Maryland spring game recap: Offense struggles in sluggish scrimmage

Rob Carr

The passing game struggled without Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, but there were still some bright spots.

Maryland held their Red-White Spring Game Friday, delivering a sluggish performance in front of a few hundred fans (many of whom left at halftime as rain started to pour in College Park).

The secondary and running backs won the day -- Will Likely hauled in two interceptions while Alvin Hill and A.J. Hendy each recorded one, while Brandon Ross ran for two touchdowns (including a 75-yarder) and Jacquille Veii delivered another solid spring performance.

The quarterbacks all struggled throughout the game -- C.J. Brown threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, Perry Hills threw another pick, and Caleb Rowe and Shane Cockerille did not fare much better. Taivon Jacobs was the lone bright spot of the passing game, although Amba Etta-Tawo hauled in an impressive touchdown grab (over third-team players).

Despite their very real struggles, the White Team ended up winning with the bizarre scoring system, by a final score of 187-143.

Some play-by-play, for those interested:

The Red team entered the game with a 70-58 lead, counting back previous practices using the following scoring system:

Maryland saw a few promising plays on their opening drive from the first-team offense -- C.J. Brown scrambled for a 10-yard gain, found Nigel King for a 8-yard toss and connected with Jacquille Veii for a 19-yard screen pass.

Caleb Rowe connected with Malcolm Culmer for a nice gain on his first drive with the second-team. Just a few plays later, Undray Clark dropped a sure interception on a poor throw by Rowe, setting up a punt.

On the first play of the next drive, Brown tossed a beautiful pass to Kenneth Goins on a wheel route, but the fullback dropped the wide-open ball. Brown connected with Taivon Jacobs on the next two plays, earning the first down. On the next play, Brown through a sweet deep ball to Nigel King, but Will Likely grabbed on and appeared to ripped the ball out of the receiver's hands for the interception. King was credited for the catch, however, and Brown found Goins for the touchdown three plays later to take the 82-80 lead.

Perry Hills nearly threw an interception to A.J. Hendy on his first play of the game, but found Amba Etta-Tawo on a curl route two plays later for the first down. Hills found Etta-Tawo on a curl route for another first down, and Clarnece Murphy followed up with a sack on the next play. Avery Thompson delivered a big hit on Joe Riddle on the next play, and Hills was sacked again by Murphy, continuing the defense's domination of the third-team offense.

Alvin Hill picked off C.J. Brown on a deep ball on the first play of the next drive -- a great sign, as Maryland will need Hill to become a consistent force at the boundary corner. Adam Greene capped off the next drive with a field goal, and Albert Reid started the next one with a long run.

Two plays later, Will Likely made another great play, cutting in to pick off another poor Brown pass. On the ensuing drive, Shane Cockerille threw a deep ball to Amba Etta-Tawo, who was able to jump over A.J. Hendy and Michael Washington to bring home the touchdown.

Brown connected with Veii on another screen pass for a first down on the next drive, but got blown up two plays later by Undray Clark (who was hurt on the play). Brandon Ross helped his cause on the next drive, breaking through the middle for a 75-yard touchdown just about untouched while working with the second team.

On Hills's next drive, the quarterback threw one pass to no one in particular down the sideline, and found his next pass intercepted for a touchdown by A.J. Hendy. Brown scrambled for a touchdown on the next drive, eluding two defenders and marching into the end zone.

The White team held a 141-117 lead heading into halftime, with an astonishing four interceptions in the opening two periods (with three of them squarely on bad throws).

Things got worse in the second half with the rain, like not even writing it down worse. There were fumbles, incomplete backwards passes and just about any other sort of shenanigans you can think of.

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