The Caleb Rowe era got off to a disappointing start on Saturday, as the Maryland Terrapins fell to Boston College 20 – 17 in Chestnut Hill. Despite scoring zero points in the first half, the Terrapins were surging in the second half. They scored 17 straight unanswered points to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, but failed to hold on as Chase Rettig and the Eagles marched down the field to score with 50 seconds left. Rettig then connected with wide receiver Jonathan Coleman on a 14-yard pass to seal the victory for Boston College and in doing so snapped their five game losing streak.
What Went Wrong
There was clearly an adjustment period for Caleb Rowe in the first half, as he threw two interceptions during that span, one of which was deep in enemy territory. It wasn’t so much that Rowe looked bad, it was moreso that he needed a bit of time to get his feet wet. Offensive coordinator clearly wanted Rowe to become acclimated with the speed of the game early, and threw 28 times in the first half, 19 of which came in the first quarter.
That in and of itself is dubious, considering the Terrapins were going against one of the worst rushing defenses in the nation in Boston College. Wes Brown had 51 yards after the first half, and probably could have been used even more than that. Failing to run more often in order to slowly adjust Rowe to the game was a tactical error on Maryland’s part, and the lack of offense certainly didn’t help the Terrapins out in the long run.
Also, yet again, poor kicking by Brad Craddock could very well have made all the difference. On the one impressive drive in the first half that Rowe made, Craddock missed a very makeable field goal which, in retrospect, would have brought this game into overtime. Kickers miss field goals, but Craddock has twice played a major role in the Terrapins losing, and that is far from ideal. The coaching staff really needs to figure out how to correct his motion or he will continue to hinder the success of this team.
What Went Right
If you can take anything away from this loss, it is that Caleb Rowe is probably going to be alright. In the first half he was clearly struggling a bit to get a lot going on offense, but I blame that on the coaching staff putting too much on his plate. He shouldn’t have been throwing so much right away, but when he finally did get into a groove the kid look fantastic. His throws were crisp, and on his first touchdown he threw a beautifully executed fade route to Nigel King in the end zone. Rowe’s arm strength and knowledge of what it takes to be a quarterback is going to pay off in the long run, and the Terrapins should look much better in their next game judging by this performance.
Rowe and Stefon Diggs also seemed to have a clear connection, as Diggs had perhaps his best game as a wide receiver in his short career. Diggs finished the game with 152 yards on 11 catches, but it was his touchdown pass that showed how crucial he is to the future success of this team. Diggs took a pass from Caleb Rowe 66 yards to the house just in time for the Terrapins to gain the lead late in the game. Even though the Terrapins lost, they can take solace in the fact that their freshman wide receiver is a playmaker who should pay dividends for the next (presumably) two years. He and Rowe connecting so well is a good thing, not a bad one.
Player of the Game
Stefon Diggs – 11 receptions, 152 yards, 1 touchdown.
Without Stefon Diggs, this offense stalls and the losses of Dorsey and Leak are far more glaring. Instead of shying away from the challenge, Diggs rose to the occasion and kept the Terrapins alive in the second half.
Goat of the Game
Brad Craddock, 1/2 FG
Craddock’s missed field goal in the first half ultimately damned the Terrapins, and his poor kicking has played a factor in the last two losses. If the Terrapins fail in the red zone on third down, they would be better served going for it on fourth down as they did in the second half, because Craddock is not right at the time. Randy Edsall and the staff have clearly lost confidence in him, and it remains to be seen how that will affect the rest of the year.