Tag Archives: Terrapins

An Early Look at the Terps’ 2015 Schedule

It is never too early to begin looking at the season ahead, and the release of the Terrapins’ 2015 football schedule presented the perfect opportunity to do so. At first glance there are some intriguing matchups, including a rematch with newly-crowned national champion Ohio State in Columbus. Here are a few games to mark on your 2015 calendar:

September 26 @ West Virginia

The Border Battle continues in 2015, as the Terps will travel to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers. Maryland has faced West Virginia a total of 13 times over the past 15 college football seasons, and the rivalry has not proved particularly kind to the Terrapins. Maryland has defeated WVU on just four occasions, and three of those wins came during the 2001, 2002, and 2003 seasons. The Mountaineers defeated the Terps in seven straight matchups from 2004 to 2012, until the Terps finally prevailed again in 2013 with a resounding 37-0 shutout at a rainy contest played in M&T Bank Stadium. Last season, quarterback Clint Trickett led the Mountaineers to a 40-37 win over Maryland, throwing for 511 yards and four touchdowns. The loss was a heartbreaking one for the Terps, as they rallied after falling behind 28-6 to cut the West Virginia lead to 28-27. Maryland tied the game at 37 before Trickett led the Mountaineers down the field ending in a controversial game-winning field goal. Trickett will not be under center for WVU next season, as he graduated and in fact opted to retire from football altogether due to enduring multiple concussions over a relatively short time period in his short playing career. The future look of the Terps’ offense is still very much a mystery at this point as well, as starting quarterback C.J. Brown has used up his collegiate eligibility after six years and star wideout Stefon Diggs declared early for the 2015 NFL Draft. While the exact makeup of either team is still greatly unknown, the Terps seem to have righted the ship over the last two years as far as this rivalry goes and this should be another great game.

October 3 vs. Michigan

Michigan has uncharacteristically underperformed over the last few seasons, and the Terps added to their 2014 woes by defeating the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 23-16. Michigan finished last season with a 5-7 record, fired head coach Brady Hoke, and hired former Stanford and San Francisco 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh to take his place. Harbaugh was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1983-86, and even has a few ties to the state of Maryland as he quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens in 1998 and brother John is the current coach of the team. While it will likely take a few years for Harbaugh to get Michigan back on the winning track (if it all), this historic college football program making the trip to College Park is a must see. If anything, watching Jim Harbaugh jumping up and down along the sidelines should provide a sufficient amount of entertainment.

October 24 vs. Penn State

Maryland’s victory over Penn State in 2014 was arguably the biggest win of the season, as the Terps traveled to Happy Valley and Brad Craddock kicked the Terps to a 20-19 victory over the Nittany Lions. If not the best win, it was certainly the most memorable game of last season. Aside from the last-minute game-winning kick, the game itself was preceded by the infamous handshake snub at midfield by the Terrapins’ game captains. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on regarding the pregame incident, along with the way the game itself played out, it helped give birth to a new college football and Big Ten rivalry. Hopefully, the rivalry will only continue to grow (for the right reasons) between these two universities, and the 2015 matchup between Maryland and Penn State could be indicative of where the rivalry is headed. The game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, so the stadium should be rockin’ with Terps fans and Penn State fans alike. If you’re going to attend just one Terps football game in 2015, I strongly suggest it’s this one.

November 28 @ Rutgers

The most heartbreaking loss of the 2014 season came at the hands of Rutgers and offensive coordinator/former Terp head coach Ralph Friedgen in the regular season finale. After building a 25-point lead just before halftime, the Rutgers offense scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions. While the offense gained ground on the scoreboard, the Rutgers defense completed the unforgettable comeback by holding Maryland to just one field goal in the entire second half and stuffing running back Brandon Ross on a 4th and 1 with just under three minutes remaining in the game. The loss dropped the Terps to 7-5 and prevented them from receiving an invitation to a more prestigious bowl. The exact circumstances surrounding Friedgen’s departure is more than cloudy, but it is safe to say his firing was less than amicable. Understandably so, after Friedgen won 75 games at Maryland over ten years and was assured by AD Kevin Anderson that his job was secure. The 2015 rematch after Ralph’s revenge to end the regular season could present similar postseason implications and ramifications to the 2014 collapse.

Former Maryland wide receiver Tony Logan recounts Monday’s fatal Metro incident

Author’s note: This story originally ran on WashingtonPost.com on January 16, 2015. Link to original article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/01/16/former-maryland-wide-receiver-tony-logan-recounts-mondays-fatal-metro-incident/

 

Former Maryland wide receiver Tony Logan crouched down to the floor and attempted to remain calm as he felt the smoke slowly fill his lungs.

“I really thought we were going to die,” Logan recalled this week.

Logan was one of the passengers trapped on the smoke-filled Yellow Line Metro train outside the L’Enfant Plaza station on Monday, a tragedy that left 61-year-old Carol Glover of Alexandria dead and more than 80 passengers hospitalized.

“People began panicking and screaming, ‘We are going to die if they don’t get us out of here,’” Logan said. “They were coughing violently, fainting … some were banging on the windows.”

Logan, a wide receiver and return man for Maryland from 2007 to 2011, works for the Department of Justice and takes Metro as part of his everyday commute. He said Monday’s ride began as any other. Logan estimated that the train stopped about 30 seconds after it left L’Enflant Plaza, but he immediately had a sense that the stop wasn’t to allow another train on the tracks to clear the platform ahead.

“There was something very different and sudden about this stop,” Logan, 25, said. “Next thing I know, the power completely shut down and the lights went out. The conductor says, ‘Everyone stay calm’ and then the smoke starts to come. It was like a nightmare, but real life. Almost something out of a movie.”

Logan said the conductor sounded “nervous and unsure” in his own directives, as passengers screamed that they needed a way out. He said opening the doors only allowed more smoke to rapidly flood inside.

“After 10, 15, 30 minutes it was clear that we might not make it out,” said Logan, who wrapped his scarf around his face to limit the amount of smoke he was inhaling. “The smoke had completely taken over the train. Everyone’s faces were black, covered in smoke, and we were not getting much information at this point.”

After at least 35 minutes, firefighters reached the train and began escorting passengers to safety.

Logan said he felt the physical effects of the incident, including shortness of breath, for the next several days.

“The next day I felt like I had been in a car accident,” he said. “My body ached. It was hard to breathe normally and I had off-and-on headaches and stomach aches.”

Logan was a significant contributor at Maryland, particularly on special teams. In 2010, he ranked first in the ACC and third in the nation in average yards per punt return (18.1).

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images

After graduating from Maryland, he applied for a position with the Department of Justice. Before he was officially offered the position, however, the New England Patriots signed him to the practice squad in December 2012. After his stint with the Patriots came to an end, Logan reapplied for the same position with the DOJ and was offered the job. He’s been working as a financial data analyst since.

As for Logan’s future, the former Terrapin said he wouldn’t rule out a potential off-the-field return to sports.

