Maryland‘s quarterback is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Back in August, the only veteran QB on Maryland’s squad, unquestioned starter C.J. Brown, tore his ACL in practice and was lost for the season. After a bit of a QB competition in camp, true freshman Perry Hills became the starter for the Terps. Quarterback-turned-wide receiver Devin Burns returned to his QB role and eventually ended up as the no. 2 QB on the depth chart. The plan had been for the other true freshman QB on the roster, Caleb Rowe, to redshirt for the year.
Last Saturday, Hills threw an interception near the end of the first half. During his attempt to make a tackle, he was blocked in the back, went down and badly twisted his knee, resulting in the second Maryland QB in three months lost for the season because of a torn ACL. Burns played most of the second half, and Rowe burned his redshirt in the last 30 seconds, nearly leading the Terps to a wild victory against NC State (which they would have had if not for a missed field goal).
So what happens now for the Terps?
Obviously, losing their starting QB again is not good. Hills had been the unquestioned starter ever since Brown went down. Now that he is out, the job will fall to either Burns or Rowe. While it is certainly not good for the team to be forced, yet again, to have a new starting QB, all hope is not lost for the season.
One of the reasons Hills was chosen to be the starter was his ability to handle the immediate pressure of being thrown into the spotlight. His wrestling background likely contributed to his coolness under pressure. Unfortunately, his ability to read defenses and make accurate throws has not been at the level that offensive coordinator Mike Locksley had hoped for.
Burns, on the other hand, appears to have a better ability to utilize the zone read option, one of the plays heavily used by Locksley. He is a very good runner, although some of his passes against NC State were a bit off the mark. While we have seen very little from Rowe, he does appear to be the better pocket passer between him and Burns. In his brief appearance, he completed two mid-range passes on target and also scrambled for a first down, helping the Terps to to move far down the field in under 30 seconds.
It may not be announced until game time who is actually starting at QB for the Terps (though they’re currently listed as co-starters). This Saturday, Maryland travels north to play Boston College, appears to be a program in a freefall this year, with a 1-6 record that includes a victory over FCS team, Maine. If they wanted a relatively easy first game to for a new starting QB to get himself acclimated, this might be it.
There is no doubt that the Terps will continue to fight hard, regardless of who is on the field. They have done so all year, coming back more than once in the fourth quarter to win — a stark contrast to last year. If the second half of the Maryland-NC State game is any indication, this team will battle on and will still have a decent chance to become bowl-eligible.