The 2007 season was possibly the craziest in college football history. SB Nation has an in-depth look at the madness one decade later. Here at Testudo Times, we reflect on a roller-coaster Maryland season that caused plenty of mayhem.
Maryland entered 2007 on the heels of an 9-4 season, when it advanced to a bowl game for the first time since 2003. The Terps lost quarterback Sam Hollenbach to graduation, but returned the dynamic running back tandem of Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball. Jordan Steffy replaced Hollenbach under center and had mixed results. He was a highly efficient quarterback, but struggled to finish drives and make Maryland’s offense less one-dimensional. For the two most memorable games of the year, though, a different quarterback shined.
The Terps were 2-2 heading into a showdown against No. 10 Rutgers, but something was different that night.
It might now sound weird hearing that Rutgers was ranked, but head coach Greg Schiano had built the Scarlet Knights into a solid program. Future NFL players Ray Rice, Jeremy Zuttah and Tiquan Underwood were named First Team All-Big East that year, and Kenny Britt was named to the second team.
Maryland relied heavily on the run game in the first half, with 25 running plays and just nine passing plays. Following a field goal by the Scarlet Knights on the first drive, Obi Egekeze missed a field goal and Lattimore was stuffed on fourth-and-1. But on the last play of the first quarter, Steffy completed a 39-yard pass to LaQuan Williams, and Ball scored on a 19 yard scamper four plays later. After forcing a fumble on a punt return, Steffy found Darrius Heyward-Bey on the following drive.
Sadly for Steffy, his career night was ruined by what was the start of an injury-prone career. He suffered a concussion at the end of the first half. Rutgers then took a 17-14 lead heading into halftime.
Chris Turner came in for the injured Steffy; it was his first time being in a close game all season, as he had only appeared in mop-up duty earlier that fall. But he led Maryland to back-to-back field goals to retake the lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Lattimore scored from two yards out to extend the Terps lead, and Maryland hung on for a 34-24 victory.
Turner finished 14-of-20 with 149 yards, and was named ACC Co-Offensive Back of the Week for his performance. —JF
They followed this up with another top-10 win against Boston College in November.
Turner was still under center for this contest, with Matt Ryan on the other side. Boston College entered College Park 8-1 and ranked No. 8 in the country; the Eagles had climbed to No. 2 before suffering their first loss to Florida State the week prior.
The Terps jumped on the gas early, starting the scoring with a six-play, 76-yard touchdown drive culminating in Turner’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Jason Goode. BC scored on its first drive, and the teams traded scoresin the late first and early second quarters. A pair of Obi Egekeze field goals gave Maryland a 20-14 lead at halftime.
Ryan led the Eagles on a 67-yard touchdown drive to start the second half, giving his team the lead for the first time all night. But Turner and Goode linked up again for another touchdown on the ensuing drive, and a 57-yard breakaway catch-and-run by Da’Rel Scott brought Maryland’s lead to 34-21. Darrius Heyward-Bey extended the lead to three scores with a 37-yard run early in the fourth.
BC didn’t go down easy, as Ryan found Ryan Purvis twice in the end zone. The second touchdown trimmed the score to 42-35 with 52 seconds left. However, the Terps ultimately held on, and fans stormed the field after the upset.
The victory moved Maryland to 5-5, and the Terps would split their last two regular-season games to earn a spot in the Emerald Bowl, which they’d lose to Oregon State. BC recovered to reach the ACC title game, but fell to Virginia Tech. Ryan was taken third overall in the NFL Draft, and he just won an MVP (and damn near won a Super Bowl) with the Falcons.
Maryland’s 6-7 record doesn’t jump out in the team record books, but this was the only Terps team to ever knock off two top-10 teams in one year. The 2007 season was known for upsets all over the place, and Maryland made quite the contribution. —TK