“I could see myself doing something [related to] professional broadcasting … or working sports in a corporate way,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy my time having a regular lifestyle. My life to this point had been all sports and school related so just adjusting to living a normal life and taking it one day at a time to see what opportunities arise.”

Regarding Monday’s incident, Logan is doing his best to put the frightening events behind him.

“I feel much better, although nowhere close to 100 percent,” he said. “I’m slowly getting my energy back.”

Why Terps’ Star Stefon Diggs Should Have Stayed for Senior Season

When the news broke last week that Maryland Terrapins’ star wideout Stefon Diggs would forego his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL Draft I was less than shocked. Most Maryland fans probably felt the same way, as Diggs has unquestionably been the Terps’ most dynamic, athletic, and exciting player over the past two years. His playmaking abilities have dominated Maryland football highlights, and the wide receiver has maintained a high level of offensive production despite less than average quarterback play during his collegiate career.

Stefon Diggs became an immediate star for the Terps as a freshman in 2012. He finished the season ranked eighth in the country in all-purpose yards as both a wide receiver and a return man on special teams. He led the team in receptions with 54, tallied 848 receiving yards, caught six touchdowns, and even threw a touchdown pass. Diggs truly did it all his first year in red and black.

As a sophomore, Diggs maintained his status as the team’s all-purpose star for the first six and a half games of the season until suffering a season-ending injury mid-October. Before his injury, Diggs had recorded 34 receptions for 587 yards and three scores, and had a legitimate chance to eclipse the 1000-yard plateau, a commendable feat for a Terrapin wide receiver over the last four years.

A relatively similar story played out in 2014, as Diggs’ offensive production continued until a suspension/injury cut his season short following the Terps’ memorable 20-19 win November 1 at Penn State. He returned for Maryland’s (embarrassing) bowl game, and all-in-all finished his junior season, and his last as a Terrapin, with 62 catches for 792 yards and five touchdowns.

Stefon Diggs left opposing defenses in his dust during his three years as a star at Maryland. Photo courtesy si.com.
Stefon Diggs left opposing defenses in his dust during his three years as a star at Maryland. Photo courtesy si.com.

Diggs performed well in a Maryland offense that has employed game plans focused more around quick slant routes and bubble screens than attempting passes of 15 yards or more; a game plan that has essentially been permanently instilled since Randy Edsall’s arrival in 2011. During the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Diggs’ primary quarterback was C.J. Brown. Brown was a serviceable quarterback, but struggled greatly with accuracy and would often tuck the ball and run when an initial read wasn’t there, further limiting Diggs’ production. In 2012, Diggs’ freshman season, three quarterbacks saw time under center over the first eight games of the year. After each suffered season-ending injuries (not including a season-ending injury C.J. Brown before the season began), a freshman linebacker finished the remaining four games at quarterback. Diggs has put up some great individual numbers throughout his Terrapin career despite all of these significant obstacles. While Diggs has had three great seasons statistically at Maryland, he did not have the nationally-recognized, can’t-miss-this-player, head-turning season he was capable of.

For this reason, Diggs should have stayed one more year at Maryland.

Many Terps fans would argue his freshman season was that type of year. Finishing eighth in the nation and second in the ACC in total yards is no small feat, and he managed to stay healthy for almost the entire year. But 2015 presented the best chance for Diggs to have his most productive year as a Terp. He returned from an injury for Maryland’s bowl game against Stanford, and would have been heading into the offseason healthy and able to enter next year at 100 percent. While Diggs has been Maryland’s go-to guy for three years, fellow starting wide receiver Deon Long is graduating, which would likely have increased Diggs’ role in the passing game even more.

Furthermore, and quite frankly most significantly, the era of sixth-year senior C.J. Brown is complete. This is not meant as a direct knock on Brown, despite his well-documented and aforementioned inconsistencies throwing the football. Brown is more of an athlete with a decent arm who can tuck the ball away when needed and utilize his speed to help the offense. Next year, the offense will be senior Caleb Rowe’s to lead. Rowe has seen a good amount of playing time already, attempting at least one pass in a dozen games since 2012 and starting several as well. Rowe is more of the traditional pocket quarterback that Brown was not. He has shown his quarterbacking abilities are at least as good as Brown’s, and having a quarterback staying in the pocket and looking to complete a pass instead of taking off on their own to pick up yards on the ground only would have benefitted Diggs. If he could have stayed healthy in 2015, I believe he would have had that truly noteworthy, nationally-recognized season under his belt heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. His draft stock would likely have risen, propelling him to the late-first round range he was originally projected earlier in his Terrapin career.

Diggs, however, decided that it was in his best interests to forego his senior season at Maryland and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. One can only hope that Diggs’ NFL career path more closely resembles that of former Terp Torrey Smith and less that of Darrius Heyward-Bey. As a Terrapin fan and alum, I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch Stefon Diggs play on Saturdays, and wish him the best in the NFL.

Blowout Bowl Loss Caps Disappointing End to Terps’ Season

Despite their matching 7-5 records, the Stanford Cardinal was the heaviest favorite of any team participating in a bowl game this year. The oddsmakers and talking heads were not wrong; the Maryland Terrapins were dominated in the first annual Foster Farms Bowl Tuesday night. The gusts of wind swirling about Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara blew the football from the tee twice before Maryland kicker Brad Craddock could strike it to begin the game. The 45 degree temperature at kickoff was uncharacteristically chilly for Western California this time of year. The Terps were also cold, but this unfortunately was not so uncharacteristic. Stanford set the tone for the night on the opening possession by driving 75 yards in 12 plays and scoring their first of six touchdowns in the game. The Maryland defense struggled to get pressure on Kevin Hogan all night, and the Stanford quarterback accounted for 240 yards of total offense and two passing touchdowns. Cardinal running back Remound Wright rushed eight times for 49 yards and three scores, while Christian McCaffrey made the Terrapins look silly on every one of his seven carries.

With the loss, Randy Edsall is 0-2 in bowl games since becoming Maryland’s head coach in 2011, and has missed the postseason altogether twice. The 7-5 record in 2014 is nothing to scoff at, especially taking into account it being Maryland’s first season as members of the Big Ten, but as a Maryland alum and fan I still feel unsatisfied. The inaugural Big Ten season is officially in the books, however, and the Terps will look to build upon a winning record and a bowl appearance next season. Here are a few observations and takeaways from the 2014 season:

The Terps need a traditional pocket quarterback in 2015.

Sixth-year senior C.J. Brown played in his final game as a Terrapin, finishing with 205 passing yards, one interception, and one rushing touchdown. His faults do not need to be documented at length here, as his decision making and accuracy issues were a topic of discussion all season long. While Brown ended his Terrapin career as Maryland’s all-time leader in total touchdowns (responsible for 58 total), he will likely be remembered for his legs more than his arm, and his interceptions and overthrows more than his touchdown passes. Don’t get me wrong, Brown was no Boomer Esiason, but I feel some of the criticism he encountered in 2014 could have been diverted elsewhere, such as poor individual play-calls, inexplicably awful game planning, and a season-long lack of any semblance of a running game (outside of Brown himself). That said, it is time for Maryland to make the move back to a more traditional, pocket quarterback in 2015. Whether or not Stefon Diggs stays or enters the NFL Draft, Maryland will still have substantial weapons at wide receiver next season including Juwann Winfree, Daniel Adams, and both Jacobs brothers. The offense should focus on getting the ball into the hands of these playmakers, and if Diggs returns that’s obviously just a (huge) bonus. Caleb Rowe will fill the role as starter, and hopefully his previous experience under center has groomed him well to take the reins for the first time in his career as the unquestioned starter.

