Maryland and Virginia met for the final time as ACC rivals on Saturday in ugly conditions, and despite the loss of starting quarterback C.J. Brown (who was ruled out in pre-game warm-ups) the Terps managed to hold on for the win, 27-26.
The conditions weren’t perfect on Saturday, actually far from it, but Maryland was able to move the ball on offense, something it couldn’t do last week without Brown at quarterback. Caleb Rowe finished with 332 yard and a touchdown in relief of Brown.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game was a crucial 3rd-and-22 conversion on Maryland’s final scoring drive. Caleb Rowe, who had thrown an errant pitch on the play before, evaded the pressure and threw a ball to Deon Long, who came down with it despite having two defenders draped on him.
“I don’t know if I should say this, but Deon, he actually ran the wrong route” Rowe said after the game, but praised Long because “he made a great catch… and I have all the trust in the world with him.”
Long laughed it off, but responded “I didn’t run the wrong route, I peaked out of my break and saw him scrambling so I took off.”
Long joked about how “he should have thrown me the ball after all the times he missed me today,” and while Rowe did put up huge numbers in his first start of the year, he was erratic on the day. Weather and jitters could have contributed to that.
Randy Edsall acknowledged after the game his team did enough to win, despite not doing enough defensively. The defense allowed Virginia to top the 500-yard mark on offense, but mentioned how injuries hampered them during the day.
Maryland was without LB Matt Robinson, and lost his backup Yannick Kudjoe-Virgil during the game. That was on top of Maryland being without their top two cornerbacks. Yet Maryland was able to get stops in the red zone and force Virginia to stick to kicking field goals.
Maryland needed a win, but really just needed to rebound after the 63-0 shellacking they took last week against Florida State. The win will definitely help build some confidence in the team, especially if Maryland will be without C.J. Brown again in the future.
Edsall acknowledged that getting the win was positive, but beating a rival was just as important.
“It’s exciting we won, that’s the biggest thing. We know that’s probably the biggest rivalry that we have in football here at the University of Maryland. To be able to beat them for the last time, I think it’s something special.”