In his last game at Byrd Stadium, Maryland running back Brandon Ross turned in his best performance as a Terrapin. The senior helped the Terps pull out to an 18-point lead, which they quickly squandered, losing 47-28 to Indiana on senior day.
Not long after the senior day pregame festivities concluded, the Hoosiers stuffed Maryland's Joe Riddle on the Terps' first play of the game. On the very next snap, Ross broke a 79-yard touchdown run to give his team at 7-0 lead.
"It's different in the beginning of the game, when your first run is a negative yardage play or something like that," he said. "I feel like its all about momentum or a rhythm. It really kick-started the day."
Ross had 116 rushing yards after only 4 carries. He finished the day with 250 yards rushing on 19 carries, obliterating his previous career high of 150 yards on the ground.
Maryland is 2-9 on the season, with fans and players alike looking for bright spots on a team that hasn't won a game since September. Ross had one Satuday.
"It felt great, I can't even lie," he said. "I couldn't script it any better, my last game in Byrd Stadium, to have that kind of performance. I wish we would have got the win, but personally, it felt good to have that kind of game and really jump-start the offense."
After Maryland received the ball to start the second half, Ross zoomed for another one.
"I had a run on the perimeter," he said. "Malcolm [Culmer] had a good block downfield. I just followed his blocks, picked up my feet at the end and scored.
"It was a refreshing change of pace," guard Ryan Doyle said. "To see him running down the field after you make a block, it's a good feeling."
After he brought the fans who made the trip to Byrd (not many) to their feet with two touchdown runs in the first quarter, Indiana stormed back, scoring 27 unanswered points during a 44-7 run over the final three quarters. After Ross's fast start, the Hoosiers were able to contain Maryland's running attack later on. Excluding Ross's 75-yard run, Maryland only had 62 yards on the ground in the second half.
"They adjusted obviously, and became a more aggressive team," interim head coach Mike Locksley said. "They blitzed a lot more, which kind of negated the run game, and allowed them to get a little further ahead and now we're playing behind with a loaded box, and that forces Shane [Cockerille] to try to throw the ball to win."
Obviously, a running back doesn't get his yards all by himself. Ross received some key blocks on every run that gave him open space.
"I just saw huge holes, that's it," Ross said. "I have to give all the credit to the offensive line, of course. They were just opening them up all game, and the wideouts as well. I was just following their blocks"
While Ross's performance helped the Terps get out to an early lead, the rest of the team couldn't match up with Indiana.
"As an offense, and a team, we just got too relaxed," Ross said. "They scored two quick touchdowns, next thing you know, the score is 21-17. We just couldn't counter."