Maryland got lucky on Saturday, benefitting off of a last-second missed field goal from Virginia, allowing the Terps to steal the game 27-26. In the final matchup between the two teams, Maryland moves to 5-1 (1-1) on the year, just one win away from bowl eligibility. Virginia falls to 2-4 (0-2), which moves coach Mike London one step closer to the hot seat.
The loss of quarterback C.J. Brown certainly impacted the game as Maryland lost the read-option on offense, which is arguably the most effective formation in Maryland’s arsenal. As backup Caleb Rowe showed poise in his second start as a Terp, he made some throws that could have really blown the game wide open. However, it was Maryland’s running game that really made the difference. After last week’s abysmal showing, the Terps finished with 136 rushing yards with some key long runs. Running back Brandon Ross had a great game, as he also had a 77-yard catch on a screen, setting up a Maryland touchdown. On defense, the Terps finished with zero sacks, which is unusual for a Maryland defense that is third in the country with 4.5 sacks a game. Nonetheless, constant pressure was put on Virginia signal caller David Watford, forcing Virginia to adjust on offense.
While Maryland did sneak out the victory, the Terps certainly have areas they must improve heading into next week’s road game against Wake Forest. The defensive line got manhandled against Virginia’s offensive line, allowing the Cavaliers to run for 242 yards. While I do believe that the Virginia offense played much better than in recent weeks, there is no excuse for a team to give up 505 yards of total offense. The loss of linebacker Matt Robinson today allowed tight end Jake McGee to go off, who finished with eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland and Virginia wrapped up a rivalry that began in 1919 and ended in a fashion that Maryland fans will remember for the rest of their lives. As Maryland moves to the B1G, new rivalries will ensue and the ACC may become an afterthought, but today’s game is just another game that intensifies the rivalry. The Terps win will give them confidence heading into next week’s game as the ACC farewell tour is in full effect.