William Likely and Andre Monroe are studs.

Likely: The sophomore cornerback led the Big Ten in interceptions in 2014 and may very well be an NFL star in the making. He was included as part of ESPN.com’s All-Big Ten team, and made his presence felt yet again against Stanford. It was as a member of special teams, however, as Likely took a Stanford kickoff 100 yards for Maryland’s second touchdown of the game. The Terrapin secondary was shredded more than once this season, but Likely was a significant factor in many of the Terps’ seven wins as both a playmaking defender and a dangerous return man on special teams.

CB William Likely set a school record with 228 return yards against Michigan State. Photo courtesy Mitchell Layton, Getty Images.
CB William Likely set a single-game school record with 228 kick return yards against Michigan State. Photo courtesy Mitchell Layton, Getty Images.

Monroe: DT Andre Monroe entered the game against Stanford tied for the all-time lead in career sacks as a Terp. After taking down Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan in the first quarter, Monroe became the sole record holder for career sacks with 25. Monroe had 10.5 sacks in 2014, which was the eighth-most in a single season for a Terp in school history.

Maryland needs to find a go-to running back.

How Maryland got to seven wins without ever having established a formidable running game is a feat beyond explanation. Only once all season did a Terrapin running back eclipse the usually not-so-elusive 100-yard plateau in a single game. Terps fans can complain about inefficient quarterback play, or injuries plaguing the team yet again this season, or dropped passes, or a defense that as a unit fell far short of preseason expectations. I wouldn’t disagree with any of the above, but I’d argue the single most detrimental aspect of the football program in 2014 was the mind-boggling lack of a rushing attack. The lack of production at the position is directly linked to the season-long utilization of a two- or even three-running back by committee system. Brandon Ross and Wes Brown split carries for the majority of the season, with Jacquille Veii and Albert Reid (earlier in the season) mixing in as well. Edsall forced the idea all season, and there isn’t a single example of it having paid off. Maryland needs to settle on a starting running back next year that can carry the load for the Terps.

The Terps will never be competitive against elite programs under Randy Edsall.

The exceptions to this rule of course were the Terps’ wins at Penn State and at Michigan. Both were great wins for Maryland, but those teams had down years in 2014. This may be too broad of a generalization, but it seems before Edsall arrived at Maryland the Terps at least stood a chance of pulling off an upset over a top-10 or -15 program. In 2004 Maryland took down #5 Florida State. Although 2007 was an overall disappointing season, the Terps managed to defeat #10 Rutgers and #8 Boston College. In Ralph Friedgen’s last four years as Maryland’s head coach (2007-10), the Terps went 7-6 against ranked opponents. Under Edsall, Maryland has not managed to win a single game against a ranked opponent and is 0-10 (2011-14). This season the Terps were destroyed by Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. We can add Stanford to the list.

Do the Terps Stand a Chance Against Stanford?

The Maryland Terrapins are slated to face the Stanford Cardinal December 30 in the Foster Farms Bowl. The paths the two teams traveled in 2014 were somewhat similar, as both Maryland and Stanford had up-and-down seasons and finished the year with a 7-5 record. Stanford, however, did not live up to preseason expectations while Maryland exceeded them. The Terps still aren’t getting much love across the nation and Stanford is a two-touchdown favorite, which begs the question on the mind of Maryland fans: Do the Terps stand a chance against Stanford?

On paper, Stanford is unquestionably the better team. Beginning the season ranked 11th in the country, the Cardinal disposed easily of UC Davis before falling short to rival USC in a low-scoring affair at home (13-10 final). Wins over Army and Washington followed before a 17-14 loss against a Notre Dame team that was ranked No. 9 at the time (a much different team than the one that lost its last four games of 2014, including a 49-14 drubbing by USC). A 34-17 win over Washington State followed, but the Cardinal managed to go just 3-3 over the second half of their season. While Stanford was undoubtedly displeased with how their season played out, the 7-5 record doesn’t tell the entire story.

The Trojans needed a 53-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining in the game and a forced fumble in order to beat Stanford in an ugly slug-fest that truly could have gone either way. No. 9 Notre Dame needed to convert on 4th and 11 with just over a minute remaining in the game in order to keep their hopes of defeating Stanford alive. Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson threw a 23-yard touchdown pass and Notre Dame escaped with a victory, handing Stanford their second loss of the season.

Stanford’s other three losses came at the hands of three teams currently ranked No. 15, No. 2, and No. 22 in the country (Arizona State, Oregon, Utah). In other words, none of Stanford’s five losses were to an unranked opponent at the time the game was played, four of the five are still currently nationally ranked, and Stanford’s record could have easily been anywhere from 8-4 to 10-2 instead of the 7-5 record they finished the regular season with.

In my unbiased opinion, I believe the short answer to the question of whether or not Maryland could prevail a week from today is no. The Cardinal is a battle-tested team that finished the regular season on a very high note. Stanford handily defeated rival Cal at California, and then did the same to No. 8 UCLA. The Terps had quite a different ending to their season, as Maryland blew a 25-point lead and fell in gut-wrenching fashion to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. I unfortunately would have to agree with the overwhelming majority of the country in thinking the Terps’ chances of upsetting Stanford on December 30 are slim to none. Another factor not working in Maryland’s favor is that the bowl game is being played in Stanford’s backyard, as Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is just 20 minutes from Stanford University’s campus.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan isn’t exactly a world-beater, but he can certainly do damage when afforded enough opportunities. He finished the regular season with 2603 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has a knack for running with the football and had 84 official carries for 245 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Remound Wright led the Stanford backfield with 552 yards on 127 carries and eight rushing touchdowns. Senior Ty Montgomery is Hogan’s favorite target by far, and finished 2014 with 604 receiving yards on 61 receptions, twice as many receptions as the next receiver (Devon Cajuste, 30 rec, 510 yards).

There is only one scenario that could potentially occur that would give Maryland a chance of winning this game: if it is a sloppy, low-scoring game and the Terps can force multiple Stanford turnovers and limit their own. Stanford has turned the ball over 20 times this season, just one fewer than Maryland’s 21 turnovers in 2014. Stanford’s defense has performed well overall, but their secondary is beatable if Maryland’s C.J. Brown is on his game, much like he was in the first half of the home loss to Rutgers. The formula for the Terps flying back east with a victory is creating turnovers, capitalizing on those turnovers, and keeping its offense on the field for as long as possible in order to keep the defense fresh and to limit Stanford’s scoring opportunities.

