Terps Break Records, Go Unnoticed in Loss

O'Brien sets freshman record; Smith 1st in ACC KO history

The Terps will only go as far as Danny O’Brien will take them – plain and simple. And when the redshirt freshman committed the team’s first turnover in three games, the Terps lost. No, it’s not a coincidence – it’s more like science.

But O’Briens fourth interception of his career may have overcastted a glaring bright spot. His 134 yards passing against the Hurricanes put him at 1,282 on the season set a new Maryland freshman passing record, surpassing the 1,264 yards by Calvin McCall 11 years ago.

“The records to me are not a big deal. I’d rather win a game any day than get a record,” O’Brien said. “All the individual stuff will kind of take care of itself as long as we keep doing what we can do on offense.”

It is also important to note O’Brien has reached a number of other accolades in his six starts. Fourteen touchdown passes are the third-most in the FBA for freshmen signal-callers, and his pass efficiency rating ranks fifth in the ACC and seventh among his fellow freshmen. Did I mention he has earned ACC Freshman of the Week three times?

Yet O’Brien remains modest when it comes to reflecting on his individual achievements. Instead, he believes they represent a team effort, and the more success his team has, the more awards he will earn and records he will break.

“To me, it’s funny because at the quarterback position you are so dependent on having a good [offensive line], good receivers, a good running game,” O’Brien said. “It’s more of a team accomplishment even though it’s called an individual record. We have great receivers, great [offensive] line and running backs that make me look a lot better.”

Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, a four-year quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and multiple record holder at the Division II level, called O’Brien’s humility a trait possessed by all quarterbacks.

“As quarterbacks, all we do is worry about evaluate our game each week and evaluate the offense each week,” Franklin said, suggesting they focus on improving the offensive production or find ways to better the team. “The awards and records is something you look at after your career is over. The only stat you are worried about is wins and losses.”

So far, O’Brien sports a 4-2 record as the Terps’ starting quarterback with three more games remaining in the regular season.

Torrey Smith Breaks ACC Record for Kickoff Return Yardage

In 2008, North Carolina Tar Heels wideout Brandon Tate set the ACC record for career kickoff return yardage with 2,688, a mark surpassed by Maryland’s Torrey Smith Saturday against Miami.

When asked what the record meant, Smith had just one word to describe his gratification.

“Nothing,” Smith said. Later, he admitted: “Considering Brandon Tate is a pretty good return man I guess it is pretty cool.”

For Smith, the record was less meaningful considering the team’s 26-20 defeat. “You want to win first, and that’s the case with all of us on the team.”

It was, however, a chance to get the monkey off his back. No, it was not the stress of finally breaking the mark; it was simply getting his special teams coach out of his ear.

“I’m glad it’s over with because coach [Charles] Bankins has been cracking jokes with me about it for the past weeks,” with questions like, “Can you just get 11 yards?”

The 21-yard return came on his first return attempt of the game set the record at 2,724 for his career. It was Smith’s 110th attempt, just one more than it took Tate.

Sam Spiegelman

Twitter: @samspiegs


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