- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien’s penultimate snap in Saturday’s 45-21 loss to Notre Dame was an interception returned for a touchdown.

On his final play, he fractured a bone in his left (non-throwing) arm and was lost for the rest of the season.

It was just that sort of year for the sophomore, who will need three months to recover from the latest bad break to afflict both him and the Terrapins (2-8, 1-5).

“Thanks to everyone for the thoughts & prayers,” O'Brien tweeted early Sunday. “Clean break in the humerus, out 12 weeks. God has a plan, keepin the faith.”

And with that, first-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall’s ceaseless search for a start-to-finish quarterback solved itself in a most undesirable way.

Sophomore C.J. Brown, who started three games last month, is the lone remaining scholarship quarterback on the roster. He’ll almost certainly get the nod when Maryland visits Wake Forest (5-5, 4-3) on Saturday in a game that will kick off at 3 p.m. and be televised locally by Comcast SportsNet.

Troy Jones, a freshman walk-on from the St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, is the only other eligible quarterback on the Terps’ roster. Edsall said Sunday that senior wide receiver Tony Logan, who played quarterback in high school and served as a last-ditch option earlier in his college career, will be Maryland’s emergency quarterback.

The potential backup plans will only last two games for Maryland, which has dropped six straight. The last five have come by double digits, the Terps’ longest skid of lopsided losses since 1998, and left Maryland still in search of the elusive victory to avoid matching the 2-10 record of two seasons ago.

“It’s just a sense of pride,” Brown said. “Everyone hates to lose. We don’t want to go back to that 2-10 season, as much as I keep repeating myself. You don’t want to go through that the entire offseason knowing you were 2-10. We have two more opportunities left and we plan to take full advantage of it.”

Such a discussion seemed unthinkable only a few months earlier. O'Brien was the ACC’s freshman of the year last fall, throwing 22 touchdowns against only eight interceptions while helping the Terps surge to a 9-4 season and a bowl victory over East Carolina.

He was mostly crisp in the season opener, shredding Miami for 348 yards as the Terps earned a Labor Day victory. But the highlights since were rare for both O'Brien and Maryland, which has not defeated a major-college opponent since knocking off the suspension-addled Hurricanes.

It took five games before O'Brien found himself in a game of quarterback yo-yo, shuttling in and out of the lineup for much of a month before playing a full first half Saturday at FedEx Field. It was O'Brien’s first full half of work since the first two quarters of Maryland’s defeat of Towson on Oct. 1.

While it will take time to mend O'Brien’s broken arm – suffered when he landed awkwardly on his left elbow while scampering toward the right sideline – he never lost the composure and self-assurance that helped define his impressive freshman season.

Nonetheless, there are some grim memories to carry forward. O'Brien finished the season a pedestrian 150 of 266 for 1,648 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Only twice in nine games - against Towson and in a relief role at Florida State - did he throw more touchdowns than interceptions.

Then there’s the last two plays: A pick-six on his final throw, a season-ending injury on his last snap, unhappy memories to take into 2012. His teammates, though, still have work to do over the final fortnight of a woebegone season.

“It’s hard to lose a guy like Danny,” offensive lineman Justin Gilbert said. “He’s a good player and a leader on the field. But we have C.J. and we all trust C.J. and we’re comfortable with him back there. We’re going to finish out the last two games with him and hopefully Danny gets better and comes back from this as well as I know he will.”

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