I fear this game will play out less like Maryland’s 20-19 victory over Penn State on November 1 and more like the Terps’ 37-15 loss to Michigan State the following week. I’d be surprised if Maryland got blindsided the way they did when they faced Wisconsin (52-7 final score for those of you who blocked this out of your memory), but it’s certainly possible. Stanford has much less to play for than Maryland does, which could work in the Terps’ favor. Unfortunately I think it’s rather simple to predict how this one ends.

2014 Terps: End of Year Superlatives

With the Terps’ inaugural Big Ten season in the books, I decided to take a glance back at some of the more memorable plays, players and moments from the 2014 season. At times we laughed, we cried, we jumped for joy; so what better way to relive some of the Maryland football season than with high-school-yearbook-style superlatives?

 

Offensive Player of the Year: C.J. Brown

Don’t laugh. The sixth-year senior undoubtedly had the most up-and-down season of any Terrapin, and this came as no real surprise to those who have watched the Maryland offense over the last several seasons. Controversy arose by mid-season as Brown continued to struggle with both accuracy in throwing the football and decision-making. Any questions about who should be starting under center faded with the season-ending injury to backup quarterback Caleb Rowe, and Brown finished out the season as the Terps’ starter. Unfortunately for Brown, he will probably be remembered more for his interceptions thrown directly to defenders with no Terrapin wide receiver in sight, being pulled at halftime of the loss to Ohio State and missing wide open receivers on… well… more than one occasion.

Despite consistently being inconsistent, Brown led the Terrapins to a 7-5 record in their first season as members of the Big Ten. The dual-threat quarterback finished 2014 with a respectable 20 total touchdowns (13 passing, seven rushing) and accounted for over 2,500 yards of total offense (2,083 passing, 569 rushing).

Honorable Mention: Stefon Diggs

Had Diggs not missed the final three games of the regular season (and performed well in those games) I probably would have chosen the junior wideout over C.J. Brown. Before his suspension/injury, Diggs recorded 52 receptions for 654 yards and five scores. He had a good chance of reaching the 1000-yard receiving mark, which would have been a monumental accomplishment especially in light of the Terrapins’ typically anemic offense. His role as a kickoff returner should also not be overlooked, as his speed and elusiveness gave the Terps’ offense decent starting field position more often than not.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Will Likely

Cornerback Will Likely had a breakout year in 2014 and gained national attention for his play. Likely finished the season with six interceptions, the most by any player in the Big Ten. The sophomore corner was one of two players in the conference to score two defensive touchdowns, and he was awarded Big Ten Player of the Week honors twice this season. Likely appears to be a star in the making. With a couple more productive years as a Terrapin, Likely could potentially have a similar career path as his recent predecessor, Dexter McDougle, en route to a mid-round draft pick in the NFL.

Honorable Mention: Cole Farrand

Inside linebacker Cole Farrand had an impressive year for the Terps, finishing the 2014 season with 111 total tackles (64 solo, 47 assisted). He was an integral piece to the Terrapins’ first conference win, as he helped contain one of the nation’s leading running backs in Tevin Coleman to well below his season rushing average. Farrand recorded a season-high 19 tackles in that contest and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He followed up his standout performance at Indiana by notching 17 tackles the following week in a home loss to Ohio State.

Honorable Mention: Andre Monroe

Monroe, although slightly undersized for his position, anchored the Terrapin defensive line in 2014. After missing all of the 2013 season with a knee injury, Monroe returned in a big way. The senior finished the year with 56 total tackles, nine sacks, and 12 tackles for loss.

 

Best Catch: Marcus Leak

In 2013 the Maryland Terrapins suffered an embarrassing 20-3 loss to the Syracuse Orange in College Park. This season, Maryland traveled to upstate New York and returned the favor, as the Terps impressively defeated a solid Syracuse team by two touchdowns. C.J. Brown looked sharp early throwing the football, and he connected with wide receiver Marcus Leak for a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The TD grab was not Leak’s most impressive catch of the game though. With Maryland leading 14-13 early in the second quarter, Brown let one fly down the sideline towards a streaking Leak in single coverage. Both Leak and the Syracuse defender jumped for the ball, and both got their hands on it almost simultaneously. The defender seemed to have a secure grasp on an interception, but Leak wrestled the ball away as both fell to the artificial turf of the Carrier Dome. It was such a great catch the game announcer initially didn’t realize Leak came away with the 46-yard reception.

 

Unsung Hero: Jacquille Veii

Injuries and suspensions depleted the Maryland wide receiver corps in 2014, and by season’s end previously unknown players like Daniel Adams and Juwann Winfree were catching passes for the Terps. Question marks also surrounded the backfield all season long, as no Terrapin running back finished with more than 100 yards rushing in a game until the final game of the season. Sophomore Jacquille Veii stepped up and filled some of the void for Maryland as both a wide receiver and running back in 2014. Veii’s role as a receiver was more prominent, as he finished the season with a total of just 19 carries for 105 yards and two rushing touchdowns. While that’s an average of under two carries a game, it must be noted that only five times all season did a Terrapin running back get more than 10 carries in a game; two of the five instances occurred in the Terps’ first game of the season, a blowout win over James Madison. Veii struggled occasionally with dropped passes at times, but still provided a veteran presence to a depleted receiving corps. Veii finished the year with 16 receptions for 230 yards and a touchdown.

 

Worst Play Call: Randy Edsall

While Maryland undoubtedly had an overall successful season, it just as undoubtedly ended in heartbreak with the monumental collapse to Rutgers at home. Maryland blew a 25-point lead and the Scarlet Knights offense, under new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen, scored touchdowns on four straight possessions to defeat Maryland. The embarrassing loss was sealed when Maryland head coach Randy Edsall inexplicably decided to keep the offense on the field on 4th and 1 with just over a minute left to play, passing on a very makeable 46-yard field goal attempt. Maryland was stuffed and the game was over. After the game, Edsall effectively placed the blame on his players for not getting the first down instead of taking blame for a horrible coaching decision. Edsall said, “You can always look back and say you could have called this or could have called that. They are always good calls if the plays are executed.”

By the way, last week kicker Brad Craddock received the Lou Groza award, honoring him as the best kicker in the country.

Honorable Mention:

Edsall’s decision to go for it on 4th and 12 from the Wisconsin 35 yard line on Maryland’s first drive of the game. The Terps unsurprisingly turned the ball over on downs, and the Badgers proceeded to hand Maryland one of their most lopsided losses in school history.

 

Most Likely to Succeed: Stefon Diggs

This one is a no-brainer. Junior wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been the Terps’ best player for nearly three years. He is dynamic, elusive, and is uncatchable in the open field. Diggs has produced at his position despite injuries and inconsistent quarterback play. Over three seasons, Diggs averaged more than five receptions and 77 receiving yards per game, as well as recording a touchdown every two games. In nine games in 2014, Diggs notched 52 catches for 654 yards with five touchdowns. If not for his one game suspension and injury, Diggs had a fair chance at having a 1000-yard receiving season.

