Maryland football is 1-0 after an upset victory over Texas, but the Terps will have to proceed without two key players. Sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome is out for the season, while senior defensive end Jesse Aniebonam will miss “several months,” DJ Durkin announced Tuesday.
Pigrome tore his ACL at the end of the third quarter and will have surgery later this week. Aniebonam fractured his ankle earlier in the same period. He isn’t necessarily out for the season, Durkin said, but he’ll have surgery Tuesday afternoon and begin the rehab process.
Cornerback Antwaine Richardson, meanwhile, is day-to-day. Richardson also went down in the second half Saturday, and was motionless on the ground until a stretcher and cart took him away. Richardson is still undergoing concussion protocol.
Losing Pigrome thins the quarterback position significantly.
After winning the Terps’ quarterback competition thanks to an offseason of improvement, Pigrome completed 9 of 12 passes for 126 yards, two touchdowns and a pick-six against the Longhorns. The sophomore’s running prowess was on full display, as he added 66 yards on 11 carries, including a touchdown. But toward the end of the third quarter, he was injured on a scramble. The ACL injury will sideline him for the year.
Kasim Hill filled in for Pigrome in the final quarter on Saturday, and the quarterback job appears to be his for the foreseeable future. The true freshman came close to winning the job in camp, and went 3-for-3 with 44 passing yards and added a rushing touchdown in his college debut. He’ll be backed up by sophomore Max Bortenschlager and, if healthy, redshirt junior Caleb Henderson.
Aniebonam’s injury stings just as much.
Aniebonam was one of the Terps’ most notable returning defensive players this year, as his nine sacks in 2016 led the team. But after recording two tackles on Saturday, the senior suffered his injury early in the third quarter.
In his absence, Maryland is expected to turn to redshirt junior Melvin Keihn and true freshman Bryce Brand. Keihn notched 24 tackles and two tackles for loss in 2016; Brand’s only tackle Saturday was a sack of Texas quarterback Shane Buechele. It’s also possible that the Terps move senior defensive end Chandler Burkett to Aniebonam’s BUCK spot, where Burkett saw time last year, and start junior Brett Kulka across the line for the time being.
This Maryland team is arguably as well-equipped to handle injuries as any in recent years, but it’s never easy to replace talented players for an extended time. But that’s what DJ Durkin and his team will have to do.