ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Wilton Speight finished with a career-high 362 yards after accounting for three touchdowns in the first half, helping No. 2 Michigan build a huge lead before coasting to a 59-3 win over Maryland on Saturday.
Jim Harbaugh said Speight is playing so well that he should begin being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
“It’s time to throw his hat into the ring,” Harbaugh said.
The Wolverines (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) scored touchdowns on all five of their drives in the first half.
The Terrapins (5-4, 2-4) hit the right upright on a field goal, came up 1 yard short of a TD at the end of the first half and failed to convert a trio of fourth downs. Even with those potential 10 points and first downs, they didn’t really have much of an opportunity to pull off an upset against a balanced offense and swarming defense.
“It’s disheartening that we didn’t compete,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said “It’s hard for me to say that and to even acknowledge that.”
Speight, cool in the pocket and crafty with his feet when he had to move, completed 19 of 24 passes and had a 10-yard TD run. He set a first-half school record with 292 yards passing, connecting on 13 of 16 passes before halftime.
“You need a great quarterback to succeed the way we are,” said Jake Butt, who set a school record for yards receiving (1,521) in a career by a tight end.
De’Veon Smith had a season-high 114 yards rushing and a career-high three TDs.
Maryland quarterback Perry Hills was knocked out of the game by Chase Winovich, who hit Hills and drove his left shoulder into the turf in the second quarter. Caleb Rowe replaced him and threw an interception on his first pass of the second half. It went directly toward safety Delano Hill, who had another interception later in the game.
Rowe, who was 12 of 23 for 203 yards, helped Maryland throw for 289 yards — the most Michigan has given up this season.
Maryland: Durkin knows a lot about Michigan because he was its defensive coordinator last season, but his knowledge didn’t seem to help the overmatched Terrapins very much on defense.
“Nothing in terms of preparation was affected by coming back,” Durkin said. “It was business as usual.”
Michigan: The Wolverines found a way to get receiver Jehu Chesson more involved. He matched a season high with five receptions and had a season-high 112 yards receiving, including a 33-yard TD catch that made it 35-0 toward the end of the first half and a 40-yard reception on a double-pass .
Maryland: Playing a second or three straight games against teams currently in the top 10, the Terrapins host No. 6 Ohio State before going to No. 9 Nebraska.
Michigan: The Wolverines go to Iowa for a potential test before closing the regular season at home against Indiana and against the rival Buckeyes on the road.