Shorthanded Terps fall apart late in loss to No. 9 Clemson

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — For three quarters, Maryland shrugged off all its injuries and made a game of it against No. 9 Clemson.

And then, finally, the depleted Terrapins simply got worn out.

With standout quarterback Tajh Boyd leading the way, Clemson scored three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes and pulled away to a 40-27 victory Saturday.

Maryland (5-3, 1-3 ACC) trailed 19-13 entering the fourth quarter before it all unraveled.

Boyd scored on a 5-yard run and Roderick McDowell ran it in from the 3 to make it 33-13 with 7:57 remaining. After the Terrapins got a touchdown pass from Caleb Rowe, a 45-yard touchdown run by McDowell gave Clemson a 40-20 lead with 5:03 to go.

Earlier in the game, Maryland forced the Tigers (7-1, 4-1) to kick field goals after they reached the red zone. The trend didn’t continue in the fourth quarter, and the Terrapins lost for the third time in four games.

“We gave up a couple plays there late,” coach Randy Edsall said. “What we were going to have to do is just try to hold on and not let them score the touchdown late and kick field goals, but we weren’t able to do that in the fourth quarter.”

Maryland played without several key injured starters, including quarterback C.J. Brown, running back Brandon Ross, wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, and tight end Dave Stinebaugh.

Rowe went 19 for 45 for yards and three touchdowns, and Levern Jacobs had eight catches for 158 yards. But the Terrapins went 48 minutes between their first and second touchdowns and committed four turnovers.

“I feel like I did OK,” Rowe said. “Of course, I left plays out on the field, everyone did. But it just wasn’t good enough in the end.”

Still, it was an impressive showing against one of the finest teams in the country.

“We’re proving that we are developing depth here in our program and that the guys know that we as coaches believe in them, that if they’re on the field we feel as though they’re going to be able to get the job done. You kind of just preach that,” Edsall said.

Boyd threw for a touchdown and ran for a score, Sammy Watkins had a school-record 14 catches for 163 yards and McDowell rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns to help the Tigers rebound from last week’s 51-14 defeat against Florida State.

“It’s good to get the win, get back on track,” coach Dabo Sweeny said. “We had a great week, we really did. I thought our guys bounced back. If there was a hangover, if we weren’t focused, this team could have gone south in a hurry. But it didn’t. It responded. That’s what great teams do.”

It was the seventh straight road win for the Tigers, their longest streak since a nine-game run in 1978-79.

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