 

Biggest Disappointment: Wes Brown

Wes Brown returned to the Terps’ backfield after serving a season-long suspension in 2013. Many thought he would automatically assume the starting role over fellow tailbacks Brandon Ross and Albert Reid. Instead, the Maryland coaching staff employed an absurd running back by committee approach that gave headaches not to opposing defenses but to Maryland fans instead. Only once did a Terrapin running back have 100 yards rushing in a game (Brandon Ross on 10 carries against Rutgers), but Brown’s lack of production, when afforded his limited opportunities, was notable. Brown finished the season with 341 yards on 97 carries (3.5 rush yds/att) and five touchdowns. The touchdown total appears respectable, but many of these were goal-line carries when the coaching staff arbitrarily chose Brown over other backs to carry the football. So I suppose this is a slight knock on Brown, but a bigger knock on Edsall.

Honorable Mention: Any other Maryland running back

 

Mr. Reliable: Brad Craddock

Aussie kicker Brad Craddock had an incredible 2014 season for Maryland. The junior did not miss a field goal until the final game of the regular season (a miss from 54 yards that sailed just outside the left upright) earning him the nickname “Automatic” Craddock. He finished the year having made 18 of 19 field goal attempts, and converted all 41 of his PAT attempts. His heroics included a school-record 57-yard field goal against Indiana and the winning 43-yard field goal against Penn State in Happy Valley. Craddock received the Lou Groza Award, honoring him as the nation’s best place kicker.

Terps Receivers Didn’t Drop the Ball in 2014

Before the first snap of the 2014 season, the Maryland Terrapins boasted one of the most talented receiving corps in the nation. Led by NFL prospect Stefon Diggs, the Terps were nationally ranked in the top fifteen at the position by various entities that create such rankings, including a sixth place preseason ranking by Athlon Sports. Despite question marks at the quarterback position, the Terrapin receivers were primed for nationally-recognized success entering Maryland’s inaugural Big Ten season.

Unfortunately for the Terps, what was once a position overflowing with talent was almost entirely depleted over the last four months. Some receivers fell to season-ending injuries. Others were suspended by either the university or the NCAA. One player transferred before the season began. Despite significant changes in the depth chart, the receiving corps maintained enough reliability and productiveness to help the team to their 2014 seven game win total. Yes, dropped passes became an extreme cause for concern at times this season, especially over the final several weeks. But players like Jacquille Veii, Daniel Adams and Amba Etta-Tawo stepped up to provide some sense of stability to the position. Here is a player-by-player breakdown of what became a surprisingly thin skill position for the Terps in 2014:

Nigel King (transferred): After being designated as the Terps’ No. 3 receiver after the 2013 season, King felt his talents would be more appreciated elsewhere and transferred to Kansas. After injuries ended the seasons of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long in 2013, King became a more integral part of the Terrapins’ offense last season. He finished the year with 33 receptions for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Not awe-inducing statistics by any means, but King’s talent was certainly useful in an overall average offense. This season King finished with 30 receptions for 537 yards and just one touchdown for the Jayhawks. Had he remained with Maryland, he likely would have had a more productive year statistically, not to mention the fact he’d be heading to a bowl with his fellow Terrapins. But hey, hindsight is 20/20, right Nigel?

Levern Jacobs (suspended): The injuries to Diggs and Long in the seventh game of the 2013 season provided opportunities for several players, and Jacobs arguably stepped up the most. Jacobs snagged 47 passes on the season for 640 yards and three touchdowns. Again, not necessarily overwhelming statistics, but his production over the second half of the 2013 season seemed to reserve a more prominent role for him in the Terps’ offense in 2014 even after the return of Diggs and Long. In his final six games of 2013, Jacobs caught 37 passes for 473 yards (79 yards/game) and three touchdowns. Jacobs was listed as a starter on the team’s final depth chart heading into this season.

Jacobs, along with backup safety A.J. Hendy, was suspended by the university just before the start of the season for violating the university’s code of student conduct. The violation stemmed from an incident that occurred in July 2014 for which Jacobs was charged with second degree assault. He has since been found not guilty.

Taivon Jacobs (injury): After the transfer of Nigel King and the suspension of his older brother, Taivon Jacobs figured to see more playing time in the Terps’ offense this season. The three star speedster and Ohio State transfer was slated to take over a starter’s role as Maryland’s third wide receiver. However, on just the second drive of Maryland’s first game this year, Jacobs suffered a torn meniscus running a deep route and was lost for the season.

Stefon Diggs (suspension/injury): The biggest blow to the receiving corps came after the Terps defeated Penn State in Happy Valley on November 1. The team’s best player at any position, Diggs was suspended for one game by the NCAA for his pregame antics. The events leading to the suspension included his involvement in a brief scuffle with a few Nittany Lions, during which Diggs (inadvertently?) made contact with a referee. This, in addition to the now infamous handshake snub, led the NCAA to take action.

While most Maryland fans thought the team would be without its star for just one game, news soon followed that Diggs could potentially miss the rest of the 2014 season. Diggs suffered a lacerated kidney on a play against Penn State when the receiver tried to stretch for the goal line for a touchdown. Diggs missed Maryland’s final three regular season games, and the team went 1-2 without him. He reportedly will likely be able to return for Maryland’s bowl game against Stanford on December 30.

It goes without saying that Diggs’ impact in the Maryland offense has been felt since 2012. Over the past three seasons, he is averaging over five receptions and 77 receiving yards per game, as well as averaging a touchdown every other game. All of his production has come despite average to below average quarterback play, including having a freshman linebacker under center for much of one season (2012).

Juwann Winfree (suspension): The true freshman saw increased playing time throughout this season as the receiver position continued to thin. He caught his first pass as a Terrapin for a 30-yard touchdown against Indiana, and in the seven games he appeared in he recorded a total of 10 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Winfree was coming off his best game (four catches, 80 yards, 1 TD in the loss to Michigan State) when the university announced he would be suspended for the remaining two regular season games for violating the student athlete code of conduct. Winfree should be available for Maryland’s bowl game.

By the Terps’ final regular season contest, an embarrassing home loss to Rutgers and their offensive coordinator/former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen, the Maryland receiving corps looked much different than it did to start the season. With Stefon Diggs returning for Maryland’s matchup with Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl on December 30, he and senior Deon Long remain among the most talented starting wide receiver duos in the country. However, receivers like Amba Etta-Tawo, Jacquille Veii, Daniel Adams and Juwann Winfree (before his suspension) should be applauded for maintaining consistency in the Maryland offense and helping the team to an overall successful 2014 campaign.

Ralph’s Revenge: Terps Out-Coached by Former Coach

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown dropped back in the pocket with just under three minutes remaining in the first half of the Terps’ final regular season game of 2014. Brown scanned the field as he bounced in place, waiting patiently for his receivers to get open in the end zone. Senior Deon Long streaked across the back of the end zone and found an opening behind two Rutgers defenders. Brown hit the receiver in stride with a perfectly placed 9-yard pass for the Maryland touchdown. The Terps were now up by 25 at home against fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers. Even with an entire half of football to play, it almost seemed an inevitable conclusion that the Terps would finish their inaugural Big Ten season with a praiseworthy 8-4 record.

