Whenever the Maryland football team needed a lift against then-No. 23 Texas, its defense delivered.

After quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome threw a first-quarter pick-six, cornerback JC Jackson grabbed an interception, lineman Derwin Gray blocked a field goal and cornerback Tino Ellis recovered a fumble. And when Pigrome tore his ACL with the Terps clinging to a three-point second-half advantage, the defense provided two fourth-down stops to seal the 51-41 upset win.

Maryland required a similar boost against Central Florida following quarterback Kasim Hill’s season-ending knee injury. But the defense offered no such assistance, failing to force a turnover and allowing the Knights to explode for 241 second-half yards in a 38-10 loss.

The group is determined to avenge that collapse and help out struggling third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager on Saturday at Minnesota. The signal-caller threw two interceptions and was sacked five times against Central Florida.

“It’s something we always talk about,” defensive lineman Brett Kulka said. “When adversity strikes, you have to be able to push forward and move ahead. It’s something we did week one … and we didn’t really do it well this past week. The adversity hit and we just kind of folded.”

On at least four occasions against Central Florida, a Maryland defender got his hands on a pass but could not corral it. One early opportunity proved particularly frustrating.

Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton threw over the middle, with his offense backed deep in its own territory. Maryland cornerback Antwaine Richardson jumped the route and had an uncontested chance to make an interception. The pass bounced off his fingers, preventing a play that would have given the Terps prime field position.

“We just have to make those plays,” defensive coordinator Andy Buh said.

Buh said the defense should have stepped up given Maryland’s offensive frailty under Bortenschlager.

Kulka felt Hill’s injury distracted Maryland, as it added to a growing list of setbacks. In addition to Pigrome and Hill’s season-ending ACL tears, defensive end Jesse Aniebonam, the team’s 2016 sack leader, fractured his ankle against the Longhorns.

The defense hopes to rally past those injuries and build momentum by forcing turnovers against the undefeated Golden Gophers, who are coming off a 9-4 campaign.

“We can’t let the offensive side of the ball affect us too much,” Kulka said. “We’ve just got to go out there and play. That really hurt us [last weekend].”

Each week, coach DJ Durkin preaches handling adversity. While he acknowledged the difficulty of losing three important players in the first three games, he was surprised his squad rolled over against Central Florida.

Durkin anticipates a different reaction in Maryland’s Big Ten opener.

“Our guys are going to rally,” Durkin said. “All these guys had big injuries that are going to put them out for a long time. Those guys, you see them every day, look them right in the eye, they’re ready to go, ready to attack [their recovery], and the team is ready to respond.”