Travelling to Death Valley with a depleted roster on both sides of the ball and in the midst of a three-game losing streak, not much was expected of Maryland against Clemson on Saturday. The Terps obliged, playing poorly in all facets of the game en route to a 45-10 loss.
Clemson received to start out the game, and after an early first down Maryland's defense was able to buckle down and force a punt. On the Terps' ensuing possession, they earned a rare first down on a ten-yard run by Shawn Petty before being forced to punt.
The Tigers opened up the floodgates at that point, scoring seemingly at will and never looking back. First there was a 13-yard touchdown pass to Adam Humphries, and on the next play from scrimmage Shawn Petty rolled out to the left side and just lost the ball as he went back to pass. Corey Crawford recovered and ran 16 yards to the end zone.
Tajh Boyd fumbled later in the quarter, and Joe Vellano recovered. Two plays later, Petty fumbled again, and Boyd completed a 28-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins later in the drive to make it 21-0. On Clemson's next drive, Boyd completed a 22-yard score to Brandon Ford, but it would be Maryland who scored next.
Naturally, the Terrapins' score came off fortuitous field position as a result of a turnover. Nate Renfro punted from the Maryland 43, and Humphries muffed it. Anthony Nixon recover at the 18, and Shawn Petty found a wide open Devonte Campbell in the end zone two plays later to make it 28-7.
It's worth noting that Maryland actually scored a touchdown - that was not a guarantee by any means with the offense they threw out there on Saturday. Much has been made of the linebacker-playing-quarterback turn by Petty, but top running Wes Brown and top everything Stefon Diggs also missed the game. In fact, only four healthy wide receivers made the trip - one of them a true freshman (Levern Jacobs) and another a walk-on (James Bowman).
The Terps, however, did get a surprising amount of offensive production out of Brandon Ross, Brown's replacement. After a strong late showing against Georgia Tech, the redshirt freshman from Delaware had 16 carries for 100 yards against Clemson. While that may not be enough to push Wes Brown for his starting job, it will certainly give him more opportunities over the rest of the year.
The disparity between the offenses was particularly highlighted by the difference in quarterbacking play. Boyd finished 18/26 for 261 yards and three touchdowns, making repeated pinpoint throws to receivers in the end zone, while Petty was 6/12 for 41 yards and a touchdown and struggled to get his throws off.
Maryland, now at 4-6, has two win their remaining two games to become bowl-eligible. They host Florida State, the only team to beat Clemson, next week, before a trip to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina.