a touchdown run.

Maryland put the game away in the final frame, however, thanks to touchdown runs by Kasim Hill and Jake Funk.

The Terrapins haven't posted a record better than 7-6 since 2010 and are coming off consecutive losing seasons, which speaks to the importance of Saturday's win, per Stewart Mandel of The Athletic:

Despite that, former Grantland writer Matt Hinton believes it may be a far bigger indictment of Texas:

In two seasons as the head coach at Houston, Herman went 22-4, so Texas' poor showing Saturday isn't something he is accustomed to.

Texas will have a strong chance to right the ship next week against San Jose State, but an even bigger challenge awaits in two weeks in the form of a road game at No. 4 USC.

As for Maryland, it has a golden opportunity to start 4-0 with games against Towson, Central Florida and Minnesota coming up before a clash with No. 2 Ohio State.