Terps see season of promise slipping away

Maryland’s loss to BC latest blow

Story Topics
Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

The end of October was a welcome time for the Maryland football program at this time a year ago. The drudgery of a woebegone 2-10 season was seemingly shoved into the past for good as the Terrapins celebrated bowl eligibility and the possibility of good times ahead.

Even as Maryland underwent massive offseason changes, so much of the roster of a nine-win bunch was back. Surely, the days of holding only two wins deep into the season were done.

Especially this year, such struggles were unthinkable when the Terps commenced preseason camp.

“I would have thought you were crazy,” safety Eric Franklin said Saturday when presented that scenario, before quietly repeating himself.

Instead of insanity, what went up has since come down. Maryland suffered a humiliating 28-17 loss to Boston College, pushing the Terps (2-6, 1-4 ACC) to the edge of postseason ineligibility and a month still to come.

Everything about the latest loss was an insult for a reeling team without a victory over a major-college opponent since Labor Day. The crowd was the smallest at Byrd Stadium since 2000, and dreadful weather did nothing to help matters. Boston College is in the throes of a miserable season, too, but railroaded Maryland for much of the day.

Three statistical developments emerged that were especially damning. The Eagles’ 372 rushing yards were the most the Terps yielded to an ACC opponent since Wake Forest scampered for 396 yards in the 1993 finale. Coupled with Clemson’s 306-yard night two weeks earlier, it’s the first time Maryland has surrendered 300 rushing yards twice in a season since 1994.

It’s little surprise, then, the Terps have fallen to 118th nationally in rushing defense, ahead of only sieve-like Kansas and winless New Mexico. But it doesn’t take the sting away from players who believed such difficult times were a thing of the past.

“I can’t really explain the feelings I’m going through right now,” linebacker Darin Drakeford said. “It’s a really tough time as everyone can see, and the losses piling up and piling up is just so frustrating.”

First-year coach Randy Edsall’s team can become bowl-eligible only with four straight victories, all against teams with .500 or better records. He insisted he does not plan to become flustered to prevent such feelings from spreading to the roster.

It’s probably too late for that, though he acknowledged “the frustration I have is what button, what word can I say to make some of these things turn around.”

Nonetheless, Edsall said he does not believe his first season already has slipped away.

“I know this team will go out and practice hard this week, and they’ll give everything that they have,” Edsall said. “Again, we had that conversation that you just mentioned. We do have no margin for error.”

Any turnaround begins Saturday, when the Terps welcome Virginia (5-3, 2-2) into Byrd. The Cavaliers are enjoying the sort of renaissance season Maryland did last year, rising from a rough stretch as a program to come within a victory of bowl eligibility.

The Terps vividly remember what such a revival is like. They’d prefer that their play in the next month prevents them from recalling how a slide in the other direction feels.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player