The Scarlet Knights offense, led by offensive coordinator and former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen, proceeded to outscore the Terrapins 31-3 to complete the largest comeback in Rutgers history.

I wish I felt inclined to write about the 2014 season as a whole and to applaud the Terps for what is still a very respectable 7-5 record. Of course, I certainly feel that the football team deserves an enormous amount of credit for overcoming injuries, suspensions and a quarterback controversy on their way to a winning record. These issues, in addition to the unavoidable hardships that come with acclimation to a new, prominent football conference, could have spelled certain disaster for Maryland. With all this in mind, a 7-5 record sounds pretty darn impressive, and it is.

However, one facet of the current football program continues to hurt the team and its chances of achieving true greatness. I made this point after Wisconsin wiped the floor with the Terps several weeks ago and I will make it again now: A football program is only as good as their coach, and Randy Edsall is nothing more than an average coach. He proved this again Saturday against Rutgers, not only because of his team’s immense collapse, but because of yet another poor decision in a fourth down situation.

Unlike his predecessor Ralph Friedgen, Randy Edsall has come up short so far as Maryland's head coach. Photo courtesy Associated Press.
Unlike his predecessor Ralph Friedgen, Randy Edsall has come up short so far as Maryland’s head coach. Photo courtesy Associated Press.

With a minute remaining in the game and the Terps down by three, Maryland found themselves at the Rutgers 36-yard line on 4th down with a yard to go. Instead of relying on the leg of the best kicker in the nation and attempting to tie the game at 41, Edsall elected to try to get the first down. Running back Brandon Ross was stuffed in the backfield, the Terps turned the ball over on downs, and the Rutgers comeback was complete. A calamitous end to Maryland’s season.

Kicker Brad Craddock had missed his first field goal of the season just a few moments before, but this provides no logic behind Edsall’s decision not to attempt to tie the game with another field goal try. Craddock missed from 54 yards, and his kick had sailed just outside the left upright. This field goal attempt would have been from nearly 10 yards closer than the previous attempt, but inexplicably Edsall left the sure-footed kicker on the sidelines. After the game the coach skirted any blame by saying, “You can always look back and say you could have called this or could have called that. They are always good calls if the plays are executed.” Instead of taking any blame for a boneheaded play call, Edsall shifted the focus to his players’ failed execution of his boneheaded play call.

Ralph Friedgen’s offense racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense, which included 347 passing yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Gary Nova and three different Rutgers receivers gaining more than 100 receiving yards.

Friedgen’s departure from Maryland in 2010 was under unfavorable terms to say the least. After previously having confirmed Friedgen’s job security during a 9-4 season, Athletic Director Kevin Anderson fired Friedgen shortly following the team’s bowl victory. Friedgen stated in a 2011 interview that he had since burned his Maryland diploma (he was an offensive guard at Maryland from 1966-68) and roots only for Georgia Tech, where he was the offensive coordinator before becoming Maryland’s head coach in 2001.

Like Edsall, Friedgen also elected to shift any focus from himself to his players. The former Maryland head coach said, “Well, obviously it’s a special win for me, but I think it’s an even better win for our program. We win the bowl game, and we have a chance to have eight wins. The whole thing about Maryland, to me its ancient history.”

More heartbreaking than the devastating loss on Saturday was witnessing first-hand Ralph Friedgen calling plays for Maryland’s opponent instead of for Maryland. Edsall’s call to go for it on 4th down was just another poor, unintelligible decision made by the athletic department as a whole over the past five years, beginning with the firing of Ralph Friedgen.

Just Ride it Out, Randy

As expected, Michigan State defeated Maryland this weekend in front of a “Blackout” crowd in Byrd Stadium. The score was surprisingly close for the majority of the game, as the Terps trailed 16-7 late in the third quarter against the 12th ranked team in the nation. Even so, the deficit seemed more insurmountable with every offensive snap for the Terps. Maryland looked completely lost on almost every possession as the offense, much like the temperature in College Park, was exceptionally cold. A C.J. Brown interception returned for a Michigan State touchdown increased the Spartans’ lead to 16, all but sealing the win for MSU.

Maryland went three-and-out on their first three possessions of the game, and allowed the Spartans to kick three field goals in four possessions for a 9-0 lead. The Terps got on the board when C.J. Brown hit Daniel Adams with a 20-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter, and the defense forced Michigan State into a three-and-out on their next possession. The momentum had shifted ever so slightly in Maryland’s favor, and they would be getting the ball back with decent field position. William Likely’s fumble on the ensuing punt changed all of that. Maryland’s next eight possessions ended with either a punt or an interception, and the offense managed to accumulate a mere 102 yards during this span. The Spartans scored two late touchdowns to make the 37-15 final score more reflective of the seemingly unconquerable objective, based upon the Terrapins’ inept offense.

Quarterback C.J. Brown’s ineffectiveness has been a topic of discussion all season. Each time head coach Randy Edsall has been asked about replacing the sixth-year senior, however, he has backed Brown and downplayed any “quarterback controversy” as being created solely by the media (even after he pulled Brown at halftime in the loss to Ohio State). After the loss to Michigan State, Edsall altered his stance on the subject. When asked if he has thought about replacing Brown with redshirt sophomore Perry Hills or redshirt freshman Shane Cockerille, he responded, “That’s something we’ve talked about… if we can’t be more productive, then I think we have to take a look at those guys… I’ll do what’s in the best interest to help us get a win.”

Again, Brown’s struggles have been well-documented through the season. At halftime of the 52-24 loss to Ohio State on October 4, Brown had completed just 11 of 18 passes for 71 yards with an interception. Edsall replaced Brown with backup quarterback Caleb Rowe, who didn’t fare much better in the second half, but Brown’s status as the team’s starter was confirmed by Edsall after the game. Including his embarrassing first half against the Buckeyes (which I still attribute largely to the coaching staff), Brown has thrown just four touchdowns over the last five contests (two of these in garbage time of blowout losses) and six interceptions. He has completed just over half of his attempted passes on the season (49 percent over last five games), and has thrown for less than 200 yards in every conference game in 2014 before Saturday. Not to beat a dead horse, but the rushing stats that once helped justify his continued status as the team’s starter have declined in recent weeks as well (just 13 total rushing yards over the last three games, no rushing TDs since fifth game of season).

Despite pulling C.J. Brown at halftime in the Oct. 4 loss to Ohio State, Edsall stood by the sixth-year senior and downplayed any quarterback controversy. Photo courtesy pressboxonline.com.
Despite pulling C.J. Brown at halftime in the Oct. 4 loss to Ohio State, Edsall stood by the sixth-year senior and downplayed any quarterback controversy. Photo courtesy pressboxonline.com.

With that said, just two regular season games remain on the Terps’ schedule. Maryland currently sits third in the Big Ten East standings, behind only Ohio State and Michigan State, with a 3-3 conference record and a 6-4 overall record. While the Terps have been pounded by their opponent for three of their four losses, these have come at the hands of the Big Ten’s elite (OSU, MSU, Wisconsin). Maryland’s other loss came to West Virginia, a team that has been ranked this season and boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the country. With the win over Penn State, Maryland became bowl eligible in their first year as members of the Big Ten. The Terps have a great chance of defeating either or both of their remaining two opponents, as Rutgers is a comparable team to the Terps and Michigan is not the same Michigan of years past. A 7-5 record would unquestionably be considered an overall successful 2014 campaign.

