In the spirit of full disclosure, the outcome of Maryland’s 24-21 victory over Clemson was a surprise.
But any personnel watcher’s biggest shock of the day might have come on the opening kickoff.
I usually scribble down the kickoff team at least once a game, and so the fourth line of notes for the entire day looks like this (and, no, it’s not an intricate safe combination):
The stunner there was 51, which is a duplicate number. It seemed unlikely a walk-on offensive lineman (John Dillon) would be out there, so the logical conclusion was that it was true freshman lineback Ryan Donohue.
And sure enough, it was. Donohue is the seventh true freshman to play this season, and one whose name was scarcely mentioned since the end of camp.
“He came to see me and Ryan said ‘Coach, I think I can help us win and I don’t care about my redshirt. I want to play,’” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I need another big guy that can run. I said ‘Let’s play him,’ and we put him in on kickoff. We’re probably going to get him on more special teams. If he can help us by playing, he’ll do that.”
Interestingly, four of the seven true freshmen who have played – Donohue, Darin Drakeford (52), Nick Ferrara (43) and Avery Murray (46) were in on that kickoff.
The others are defensive linemen Zach Kerr and Isaiah Ross, and guard Bennett Fulper.