Terps escape with a win against UVA
COLLEGE PARK--Before Saturday’s ACC matchup against Virginia, Maryland did not have any one, singular moment like this one.
Four blowout wins to start the season had allowed the Terrapins to shift into cruise control, before a bye week and a blowout 63-0 loss to Florida State that was never at any point really in hand.
Which set the stage for Saturday evening.
But it wasn’t C.J. Brown, the senior quarterback who had led Maryland to its 4-1 start, who was under center when that moment finally came. It was sophomore Caleb Rowe, the 6-3 native of South Carolina, who took the reins when Maryland faced a game-deciding 3rd-and-22 against Virginia with under seven minutes to play.
Those who were on the field tell it best (and you can read how they described it here), but Rowe’s miraculous jump ball, caught by receiver Deon Long for a gain of 47 yards, kept Maryland alive for the moment, on its way to a 27-26 victory over the Cavaliers at Byrd Stadium in College Park.
“[Rowe] put the ball in a position where Deon had an opportunity to go and make the catch. It was a fabulous catch,” head coach Randy Edsall said.
“Those are the things that Deon can do. That is a good lesson for Caleb and C.J. [Brown]. If you put the ball in a position where he and Stefon can go fight and jump, they are going to be able to make some plays.”
Rowe finished with a career-high 322 yards through the air on 18-of-34 passing and adding one touchdown. His previous career high came on Oct. 27, 2012, when he threw for 240 yards in a loss to Boston College.
And it was a tale of two Rowes at times on Saturday.
There was the brilliance, like the 3rd-and-22 conversion, but also the ugliness, like a botched pitch on first down of that drive that nearly buried the Terrapins. But he converted when it mattered.
“I think just understanding situations and being able to overcome bad plays, I guess,” Rowe said of his maturation between last year and this year. “Having a mindset where I can, you know, push through. I’ve done through a lot of adversity since last year.
“I’ve had to work a lot harder, work very hard to get back. Everything I’ve gone through, everything we’ve gone through as a team kind of helped me through that.”
With Brown recovering from the concussion he suffered against Florida State, Rowe may have to put this performance in his back pocket and return to the sidelines to help call plays next week against Wake Forest if the senior is able to return.
Not that it matters.
“We depend on one another like we’re brothers,” Long said, regardless of which of the brothers in that Maryland family is under center. “So we just look to our playmakers to make plays so that’s what we had to do."
Maryland faces Wake Forest on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in North Carolina.