Furthermore, Maryland is currently projected to play in a New Years’ Day bowl game: the Citrus Bowl against Auburn. While this will likely change over the weeks to come, it seems the Terps are at least slated for a reputable bowl game against a formidable opponent. Would it really be in the team’s best interests to replace Brown with Perry Hills, who hasn’t started a game since 2012? Or worse yet a redshirt freshman in Shane Cockerille, whose only on-field action as a Terrapin has come as a member of the special teams unit (a topic of discussion for another day)? As dissatisfying as it may be to admit, sticking with C.J. Brown still presents the Terps with their best chance to win.

Before falling to a season-ending injury, Caleb Rowe was the clear backup to Brown and the obvious frontrunner for the starting job in 2015. If Edsall was going to make a change, it should have come after the loss to Ohio State six weeks ago, not after a loss to a top-15 team with just two games left in the regular season. Even so, had Rowe not been lost for the year, the argument could have been made that the coaching staff wanted to give him some meaningful playing time heading into next season. After re-tearing his ACL, that same argument obviously cannot be made, and giving Hills or Cockerille playing time now presents no benefit whatsoever to the Terps for this season or next.

There were other factors to reflect upon stemming from Saturday’s loss to Michigan State that are more noteworthy than the quarterback play. The first is that Maryland was without their top offensive threat in receiver Stefon Diggs. Another is a lingering, season-long issue which I feel should’ve garnered more attention in 2014. In a game in which the score remained close until late in the third quarter, three Maryland rushers combined for just 11 yards on 11 total carries. Maryland’s leading running back of 2014, Brandon Ross, had a single carry. The game plan installed by the coaching staff apparently called for a quarterback who has struggled with accuracy and decision-making all season long to throw 43 times against the defense of the 12th ranked team in the country. I can think of only one word to explain this phenomenon: inexplicable.

Photo courtesy foxnews.com.
C.J. Brown threw 43 times against the Spartans while Terps’ running backs combined for just 11 carries. Photo courtesy foxnews.com.

With just two winnable games left on the schedule, next year’s likely starter out for the season, and two inexperienced quarterbacks remaining on the depth chart, replacing C.J. Brown would be senseless. Making such a drastic change with four-fifths of the season in the books would be nothing more than a futile reaction by Randy Edsall after stubbornly refusing to address the issue when more reasonable, and would represent another poor coaching decision on a growing list. You can’t put a Band-Aid over a bullet wound and pretend the problem has been appropriately resolved.

A Decade of Terps’ Blackout Games

Maryland will host the 12th ranked Spartans of Michigan State this Saturday at Byrd Stadium, in what will be the newest installment of the traditional “blackout” game. Maryland was one of the first schools to introduce the idea, and the concept has become well-known throughout college football over the last decade. The athletic department promotes one game a year, usually a game of particular importance or one against a nationally ranked opponent, as a “blackout” game. The football team dons all-black uniforms, the crowd is encouraged to wear black and the game is typically played at night.

I decided to take a look back at the tradition and how the Terps fared in each contest. Unfortunately, history is not in Maryland’s favor for this Saturday’s matchup with one of the Big Ten’s elite. In nine blackout games since 2005, the Terps have come away victorious just once, the lone win coming against an injury-plagued Florida State team in 2006.

While it’s probably best to ignore the 1-8 record, it was still quite interesting remembering a decade of Terps football and recalling special performances and players for both the Terps and their opponents. Without further ado, here is a look back at the history of blackout games at Byrd Stadium:

2005

The 2005 season presented the first blackout game in College Park. Student groups actively pushed the idea to have everyone in attendance for the matchup against No. 3 Virginia Tech to wear all black for the Thursday night primetime game. The concept was not entirely accepted with open arms by students and alum alike, but the idea generated enough support to eventually come to fruition. The Terps, led by quarterback Sam Hollenbach, kept the game close for the first two quarters as they trailed just 7-3 heading into the half. But Virginia Tech and quarterback Marcus Vick, younger brother of Michael, found their stride in the second half. Final score: Hokies 28, Terps 9.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Sam Hollenbach (158 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)
  • VA Tech: Marcus Vick (211 yards, 3 INT)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Lance Ball (15 carries, 75 yards)
  • VA Tech: Marcus Vick (16 carries, 133 yards, 1 TD); Mike Imoh (18 carries, 86 yards, 2 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Derrick Fenner (3 rec, 63 yards, 1 TD); Vernon Davis (4 rec, 48 yards)
  • VA Tech: David Clowney (3 rec, 76 yards); Josh Morgan (3 rec, 63 yards); Eddie Royal (3 rec, 33 yards)

2006

Maryland’s second annual “Blackout Byrd” game was nothing short of one for the ages. The Terps faced the Seminoles of Florida State and pulled out a win despite accumulating a mere 37 total yards in the entire second half. Terrapin quarterback Sam Hollenbach tossed three touchdowns and Maryland blocked a Florida State field goal attempt with under a minute to go that could have tied the game. FSU starting QB Drew Weatherford missed the game due to an ankle injury but his replacement, Xavier Lee, performed well. FSU leading receiver De’Cody Fagg also missed the game with an ankle injury. Maryland students rushed the field as the final seconds ticked off the clock of a 27-24 Terps victory.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Sam Hollenbach (131 yards, 3 TD)
  • FSU: Xavier Lee (286 yards, 2 TD)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Keon Lattimore (10 carries, 43 yards)
  • FSU: Antone Smith (14 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Darrius Heyward-Bey (3 rec, 57 yards, 2 TD)
  • FSU: Chris Davis (8 rec, 132 yards, 1 TD)

2007

After purchasing the naming rights to Maryland’s Byrd Stadium in 2006, Chevy Chase Bank worked with the university’s athletic department to provide free black t-shirts to the first 5,000 students attending the Terps’ home matchup with No. 4 West Virginia. Unfortunately, the Terps’ run defense couldn’t contain the talented Mountaineer rushing attack led by Steve Slaton and Noel Devine. Slaton finished the game with three touchdowns and 137 rushing yards, and Devine added 136 yards on just five carries. Maryland’s offense couldn’t get much going either, and the Mountaineers defeated the Terps by a final score of 31-14.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Jordan Steffy (180 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)
  • WVU: Pat White (95 yards)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Keon Lattimore (21 carries, 80 yards, 1 TD)
  • WVU: Steve Slaton (26 carries, 137 yards, 3 TD); Noel Devine (5 carries, 136 yards)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Darrius Heyward-Bey (3 rec, 56 yards); Danny Oquendo (3 rec, 55 yards, 1 TD)
  • WVU: Darius Reynaud (4 rec, 55 yards)

