Maryland football is 5-6 and needs a win Saturday at Penn State to reach a bowl game. The Terps are 13.5-point underdogs, but come in having lost their last two games by three total points, including a 52-51 defeat at the hands of Ohio State on senior day.
Interim head coach Matt Canada addressed the media for the final time in the regular season Tuesday afternoon. He discussed the good and bad from the Ohio State game, the challenges Penn State presents and more.
Maryland Interim HC Matt Canada with one last weekly press conference before the 2018 season finale at Penn State. https://t.co/5LPfMyaTj8— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) November 20, 2018
Maryland held the lead for most of the game against Ohio State, but the Buckeyes amassed 688 yards of total offense to keep pace. Ohio State tied the game twice in the fourth quarter and took the lead in overtime, and Maryland’s touchdown in response was followed by a failed two-point conversion. Tyrrell Pigrome rolling right and missing an open Jeshaun Jones in the end zone has been widely dissected and discussed over the past few days, but Canada said neither player has dwelled too much on that singular play.
“Everybody sees the last play. We all know what the last play was, and that’s part of being the quarterback,” Canada said. “Every game that you win or lose and you play quarterback and it’s a close game, you’re gonna be talked about in the first couple paragraphs of the article. Either you made a big-time play to win the game, or you didn’t make a big-time play and you lost the game. That’s part of it. It’s the greatest position in all of sports. [Pigrome] understands that. He wishes it was different, I wish it was different ... but there are a bunch of plays that I wish were different. It doesn’t fall on that play. It was a big play, but it doesn’t fall just on that one.”
At this stage of the season, every team is banged up to varying degrees. Maryland didn’t have senior running back Ty Johnson or junior guard Terrance Davis last weekend, but Canada is “hopeful” both will return to the field Saturday. Johnson has missed two of the last three games and left the Indiana game with an injury; missing this weekend’s contest could mean an anticlimactic end to a decorated Maryland career.
This is also potentially Canada’s last game as Maryland’s interim head coach. When asked about the season it’s been, he reiterated that he loves his job and loves coaching football at the college level. It’s been an emotional journey since he came over in January, but he continues to speak glowingly of everyone in the program.
“I’ve had fun being a coach, and the situation and the role and all that really has just been, ‘Just kind of do your job where you are at the time,’ and that’s what I’ve done. That’s what we’ve all done,” Canada said. “We’ve all just stepped up and done our job, focused on our players—we’re really proud of how our players have played, but ... especially the last two weeks, I wish the kids would’ve won and had that success. And obviously Saturday, my only focus will be finding a way to win the game.”