After a week of encouragement from his teammates, Maryland football quarterback Max Bortenschlager received a final piece of assurance before stepping on the field Saturday to face Minnesota.

Leading rusher Ty Johnson told Bortenschlager he had his back. Johnson also predicted the signal-caller would have a great game despite a two-interception performance the week before against Central Florida.

But as Johnson approached the huddle with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 24, he stayed silent, trusting Bortenschlager to lead the drive on his own.

“I just let him do his thing,” Johnson said. “That’s a quarterback, a leader of the offense, and he knew what to do.”

Bortenschlager finished the possession 3-for-3 through the air, including a crucial third-down conversion to wide receiver DJ Moore. Johnson supported him with a go-ahead, 34-yard touchdown run to give the Terps a 31-24 win.

The gunslinger’s poise under center in a tight road game impressed teammates who endured the loss of quarterbacks Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill to ACL tears.

“He surprised me a lot,” defensive lineman Cavon Walker said. “He did some amazing things out there, his confidence was up and we rallied around him.”

After entering Maryland’s Sept. 23 loss to Central Florida for Hill in the first quarter, Bortenschlager committed mistakes in the pocket beyond his two picks, often holding onto the ball too long and missing his intended targets by five or more yards. He converted two of 11 third-down opportunities.

The sophomore posted better numbers against Minnesota, throwing for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a first-quarter score.

Bortenschlager helped the Terps go 9-for-16 on third down, including 4-for-6 in the fourth quarter.

“Max has a quiet confidence about him,” coach DJ Durkin said. “He had some great throws on third down, some big conversions.”

Bortenschlager’s five-yard completion to Moore over the middle with 1:24 on the clock, which moved the chains and put Maryland in field goal range, cemented his efficient outing. Johnson ran for his game-winning score on the next play.

Bortenschlager was grateful to have another chance at managing the offense. Having a week to prepare for the contest with Maryland’s offensive starters -— a luxury he didn’t have before facing the Knights — allowed him to gain comfort with offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s game plan.

He wanted to respond to the Terps’ faith with a breakout performance.

“It was huge knowing I was the guy going through the week,” Bortenschlager said. “I had to have their back and make some plays.”

Bortenschlager threw a pick-six and fumbled on his final two possessions against Central Florida, leading to a somber postgame mood.

He held a different set of emotions Saturday following the Terps’ road victory over Minnesota to begin Big Ten play. With Big Ten play just beginning, the Terps will again count on Bortenschlager’s poise as they aim for bowl eligibility.

“Last week I had a bittersweet taste in my mouth,” Bortenschlager said. “I didn’t want to have that same feeling this week.”