Posted: 6:48 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
By Pete Volk
Maryland came into Wake Forest as a touchdown favorite to secure bowl eligibility, despite an injury-riddled defense and a quarterback recovering from a concussion. The Terps got absolutely manhandled by the Demon Deacons, as injuries continued to pile up and Maryland suffered a blowout loss, 34-10. Maryland is now 0-13 under Randy Edsall in games in the second half of the season.
Maryland really struggled to get anything going on offense early, as defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock proved to be a notable mismatch on the inside. Even when double-teamed, Whitlock's quickness proved to be too much for Maryland's offensive line, breaking through and making big plays to stop Terrapin drives.
The Terps' problems compounded through a series of misfortunes -- Deon Long suffered what looked to be a broken ankle and C.J. Brown threw two interceptions, as the Terrapins found themselves with a 24-3 halftime deficit.
Maryland's defense gave up a lot of points and was uncharacteristically poor in short-field situations, but much of the fault has to fall on the Terrapin offense, who gifted the Demon Deacons with fantastic field position on nearly every drive.
Many of the offensive problems came on the Terrapin line, which has struggled throughout the year and had one of their worst outings Saturday afternoon. Whitlock and the Demon Deacon front seven repeatedly got through to C.J. Brown, Brandon Ross, and anyone else who was in the backfield, forcing negative plays (or worse) and never letting the Terrapin offense run.
Caleb Rowe came in at quarterback late in the third quarter, and it paid dividends immediately for the Terps. After a short pass completion to Amba Etta-Tawo, he found Levern Jacobs for a 56-yard score to make it a two-touchdown game. The sophomore struggled the rest of the way, however, and the Terrapins never found themselves in the game.
For Maryland, it's a loss that begs you to think differently of the team. It's safe to say this is their fifth straight game that they have played poorly, but only twice have teams been able to capitalize and beat the Terps. Even at 5-2, bowl eligibility is not a guarantee, and a home contest against a poor Syracuse team (who still beat NC State on the road) is looking like the most likely win.
The focus will obviously turn to the health of Deon Long and Stefon Diggs, who both suffered injuries in the game (as did running back Brandon Ross). 11 starters on the season-opening depth chart found themselves off the field today, with most of those coming as a result of injury.
The other question? Quarterback. Many will be calling for the installation of Caleb Rowe as the starter, but the sophomore didn't exactly wow in his time under center, repeatedly overthrowing Terrapin receivers and engineering exactly as many scoring drives as Brown. Rowe was likely put in due to the large deficit Maryland was facing -- there's no denying he's the better passer -- but it's unlikely anyone but Brown will start next week against Clemson.