After trailing for a good portion of Saturday's game, Maryland managed to take the lead against visiting NC State Saturday early in the fourth quarter on a 48-yard Brad Craddock field goal. After some big stops on defense, the Terps looked like they might hold out for their third straight conference win - improbably, after quarterback Perry Hills had been knocked out earlier in the game on an illegal hit. Mike Glennon and the Wolfpack put together one last great drive, setting up a 43-yard field goal from Niklas Sade with 32 seconds to make it 20-18, N.C. State, and it looked to be over for the Terrapin faithful. True freshman Caleb Rowe burnt his redshirt for the last-ditch 30 second drive and miraculously ran for 11 yards and completed two passes for 50 more yards to set up Craddock for a 33-yard field goal. The Aussie, who missed an extra point earlier in the day, clanked it off the left upright with less than five seconds left, giving Maryland the loss. Let's hand out our grades, unit-by-unit, for the heartbreaking game.
Quarterbacks - A-. None of them threw for a touchdown, but all three who played impressed, considering two true freshman and a converted wide receiver were thrown out there. NC State is a tough defensive unit, and Hills played well before suffering the terrible injury, completing 12/20 passes for 159 yards and an interception on the same play. In came Devin Burns, who ran 12 times for 65 yards and a touchdown (excluding sack yardage) and completed three passes for 47 yards. On that aforementioned final drive, Rowe completed passes to Kevin Dorsey and Nigel King for 17 and 33 yards, respectively. Randy Edsall has said the quarterback for Saturday's game at Boston College will be a "game-time decision", but it would not be a surprise to see both Burns and Rowe play major roles in the game.
Running Backs - B+. A lot of folks have been calling this Wes Brown's "breakout game", but those of us paying attention to the contest against Connecticut saw his explosion occur then. Either way, this was the true freshman's most productive (and most active) game as a Terrapin thus far, with 25 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. Maryland fans can only hope that he has cemented his place as a starter, as they received lackluster performances again from Justus Pickett (four rushes for 13 yards) and Albert Reid (three rushes for eight yards).
Wide Receivers - B+. Again, no touchdowns for this group, but a solid effort all around. It was Marcus Leak this time who led the team in yardage (four receptions for 94 yards, including a 47-yarder), and it was Stefon Diggs who had the most catches (six for 61 yards). Dorsey had three catches for 36 yards, Matt Furstenburg had two receptions for 13 yards, and Nigel King and Levern Jacobs each contributed big plays down the stretch.
Offensive Line - C-. Brown racked up a lot of yardage, but that was in large part due to his sheer strength and ability to get yards after the first touch. Hills was sacked four times, Burns was sacked twice, and neither had much time in the pocket. This was a depleted unit playing against a strong Wolfpack front seven, but it was still a disappointing outing.
Defensive Line - B-. We said we didn't expect Tony Creecy to be much of a problem, and the Terps backed us up. Joe Vellano had ten tackles, including half a sack, and A.J. Francis had five with two pass deflections. Add in three tackles from Darius Kilgo, and it was an alright day for the D-Line. They were unable to get consistent pressure on Mike Glennon, who was only sacked twice, but didn't allow much on the ground.
Linebackers - A-. This unit continues to excel. Demetrius Hartsfield had 13 tackles (one for a loss) and a pass break-up, Darin Drakeford had six tackles with one and a half sacks, and Cole Farrand had six tackles of his own. Kenneth Tate only had three stops but had an incredibly athletic pass break-up, and it was a great outing for the foursome.
Secondary - C+. Glennon was held to a single yard in the first quarter, but a couple of mistakes by Eric Franklin led to a lot of yardage and a 68-yard touchdown for the Wolfpack. Jeremiah Johnson had a great game, with seven tackles and two pass breakups, and Anthony Nixon did well in Matt Robinson's stead again, with four stops.
Special Teams - Nope.
Not going there.
So now, three things Maryland has to improve to win on the road at Boston College.
1. Get an idea of what you're doing at quarterback. I'm all for a Burns/Rowe split, but I understand that some prefer a singular starting quarterback. Either way, that should be decided by yesterday, most likely.
2. Find an offensive line that works. Hills was injured on a illegal hit after an interception, but with the amount of times he's been hit this year it almost seemed inevitable. This is a patchwork group, but Coach Brattan should be able to put something together.
3. Find consistency in the secondary. Franklin made two noticeable mistakes, but had a big hit that broke up a pass later on and has, I think, been ragged on too much for a player who provides a ton of leadership on this defense. That being said, he can't let Bryan Underwood burn him 40 yards downfield.