COLLEGE PARK, Md. (CBS DC) — Maryland football suffered two devastating losses on Saturday. The obvious is one is the on the scoreboard, where they fell 20-18 in the final seconds as a Brad Craddock 33-yard field goal hit the left upright. The other was on the depth chart, where Quarterback Perry Hills suffered a knee injury and was forced to leave the game on a stretcher.
“Perry has a knee injury, we’ll have to wait to see what the MRI tells us… it doesn’t look very good.” said Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall said after the game.
While the loss of Hills was tough to watch, backup Quarterback Devin Burns came in and ran the offense as well as he could. Burns is a similar player to C.J. Brown, who started the year as the starting Quarterback before tearing his ACL in the preseason. Burns came in and had 50 yards rushing and 47 yards passing in the second half, but his presence opened up running lanes for Wes Brown.
Brown became the first player this season to top the 100-yard rushing mark, finishing with 121 yards and a touchdown. Brown did have the fumble that setup the go-ahead field goal for NC State.
Asked if Brown did enough to earn the starting role, he responded “No, not at all.” It seemed as though Brown was taking full responsibility for the Terps loss on the day.
“Yeah it was especially gut-wrenching for me, because if I didn’t fumble we wouldn’t have been in that predicament.” About the fumble, Brown continued, “They hit my bad shoulder and by the time I tried to cover it up, it was too late.”
Brown wasn’t the only one taking blame for the loss, as there was plenty to go around after the game. Brad Craddock took the loss especially hard, but said his teammates and coaches told him it wasn’t his fault as they had multiple opportunities to win the game.
“I actually thought I hit it pretty well. Afterwards, I didn’t really know what to think.” Said Craddock on his 33-yard miss.
The loss of Perry Hills will be especially tough to swallow after he had responded to adversity earlier in the season. Another tough pill to swallow for the team will be the loss of Caleb Rowe’s redshirt. That was burned after Rowe came in for the final 30 seconds of the game. Rowe did engineer the final drive in impressive fashion as he made two fantastic completions and ran for another first down.
The decision to use Rowe in the two-minute offense was apparently one Edsall and the coaching staff had made prior to the situation.
“If something did happen to Perry [Hills] we would rely on Devin [Burns], but if we got into a two-minute situation we would go with Caleb [Rowe] and that was something we had worked on.” Said Edsall.
Ultimately, the Terps will be able to take some positives away from this brutal loss. The team found out Devin Burns is a capable Quarterback, and Caleb Rowe was able to run the two-minute offense. Maryland may have also found their lead tailback (again) in Wes Brown. While Stefon Diggs was quiet today with just 150 all-purpose yards, he was able to show some patience when returning punts.
At the end of the day, the defense did their part to keep this team in the game when the offense struggled. The team got pressure on Mike Glennon when they needed to, and A.J. Francis took the loss harder than most.
“We need to play all 60 minutes and we didn’t. We were not sure we would even get back on the field, but when we did we did not come up how we should have and we lost the game because of it.” Said Francis after the game.
With the loss the Terrapins fall to 4-3 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC. The NC State Wolfpack improve to 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC. Maryland will face Boston College in Boston next week.