- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 29, 2009

The sun fell beneath the horizon Saturday in College Park, and any number of things might have reached their conclusion.

Daylight was a goner before halftime at Byrd Stadium. Maryland’s season also lurched toward its expiration date, a spot on the calendar ascertained weeks ago.

Whether the sun set on coach Ralph Friedgen’s tenure with the Terrapins, though, is still to be determined.

If Saturday were Friedgen’s final flourish, it was much more of a relative whimper - a 19-17 loss to Boston College to cap the first 10-loss season in Maryland history.

The Terrapins (2-10, 1-7 ACC) dropped their final seven games to cap Maryland’s fourth losing season in six years and leave the program’s - and Friedgen’s - future in question.

Friedgen’s fate will be decided in the coming days when he meets with athletic director Debbie Yow to discuss the season and the program. Yow repeatedly has declined to comment on Friedgen’s status, instead waiting until the year is complete to evaluate him, as she does with all coaches.

Like his boss, Friedgen remained mum about his future in the week leading into the finale. Friedgen, who is owed about $4 million for the final two years of his contract, fell to 66-46 in his career - including 35-38 in the past six seasons.

The losses piled up rapidly this fall, the product of shaky mid-decade recruiting and an experience drain from last year’s veteran team. Saturday provided much of the same - a Maryland outfit prone to getting burned by the occasional big play and fundamentally incapable of gaining yards on the ground when needed.

Maryland managed 277 yards for the day - just 223 before a late drive - and just 61 on the ground.

Tailback Montel Harris ran for 142 yards on 41 carries, and Steve Aponavicius kicked four field goals for the Eagles (8-4, 5-3), who have won four of five against Maryland since joining the ACC.

The finale had a dash of quarterback intrigue, with both Chris Turner and Jamarr Robinson probable with injuries. Turner, who missed two games with a sprained left knee ligament, drew his 30th career start in his final college game.

Robinson eventually came in to lead a touchdown drive in the second quarter, but Turner wound up playing most of the second half. The senior completed 11 of 17 passes for 101 yards.

Robinson (9-for-15, 115 yards), though, was inserted when Maryland faced what seemed to be its final chance with 4:53 left. That drive, like so many others, went nowhere, and Robinson was stuffed on a fourth-down sneak to hand it over to the Eagles.

Moments later, Aponavicius connected on a season-long 42-yarder with 3:59 left, effectively assuring the Terps of a truly ignominious end.

Not that things looked better any earlier in the day. Maryland looked crisp on its opening drive when Turner led the Terps on a field goal drive. But after a swap of punts, Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie connected on a short pass to Colin Larmond Jr., who shook off Anthony Wiseman’s tackle attempt and zipped down the sideline for a touchdown.

It would be the Eagles’ only visit to the end zone all day, but it hardly mattered. Boston College made enough progress to secure field goals on three red zone trips.

In fitting Maryland fashion, the Terps authored a scoring drive after Aponavicius’ fourth field goal, a glimpse at how the offense could function adequately in the most dire of circumstances. Even that, though, reflected the entirety of the season - not nearly enough to salvage anything truly memorable or valuable.

Whether that includes Friedgen’s tenure is still to be determined.

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