- Associated Press - Sunday, September 26, 2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. | The injury report has become the most important factor in choosing Maryland’s starting quarterback.

Junior Jamarr Robinson, who won the starting job over the summer, has a sore shoulder. Redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien has a sprained ankle. Robinson didn’t practice last week, so O’Brien limped into the starting role Saturday against Florida International by forfeit.

And now, after O’Brien threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Terrapins to a 42-28 victory, there’s a quarterback controversy brewing in College Park.

Asked who will start this Saturday against Duke, offensive coordinator James Franklin replied, “I think they’ll both play. Now who starts, I don’t know. We’ll see. A lot of it is going to depend on just how Jamarr feels.”

Head coach Ralph Friedgen said Robinson couldn’t even lift his arm Saturday. So, even though the team doctors recommended that O’Brien rest his high ankle sprain to keep the injury from lingering, Friedgen had no choice but to go with the freshman.

The decision paid off handsomely.

“Our offense came to life,” Friedgen said. “Danny O’Brien played very, very well.”

Franklin said, “It was interesting how it worked out. For a kid starting his first game and not even having a week’s worth of practice, I thought he played well.”

O’Brien planned to celebrate his 20th birthday Sunday by having dinner with his family. The main topic of conversation, without a doubt, was how he spent his final day as a teenager.

“I think it was a great team victory. I feel like I had a pretty good performance,” O’Brien said. “We ran the ball, we protected great. I feel like anytime we do that, we have the running backs and receivers to beat anybody.”

O’Brien’s strength is passing, not running, but his main job at the outset against FIU was to give the ball to the running backs. Unfortunately, Maryland gained 2 yards on its first seven carries.

“I would have liked to have run the ball better, especially early on,” Franklin said. “That was our plan, to try to take the stress off the quarterback and the offensive line from a protection standpoint. But that wasn’t going well, so we went to the quick passing game to try and help him out.”

Held scoreless in the first quarter, the Terps (3-1) put up three touchdowns in the second quarter and never let up.

It was a wonderful way to finish the non-league portion of the schedule. Next up: a struggling Duke team that yielded 35 points in a loss to Army on Saturday.

Whether O’Brien or Robinson gets the opportunity to start will be determined this week — if not on the practice field, then by the medical charts.

“I’m happy I started this week,” O’Brien said. “If I start, I start. As long as we get the win at the end of the day, I don’t really mind.”


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