2008

The Terps didn’t fare quite as well against Florida State for this home blackout game as they did in 2006. No. 25 Maryland was crushed by the unranked Seminoles for the Terps’ first home loss of the year (previously 6-0 at home). Maryland didn’t get on the board until the third quarter, when Obi Egekeze kicked a 34-yard field goal for the Terps’ lone score of the night. Maryland committed four turnovers, and the Seminoles came away with an easy 37-3 win.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Chris Turner (149 yards, 2 INT)
  • FSU: Christian Ponder (143 yards, 1 TD)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Da’Rel Scott (12 carries, 82 yards)
  • FSU: Christian Ponder (14 carries, 81 yards, 1 TD); Antone Smith (13 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Dan Gronkowski (4 rec, 46 yards)
  • FSU: Preston Parker (8 rec, 67 yards, 1 TD)

2009

The 2009 blackout game at Byrd Stadium marked the first time that the game was not played at night under the lights. The 21st ranked Hokies picked apart the Maryland defense en route to a 36-9 victory. Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, now in his fourth year as Joe Flacco’s backup for the Baltimore Ravens, had a career day. VT racked up 289 yards in the first half and 484 by the final whistle. The Terps donned black, camouflage-patterned uniforms as a tribute to Army veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project. The loss was the Terps’ eighth in a woeful 2-10 season.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Jamarr Robinson (104 yards)
  • VA Tech: Tyrod Taylor (268 yards, 3 TD)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Jamarr Robinson (24 carries, 129 yards)
  • VA Tech: Ryan Williams (23 carries, 126 yards, 1 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Torrey Smith (4 rec, 55 yards)
  • VA Tech: Jarrett Boykin (3 rec, 118 yards, 1 TD)

2010

Maryland hosted Florida State for their 2010 blackout game, marking the third time in six years the athletic department chose the Terps’ matchup with the Seminoles for the annual blackout game. Maryland, 7-3 at the time, found themselves down 23-16 with less than a minute to go in the game. But a pass from freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien in the red zone was intercepted by the Seminoles and returned 90 yards to seal the victory for FSU. Maryland had committed just eight turnovers through ten games, but three fourth-quarter turnovers doomed the Terps in this one. Final score: FSU 30, Terps 16.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Danny O’Brien (269 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)
  • FSU: Christian Ponder (170 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Da’Rel Scott (10 carries, 87 yards); Davin Meggett (11 carries, 72 yards)
  • FSU: Chris Thompson (8 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Torrey Smith (7 rec, 69 yards); Will Yeatman (5 rec, 47 yards, 1 TD)
  • FSU: Bert Reed (6 rec, 93 yards, 1 TD)

2011

In 2011, current head coach Randy Edsall’s first year with the team, the athletic department unveiled new football uniforms. While the team seemed to wear a different, unique combination of red, black, and gold each week, the 2011 season did not include a traditional “blackout game.” In the second game of the season, Maryland faced #18 West Virginia and wore all-black uniforms. The game was not promoted as a blackout game, the crowd was not encouraged to wear black Terps gear, and the game was played during the day. The Mountaineers, led by quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Tavon Austin, held on for a 37-31 win despite a furious Maryland comeback. Although not a traditional blackout game, for the sake of uniformity (no pun intended), here’s some game footage and offensive statistics:

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Danny O’Brien (289 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT)
  • WVU: Geno Smith (388 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Davin Meggett (19 carries, 113 yards, 1 TD); D.J. Adams (12 carries, 64 yards, 2 TD)
  • WVU: Andrew Buie (7 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Kevin Dorsey (9 rec, 79 yards, 1 TD); Matt Furstenburg (7 rec, 70 yards)
  • WVU: Tavon Austin (11 rec, 122 yards); Stedman Bailey (8 rec, 113, 1 TD)

2012

Maryland unveiled a new “Black Ops” uniform for its annual blackout home game against, you guessed it, Florida State. The 2012 season was a particularly memorable one for Terps fans, but certainly not for the right reasons. Quarterback Danny O’Brien transferred before the start of the season, and four Terrapin quarterbacks fell to season-ending injuries over the next several weeks. This paved the way for a freshman linebacker, Shawn Petty, to finish out the season under center. The 10th ranked Seminoles had their way with the quarterbackless Terps en route to a 41-14 win. Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel contributed 144 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns, and FSU as a team accumulated 237 rushing yards.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: Shawn Petty (136 yards, 2 TD)
  • FSU: E.J. Manuel (144 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Brandon Ross (11 carries, 30 yards)
  • FSU: Devonta Freeman (16 carries, 148 yards, 2 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Kevin Dorsey (2 rec, 75 yards, 2 TD); Stefon Diggs (3 rec, 45 yards)
  • FSU: Rashad Greene (4 rec, 50 yards, 1 TD); Nick O’Leary (3 rec, 46 yards, 1 TD)

2013

In last season’s blackout game, the Terps squared off against Syracuse in College Park and unveiled black “Maryland Pride” uniforms. The Terps needed a sixth win to become bowl eligible, but would have to wait at least one more week. Maryland committed five turnovers in the game, including three on their last three possessions of the first half. The Terrapin offense picked up where it left off on its first possession of the second half, as a fumbled snap from center led to another turnover and a Syracuse field goal. The Orange scored a late touchdown to seal the 20-3 victory in a sloppy, low-scoring affair.

Game Leaders:

Passing:

  • Terps: C.J. Brown (211 yards, 2 INT)
  • SYR: Terrel Hunt (140 yards, 1 INT)

Rushing:

  • Terps: Brandon Ross (15 carries, 54 yards)
  • SYR: Jerome Smith (28 carries, 118 yards, 2 TD)

Receiving:

  • Terps: Amba Etta-Tawo (6 rec, 109 yards)
  • SYR: Brisly Estime (4 rec, 40 yards); Jarrod West (3 rec, 42 yards)

2014

Twelfth-ranked Michigan State is coming off a loss to Ohio State, a game in which the Spartans allowed OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett to have a career night. Barrett threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for 86 yards and another two scores. The Spartans still boast a 7-2 overall record and are arguably the second-best team in the Big Ten after the loss to the Buckeyes.

Maryland is coming off a bye week, but clinched bowl eligibility the week before by defeating Penn State in a sloppy, but thrilling road victory. The Terps will be without their top offensive performer of 2014, as receiver Stefon Diggs was suspended for his antics stemming from a pregame scuffle and the infamous handshake snub before kickoff of the game in Happy Valley. It has been reported that Diggs will in fact miss the remainder of the regular season with a lacerated kidney, an injury he sustained trying to stretch the ball across the goal line during the Terps’ 20-19 victory over the Nittany Lions.

The Spartans are the highest-ranked opponent Maryland has faced this season. Unfortunately for the Terps, history has a strong chance of repeating itself this Saturday unless the defense can contain Michigan State’s talented duo of quarterback Connor Cook and running back Jeremy Langford. Maryland receivers Deon Long, Marcus Leak and Amba Etta-Tawo will need to somehow fill the void left by Diggs’ absence, and quarterback C.J. Brown must find some semblance of an offensive rhythm for Maryland to stand a chance against one of the better college football teams in the nation.