Maryland Deals With QB Loss

The Maryland Terrapins lost their second quarterback of the year Saturday when Perry Hills went down.

The Maryland Terrapins have lost their second quarterback this year after freshman Perry Hills tore his ACL after being blocked in the back in the second quarter of Saturday's game against the N.C. State Wolfpack.

The Terps lost their first-string quarterback, junior C.J. Brown, during training camp in August. Perry Hills, then the backup quarterback, was quickly promoted to the starting role and performed admirably through the first seven games, completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,336 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed 70 times, gaining 168 yards and finding the end zone three times.

After Brown went down late in the first half, sophomore quarterback Devin Burns came into the game, directing a spread-option offensive attack. Burns, who only just converted back to his high school position after playing wide receiver for the Terps until the Brown injury, completed three of four passes for 47 yards and rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown. After finding themselves down two points with 32 seconds left in the game, true freshman quarterback Caleb Rowe entered the game and perfectly executed the two-minute offense in half a minute, setting up a game winning field goal attempt that was shanked off the left upright.

"I think when you have a chance to see the two young men go out and perform,” Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday afternoon. “You saw Devin on Saturday and what he did in terms of his feet and his running ability, I think it kind of speaks for itself. Then we see Caleb come in and scramble out of the pocket and make some of the throws he did. They are both excellent quarterbacks. They are both guys I trust, our guys trust and our players trust to be able to do the job and do it effectively. We'll put a plan together knowing either one of those guys could go in the game and play at any given time.”

"Everybody saw it on Saturday,” senior offensive lineman Justin Gilbert said. “Devin definitely provides us a mobile quarterback. He's a very athletic guy. Caleb comes in and he's a gun slinger. He's a pocket passer. He gets back there and is not afraid to make plays. We see it every day in practice, we saw it on Saturday. He was throwing the ball down the field. Both of them bring their own things to the game. They both help our offense and we'll see who it is."

"They're all special in their own way,” freshman running back Wes Brown added. “Devin's special because he can run and he also can throw at the same time. Caleb is not as fast, but he's got an accurate ball, so he can hit those tight windows."

With both Brown and Hills out, the Terps are thin at the quarterback position. Burns and Rowe are the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart and Edsall plans on having linebacker Shawn Petty and tight end Brian McMahon take snaps at practice as quarterbacks to add more depth to what seems to be an injury-prone position for the Terps in recent history. Since quarterback Sam Hollenbach in 2006, no Maryland quarterback has ever started and finished the season.

“Once is an accident, twice is a trend, three times, it's kind of unbelievable,” senior defensive lineman A.J. Francis said. “It seems to end up happening.”

Always the fun and light-hearted teammate, Francis also talked to Edsall about moving him to play quarterback to add depth to the position.

“I told Coach Edsall on Sunday, I said I played quarterback in sixth grade,” Francis said. “He looked at me and he said, 'you know, I figure you got a pretty good arm, but I don't know if you'd be able to run the zone read. So because of that, I'm going to have to put you 18th string.' So I'm on the depth chart. If we had an 18-deep, I'd be on the depth chart at quarterback.”

Despite losing their starting quarterback and falling to N.C. State in a close game that came down to the wire, the Terps have continued to keep their spirits high and are focused on finishing out their season strong. The Terps need two more wins to become bowl eligible, a goal that is very reachable.

“There's no gloom around here,” Edsall said. “If you see our kids, they're not down in the dumps. It`s like the old mule that fell into the well without water in it, and the farmer doesn't know how to get the mule out of there, so he figures that he will just cover the old mule up. So what happens is, he start's throwing dirt down there, and the mule ends up just shaking it off and stepping up. And before you know it, there's enough dirt and he's at the top and just comes out of it. That's how I look at it. We are just trying to get win number five. The third win in the ACC and the fifth win overall. I just told our guys that everything we want is still ahead of us. That's what we have to have our focus on and prepare for to keep it that way.”

“Of course, we are all upset for Perry,” Gilbert said. “It's a terrible loss and back during camp when we lost C.J., but we are in the middle of a season right now where we are 4-3 and still have a good shot at the ACC [championship]. We just have to keep playing our game and we can't really let something, as tragic as it was, to slow us down. We have to keep building. Whoever goes in at quarterback this week, that's the guy who's leading us and play Maryland football.”

The Terps will travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to take on the Boston College Eagles at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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