Unbeaten Maryland, improved Purdue get started in Big Ten
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Maryland couldn't ask for a better scenario to play its first Big Ten game under DJ Durkin.
After rolling through their non-conference schedule with three straight wins, the Terrapins spent their bye week getting healthy and correcting the inevitable flaws that come with learning a new system.
''We got some rest, but we also put a lot of work in,'' Durkin said.
The results will be on display Saturday against Purdue (2-1, 0-0), which has committed nine turnovers in its last two games and will be playing on the road for the first time this season.
''It's basically a new season for us,'' Terps left tackle William Dunn said. ''Every game counts a little bit more. We're prepared for it, we're ready for it, excited for it.''
Maryland (3-0) is winning with a fast-paced offense that is averaging 41 points per game. The Terrapins have outscored their opponents 76-14 in the first half and rank 11th in the nation with 266.7 yards rushing per game.
Purdue is a step up from the teams Maryland has faced thus far: Howard, Florida International and Central Florida. The Boilermakers' 24-14 victory over Nevada last week enabled them to emerge from September with a winning record for the first time since 2012.
''I feel like we have a good football team,'' fourth-year coach Darrell Hazell said. ''They're starting to understand all the things it takes to win. They're playing hard and playing fast with confidence. I'm sitting here feeling good about our team, but we have a long way to go.''
Some things to know about the first-ever regular season meeting between Purdue and Maryland:
TURNOVER BATTLE: Maryland is one of only two FBS teams (also Western Michigan) without a turnover this season. Purdue has been intercepted seven times and lost three fumbles.
''You're always concerned when you turn the ball over,'' Hazell said. ''That doesn't give you a good chance to win. Those are things we have to get fixed in order for us to be successful in the Big Ten.''
David Blough threw five interceptions in Purdue's 38-20 loss to Cincinnati, a game in which the Boilermakers amassed 29 first downs and 504 yards in offense.
BROWN DELIVERS: The Terrapins' formidable running game will be supplemented by the return of Wes Brown, who missed the first three games serving a suspension for violating the school's student athlete code of conduct.
''Not only will he be a great contributor at tailback, but we've got a great rotation right now,'' offensive coordinator Walt Bell said.
Lorenzo Harrison leads the Terps with 208 yards rushing, followed by Trey Edmunds (148) and Ty Johnson (131).
INTO THE UNKNOWN: Purdue's only previous game against the Terrapins came in the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl.
This will be the Boilermakers' first visit to Maryland since 1944, when they lost to Navy in Baltimore.
Purdue hopes outscoring Nevada 14-0 in the second half will lead to a successful journey to College Park.
''We're looking forward to taking this momentum and bringing it on the road with us to Maryland,'' running back Markell Jones said.
TRUE GRIT: Terps quarterback Perry Hills hurt his shoulder in overtime at Central Florida, but the bye week provided him plenty of time to heal.
Hills, who ranks fourth on the team in rushing, won't hesitate to take the ball downfield.
''When you have a quarterback as tough as he is, who's willing to run through a guy, as an offensive lineman you love it,'' Dunn said. ''You see that and it makes you want to block harder for that guy.''
Bough has run for two scores, but his arm is his strength. He can tie a school record Saturday with his third straight 300-yard game.
MOVE THE CHAINS: Purdue ranks second in the country in third-down conversions, making 29 of 49 for a solid 59 percent success rate. Maryland is 15 for 39 (38 percent).
AP College Football: www.collegefootball.ap.org