Maryland football, if you haven’t heard, is coming down the stretch with either its third- or fourth- or fifth-string quarterback—it’s getting hard to discern what the order actually is. And these quarterbacks are facing some of the Big Ten’s toughest defenses: Michigan last week, Michigan State on Saturday and Penn State to close 2017.
So the Terps have reached into their Under Armour bag of tricks.
Against the Wolverines, Maryland had three non-quarterbacks throw a pass. Two of those were to quarterback Ryan Brand. The first was a screen pass from Lorenzo Harrison that fell out of the wide-open quarterback’s hands. The second came from wideout D.J. Moore, who found Brand on a double-reverse for 21 yards and a first down.
It helps that Brand is dynamic enough as a runner to make plays with these passes, but it also speaks to the Terps’ level of desperation.
“You’re not gonna try to manufacture a reverse pass or a quarterback throw back—that was wide open—with a kid like Max [Bortenschlager] that’s not a great athlete,” offensive coordinator Walt Bell said Wednesday, “and you’re going against a great defense, so I think it’s a combination of both.”
Maryland also used Moore on a punt, then faked its next punt. Both calls were made to try catching Michigan off guard. Moore is a superb playmaker, but moonlighted as a kicker and punter in high school, so he was able to swing field position. The fake punt, a play that head coach DJ Durkin said was “screwed up from the very beginning,” resulted in a three-yard connection from Jake Funk to Jacquille Veii on 4th and 7.
So the success rate was rather low on these trick plays, and Maryland lost the game by 25 points despite outgaining the Wolverines for the day. But don’t expect the Terps to depart from this strategy anytime soon.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve gotta put one foot in front of the other and go try to create—in whatever way possible that you can—some points, and give our team a chance to win,” Bell said.
In other news
The Maryland men’s soccer late-season collapse turned into a season-ending collapse on Thursday night with a penalty-kick loss to Albany in the NCAA Tournament. The Terps, who started 10-0-3, will sit on a six-game losing streak until next fall.
At least we’ll always have this Diamondback feature on goalie Dayne St. Clair, who was a bright spot in goal all season.
In better news, the women’s basketball team picked up a win on an electric Field Trip Day.
In even better news, Maryland field hockey is in the Final Four, and plays today at 4:45 p.m. ET. The Terps’ fortunes turned after a September loss to Michigan, and those teams will meet again.
Here’s The Baltimore Sun on Linnea Gonzales and her autistic older brother Landon, who’s one of Maryland’s most vocal supporters.
Men’s lacrosse has the championship that those other teams are (or were) seeking. Here’s the 2018 schedule.