Johnson's career day leads Bowling Green past Maryland 48-27
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Matt Johnson and Bowling Green's high-tempo offense are dangerous enough without extra possessions.
Combine the two, and you get Saturday's fourth quarter.
Johnson set career highs with six touchdowns and 491 passing yards, the defense forced four turnovers and Bowling Green pulled away for a 48-27 victory over Maryland.
''When you give us turnovers, you're playing with dynamite,'' said Bowling Green coach Dino Babers, whose team has gained 1,268 yards on offense over the first two weeks of the season.
Roger Lewis caught two touchdown passes on a career-high 200 yards through the air, and Johnson also connected with Robbie Rhodes, Ryan Burbrink, Derek Lee and Gehrig Dieter.
The win is Bowling Green's second in as many seasons against a Big Ten foe, and its first on the road against a Power Five conference opponent since 2008.
''The feeling is unbelievable,'' said Johnson, who completed four of his TD passes in the fourth quarter. He surpassed a previous career high of 424 passing yards set in last week's loss against No. 23 Tennessee.
The Falcons (1-1) made three late interceptions, with Denard Turner swiping two and Clint Stephens snatching the other, in a game delayed 55 minutes at halftime for inclement weather.
Fred Coppet ran for 109 yards on 15 carries and Travis Greene added a rushing touchdown for the Falcons, who trailed 10-0 after the first quarter and 13-6 at halftime despite dominating possession throughout the contest.
Bowling Green outgained Maryland 692-341, and ran 105 plays to Maryland's 59. The outcome might've been more lopsided if not for two turnovers on downs in Maryland territory before halftime, and two missed field goals by Tyler Tate.
''A lot of things went wrong from a lot of different players,'' said Johnson, who completed 36 of 55 passes and threw one interception. ''We were able to regain our focus in the second half, and we came out and made plays.''
Maryland quarterback Perry Hills threw for two touchdowns and ran for 94 yards, but was removed midway through the fourth quarter as the Terrapins (1-1) fell to 8-2 against nonconference opposition since the start of the 2013 season.
Hills completed 15 of 30 passes for 168 yards and was intercepted once. Backup quarterback Caleb Rowe threw two picks in three passing attempts.
William Likely returned a punt for a touchdown for the second time in as many games, but also muffed a punt after halftime that set up Greene's touchdown run.
''Team loss today,'' Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. ''Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all contributed to it.
Bowling Green took the lead for good on Johnson's second connection with Lewis, a 27-yard fade route that made it 34-27 midway through the fourth quarter and punctuated a seven-play, 73-yard drive.
Lewis outmaneuvered cornerback Sean Davis to make the catch, completing an exceptional day.
''I haven't had a game like this since high school,'' said Lewis. ''Matt Johnson was able to spread the love around.''
Johnson would throw for two more scores to Rhodes and Dieter before exiting for backup James Knapke.
Bowling Green took a 27-20 lead early in the fourth after a 99-yard, 17-play drive.
Johnson completed it with a 5-yard toss to Burbrink on second-and-goal. The Falcons converted twice on third down during the march, including via Davis' pass interference penalty on third-and-13.
Maryland responded with its own 75-yard drive, punctuated by Hills' 22-yard TD toss over the middle to Levern Jacobs. The Terps would then turn it over on their final three possessions.
''I was happy for the defensive kids, I was happy for the defensive coaches,'' Babers said. ''I was happy for our football team.''
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org