Ugh. That was a tough loss. Quite an emotional roller coaster. From thinking Maryland was going to win, to thinking they were going to lose, to thinking they were going to win again, then a cling off the left upright giving everyone a gut punch with two seconds left. [Ben B.: I just got reminded of something someone said on Twitter: it's like having your heart ripped out, put back in, then ripped out again.]
First and foremost, the most important and unfortunate news from this game was the injury to freshman quarterback Perry Hills. When Hills went down, injured while trying to make a tackle after throwing a pick, I noticed the training staff working on his knee. After he was carted off, he couldn't put any pressure on his left leg as he walked into the locker room. After the game, Edsall confirmed it was indeed a knee injury and it unfortunately looked serious.
"Perry has a knee injury. We will wait to see what the MRI tells about it, but it doesn't look good," Edsall said.
Following the game, I saw offensive coordinator Mike Locksley talking to Hills, who was on crutches, telling him that he could and will recover from his injury. That makes me speculate that his injury is not good and could be something as severe as an ACL or MCL tear. We'll probably hear for sure soon, but that's just my guess.
After Hills went down, sophomore Devin Burns came into the game and really ignited Maryland's offense, specifically the running game. In the first half, Maryland finished with a net 41 rushing yards. In the second half, they had 165, finishing the game with a total of 206 rushing yards. Maryland's offense might have been as efficient as I've seen all season with Burns running the show.
Burns also didn't miss a beat when he stepped in, especially to start the second half. Credit for that goes to both Edsall and Locksley, who did a great job preparing Burns (and Rowe) for this very situation.
"I thought that Devin Burns came in and played well as a backup" Edsall said. "Caleb [Rowe] also came in and executed the two-minute drill with perfection. That is something that we have been working on and planned on bring in Devin if something happened to Perry and use Caleb in the two-minute offense. We got the ball down there, but unfortunately Brad [Craddock] didn't make it and we came up two points short."
The play of both Devin Burns and freshman Caleb Rowe, who burned his redshirt when he came in for the final drive, was impressive and bring thrown into the fire didn't seem to phase either player.
"Like Coach Edsall said, always be prepared. That's what I practice all week. I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity I was given," Burns said. When asked about maintaining his poise, Burns responded with "I think that is part of my personality because I'm I laid back guy. I don't say too much. I'm pretty much cool, calm and collected."
Edsall mentioned that, if the team found themselves in a situation where Hills was hurt and they in a two minute drill, Rowe was going in to run the offense. So when he got the call after N.C. State took the lead with just under 30 seconds remaining, Rowe was not surprised when he was put into the game.
"I wasn't surprised, coach always preaches to be prepared for whenever your number is called," Rowe said. "I work hard in practice and today I was ready to play. They were telling me through my headset to get ready to play."
The final quotes I want to get to involve Craddock and I want to bring up some of the reactions that happened during the game thread comments. I understand the emotion, frustration and disappointment that resulted in him missing that kick. But this game isn't on him. There are at least three other events in that game that you can't point to as the reason Maryland lost. The kid is a freshman, was supposed to be the back up, and is only 19. The entire team is behind him and we, as a fan base, should be too. I'm not saying you can't be frustrated or disappointed, but some stuff that's been said veers over the line. By the way, Craddock met with the media after the game and answered some tough questions.
"I just tried to look at my spot and kick the ball. I was just thinking to myself take your time because it's just like any other kick," Craddock said. "I actually thought I hit it pretty well. My teammates were really supportive because there were so many other opportunities during the game to earn those points. They kept telling me that it wasn't my fault, they are always supportive."
All of the players were obviously disappointed with the outcome, but all of them said they were trying to rally around Craddock.
"Things happen, can't do much more than cheer on your teammates and keep your head up," freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs said.
So as I said, obviously a lot of emotions fly during a game, but try to keep things in perspective.
I think Maryland can and will rebound from this loss against Boston College. And while that loss hurts, they're still in decent position to become bowl eligible, which is something many people didn't expect to be saying back in August.