Randy Edsall reacts to the Terps becoming bowl eligible
After Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown leapt for the end zone on Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg, Va., extending his arm while flying through the air toward the goal line, hitting the pylon for a touchdown and giving the Terrapins a 27-24 overtime win over Virginia Tech and bowl eligibility in the process, head coach Randy Edsall lost his mind.
Television cameras caught him prancing onto the field, mouth agape and arms raised to the sky in elation, looking around for someone to embrace. Photographers snapped photos of him pumping his fist and putting his arm around some of his players.
Taken out of context, you would have thought Maryland had damn near won the national championship.
“That last play epitomized the effort that our team gave all day,” Edsall said after the game. “We had a determination, a passion and a resolve that nothing was going to stop us. We were going to find a way.”
But this wasn’t the national championship. It was far from it. On paper, Maryland is now slightly better than mediocre and likely still destined for a low-end bowl game unless they somehow keep the improbability going and win each of their final two games.
For Edsall and this Maryland staff, though, Saturday’s win and the ensuing bowl eligibility are immense.
With the catastrophic injuries that hit the team at the quarterback position last season, the trajectory of Edsall’s third year in 2013 should have been graded on a curve all along, even before those catastrophic injuries occurred again, this time in the wide receiving corps and on defense.
Edsall and the program have now thrown the monkey from their backs and can look forward with positivity instead of worry and uneasiness about whether a sixth win will come. This is the program’s first win under Edsall after Oct. 13 of the calendar year. Previously, the Terrapins were 0-16 over two-plus seasons.
Yes, 1-16 is still abysmal, but it surely isn’t 0-17.
The team isn’t recruiting talent for the future by pointing to conference championship trophies and flaunting their present success or claiming to be a juggernaut.
The vision is of the future and with an already strong recruiting class set to come to College Park plus two big five-star prospects yet to announce but both with thoughts of coming to Maryland, this sixth win only underscores that effort.
Saturday was a tipping point. A loss, though expected as a 16.5-point underdog, would not have done anything to keep the wolves away. It would have been one step closer to losing out. It would have been 0-17.
But the win they earned makes them 6-4, with the possibility of 8-4 (yes, 8-4) still mathematically in reach if the team plays like it did in Blacksburg.
“We had so many guys step up today,” Edsall said. “If they put their mind to it and stick together as a team, anything can happen.”