Maryland's promising season derailed by QB injuries
Nov. 27, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A season that began with a stirring upset victory ended with a humiliating thud for Maryland, a program that a step backward in coach DJ Durkin's second year at the school.
Coming off a 6-7 season that included a bowl game, the Terrapins encountered an inordinate amount of injuries to their quarterbacks and staggered to a 4-8 finish, including 2-7 in the Big Ten.
The sad thing is, the team was filled with optimism after opening the season with a 41-31 victory on the road over then-23rd ranked Texas. But quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome tore an ACL in that game, and by season's end five different players had called signals in Durkin's no-huddle attack.
A stretch of six defeats in seven games was finalized with a 66-3 loss to Penn State on Saturday.
"That Texas game feels like it was about eight years ago right now," Durkin said afterward. "We definitely had a plan, a mindset and a culture to build, but we got hit pretty hard with injuries at one spot."
After Pigrome went down, Kasim Hill served as an ample substitute until he too tore an ACL in Week 3 against Central Florida. Max Bortenschlager filled in the rest of the way, with backup Caleb Henderson seeing limited action and Ryan Brand making a start against Michigan because Bortenschlager was too hurt to play.
That's a lot to deal with, and Maryland simply didn't do a good job of it.
"We could have handled it a little better. It's obvious," senior linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr . said. "We let our situation define who we are."
Carter won't be back, and it remains to be seen if standout junior receiver DJ Moore will return after setting the school single-season record for receptions with 80 and becoming only the third player in program history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in yards receiving over one season.
Moore tried his best to make the Maryland offense work, but he simply couldn't do it alone.
"Probably the most unpredictable thing that can happen to a team is having so many quarterbacks go down in one year," he said. "At the end of the day, the playmakers just have to make plays."
Next year, the Terps will be able to start anew at quarterback. And perhaps the experience they endured this season will pay off in 2018.
"We're here to win, and win the conference," Durkin said. "I really think that we're putting the right pieces together to be able to do that moving forward. We've had our share of adversity this year. I think in some ways we handled it well, in some ways we didn't. All of that is something we can learn from and grow from moving forward."
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