The Maryland football team fell to Stanford, 45-21, in Tuesday night's Foster Farms Bowl, meekly concluding the Terps' first Big Ten season at a windy, desolate Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Stanford (8-5) brutalized Maryland (7-6) in every facet of the game, leaving little doubt about the outcome from early on. The Cardinal produced 414 yards of total offense to the Terrapins' 222 and held the ball for 37 of the game's 60 minutes while maintaining control practically from wire to wire. The game was played under extreme wind conditions and in front of few fans. A generously announced 34,780 attended at a venue that seats 68,500.
Maryland had some success moving the ball on offense early on, but a series of miscues stalled drives that could have amounted to more. The Terps' first drive ended when C.J. Brown badly overthrew an open Amba Etta-Tawo on third down. Their third drive, too, ended when a similarly open Daniel Adams let a Brown pass bounce off his chest. Those were harbingers of failures yet to come. The Terps looked threatening in spurts, but their mistakes and Stanford's stinginess prevented them from capitalizing to any meaningful extent.
Wes Brown scored a short-yardage touchdown on Maryland's second drive, but the Terps' offense was hardly heard from again. By the time the first half finished, the Terps trailed, 28-7, and had already been out-gained 242 yards to 149. Against Stanford's impressive defense, by that point, all was said and done.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey ran wild on the Maryland defense whenever he got the chance, while backfield partner Remound Wright plunged in for three touchdowns. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was breathlessly efficient all night. Even if Maryland hadn't stifled itself so often on offense, the Cardinal almost certainly would have run up enough points to win. Hogan finished 14-of-20 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 50 yards on 7 carries.
In the final appearance of a six-year Maryland career, Brown threw for 205 yards on 15-of-27 passing with one interception and ran for a late touchdown. Stefon Diggs, the junior receiver who could opt for the NFL Draft before next season, returned after a two-month layoff and gave the Terps a hugely productive outing: 10 catches on 10 targets for 138 yards. The program should know soon whether he will return for another year. If Tuesday's rout nudged Diggs in any direction, it likely wasn't toward staying on campus.
In the game's first quarter, senior defensive end Andre Monroe broke the university's all-time sacks record with his 25th career takedown of an opposing quarterback. It was the final collegiate start for Monroe and the other six members of Maryland's usual starting defensive front: Matt Robinson, L.A. Goree, Cole Farrand, Darius Kilgo, Keith Bowers and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil. All started games over multiple seasons under head coach Randy Edsall.
Capping off a brilliant sophomore season in which he intercepted six passes, Maryland cornerback Will Likely returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It did not come close to shifting the game's result.
Maryland's first, formative football season in the Big Ten Conference ended with the bowl's final whistle at 1:17 a.m. College Park time. The Terps lapsed only once against inferior competition, when they melted down late to lose at home against Rutgers on Nov. 29. But they were consistently non-competitive against superior opponents, a trend that kept up with Stanford's dominance. Next season, competing against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin – not to mention Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan – will be of paramount importance.
The Terrapins' Sept. 5 opener against Richmond at Byrd Stadium is 247 days away.