Edsall: Just didn't work out
COLLEGE PARK--These 2013 Maryland Terrapins have had a flair for the improbable.
It was improbable for this team to start 4-0, the first time that had happened in a decade. It was improbable for the team to escape with a win over Virginia at home in Week 7--down a starting quarterback--by dodging the bullet of a last-second Cavalier field goal attempt.
It was improbable for a 16.5-point underdog to go on the road to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg and beat Virginia Tech in overtime to become bowl eligible. All the while, improbable injuries thinned the depth chart of nearly every unit on the field.
So what transpired Saturday at Byrd Stadium, a 29-26 Maryland loss on a Boston College field goal as time expired, is ultimately just the next in a line of difficult-to-explain, unlikely events during the Terrapins’ 2013 season.
But it was the way that it happened that will make this loss linger for Maryland.
With two seconds remaining, Boston College kicker Nate Freese lined up for the 52-yard field goal for the win and missed, but the Maryland sideline had called a timeout and rendered the play meaningless.
Freese lined up after the timeout and knocked it through with room to spare.
“It’s one of those things that just happens,” Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said after the game. “Hindsight’s 20/20. Obviously, I shouldn’t have taken the timeout. He missed it.
“But it’s just one of those things that you feel, you’re doing something to put a little more doubt in the guy’s head … just didn’t work out.”
After the second attempt sailed through the uprights, Freese was lifted from his feet in celebration by his teammates as Maryland defenders lay scattered across the turf in disbelief.
“It’s just tough,” senior linebacker Marcus Whitfield said. “We was pushing and just to see the ball go through, what more could we do, really? We didn’t know the timeout was being called. I mean, we just played our hearts out on both plays.”
But that was only the punctuation mark on a fourth quarter that threw logic to the wayside.
That final period on Saturday night saw a 72-yard touchdown run by Boston College running back Andre Williams, a 74-yard touchdown pass by previously struggling BC quarterback Chase Rettig, and--above all else--a blocked extra point by Maryland that was run back 98 yards by safety Anthony Nixon for a two-point conversion.
The two point conversion came immediately after the 74-yard touchdown pass and tied the game at 26-26 with the ball going back to Maryland, the wind now at its back.
“You never know what was going to happen,” Whitfield said. “We never knew that we was going to block that field goal until that play. Really, we just played as hard as we could on each play.”
“It swung the momentum again, just like that,” Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown added. “We had the ball and another opportunity to score. That was our mentality … We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
That drive, though, would stall.
“It was pretty much what we did to V-Tech last week,” Brown continued. “Caught them right in the heart, you know. This one is sour.”
But the positive from this loss is this: Imagine what a loss like this would have felt like had Maryland not upset Virginia Tech on the road. It would have set up for a final-game showdown on the road against NC State with bowl eligibility on the line.
That is not the case, and thankfully so for Edsall and his staff considering the nature of Saturday’s loss.
“This was a game that we felt we could have had, but we didn’t,” Edsall said. “So what you do is go back to work tomorrow and get better … We just came up a little bit short today.”