Late in the third quarter of the Maryland football team's 42-39 homecoming win over Indiana, coach DJ Durkin reacted to a roughing the passer call on defensive lineman Cavon Walker by screaming and throwing his headset onto the field. Durkin was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The second-year coach was enraged because the initial flag extended the Hoosiers' drive on third-and-13, helping set up a 41-yard field goal. He didn't believe Walker, who made contact with quarterback Peyton Ramsey moments after an apparent sack, did enough to warrant a personal foul.
While Durkin's outburst was his most dramatic of the season, he's engaged in similar actions throughout Big Ten play. In losses to Ohio State and Northwestern, Durkin jumped while yelling at referees. He criticized the officials following each of those contests.
Maryland players appreciate that energy, even if it occasionally leads to penalties. The Terps rallied to beat Indiana after Durkin's flare-up, snapping a three-game losing skid.
"He's the leader, and everything trickles down from him," quarterback Max Bortenschlager said. "So when we see him all amped up, we want to get amped up. And I think when we're amped up too, he gets amped up."
Durkin spent the 2015 season as Michigan's defensive coordinator under coach Jim Harbaugh, who's known for his sideline antics. Durkin's brought his former boss's fiery approach to College Park as he tries to turn around a program without an eight-win season since 2010.
In fact, Durkin's behavior Saturday replicated one of Harbaugh's most infamous sideline moments. During Michigan's game against Ohio State last season, Harbaugh threw his headset to the ground after disagreeing with a call. The Wolverines coach then tried to put the broken device back on his head.
So while Durkin acknowledged he should tone down his demeanor to avoid further unsportsmanlike conduct calls, his passion is a central part of his coaching style.
"Some of those calls were just amazing," Durkin said. "We need to control our emotions a little bit, but it's an emotional game."
Durkin gathered his defense following his penalty and asked the unit to support him by preventing a touchdown that would have put the Hoosiers up by two possessions.
Defensive lineman Chandler Burkett said that request resonated with the players, who wanted to repay their coach for his faith. The defense held Indiana to a field goal.
After the victory, the Terps jumped in the locker room, waiting for their coach to arrive. Durkin, wearing his yellow Maryland cap backward, entered at a full sprint to join the celebration.
The moment underlined Durkin's connection to his team.
"He's a man who cares a lot about us and cares a lot about what he does," safety Darnell Savage said. "He'll fight for us day in and day out. It definitely shows how fired up of a person he is, but at the same time, it's not for nothing. He really cares about us."