Maryland held a 35-17 lead in the second half, but was not able to hold on against the #8 Clemson Tigers, losing 56-45 at home in a wild shootout Saturday night.
The Terps elected to go with C.J. Brown as their starting quarterback over Danny O’Brien, and the sophomore was excellent on the ground, rushing for 162 yards on 22 carries and scoring a touchdown. In the air, he was average, completing 17/35 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns against one interception – but those stats were skewed by a boatload of drops.
Maryland was absolutely killed by Sammy Watkins, the explosive receiver from Clemson, who finished the game with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns and a backbreaking 89-yard kickoff return for the touchdown that gave the Tigers the lead. Andre Ellington ran 23 times for 211 yards and two scores.
After that 35-17 lead for Maryland, the Tigers went on a 25-3 run, almost toying the Terps’ defense on their way to the win. Towards the end, there was nothing Todd Bradford’s defense could do – with a lack of depth, they looked exhausted and the combined power of Watkins and Ellington was too much to handle.
Matt Furstenburg had a breakout game for the Terps, as Gary Crowton finally made him a key part of the offense. The tight end caught five passes for 104 yards and two scores, and saw much praise from the ESPNU commenting crew.
This game was ultimately a very disappointing one for Maryland, but there are a lot of positives to be drawn (mainly, the offense with C.J. Brown). The defense needs a ton of work, but we knew that already. We’ll have more on this tomorrow.