- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2011

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.

“It’s hard to really say if it’s getting away from us, but we realize we shouldn’t be 2-6,” quarterback Danny O’Brien said. “But that’s what we put on tape,, and that’s what we earned. It’s going to start with beating Virginia. I think getting a win [and] getting back in the win column is going to be huge for us because losing just grinds on everybody from the top down. By no means are we going to give up.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide