The 2015 Maryland football season is over, and it was certainly not a pretty one. The Terrapins finished with a 3-9 overall record and a 1-7 conference record in their second season as members of the Big Ten. While the season was one Terps fans are already trying to forget, there were some standout moments and exceptional plays from the campaign. Here are our top 5 plays of 2015:
5.) Will Likely does it again…
Return man Will Likely’s 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s season opener against Richmond broke a 76-year-old Big Ten record for punt return yardage in a game. He seemed to have at least one dazzling play on special teams every week, but none more spectacular than his 100-yard kickoff return against Iowa. Maryland’s star player actually returned the kickoff 105 yards as he fielded the kickoff five yards deep into the Maryland end zone, before speeding downfield untouched for the score.
4: Rowe completes a pass to the right team, Taivon Jacobs scores TD
After a embarrassing loss to Bowling Green in College Park the previous week, then-head coach Randy Edsall named Caleb Rowe the starting quarterback the following week to replace the ineffective Perry Hills. Rowe responded in a huge way, throwing 21 completions for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Maryland downed South Florida easily by a final score of 35-17. The three picks Rowe also threw were more a sign of things to come in 2015, but one of those four touchdown passes was this perfectly placed throw to a streaking Taivon Jacobs down the sideline for a 70-yard scoring play. Taivon and older brother Levern led the Terps receivers with a combined 10 receptions for 189 yards, and one touchdown on the day.
3: DeAndre Lane lays out for incredible grab vs. Wisconsin
Like all but three of the Terps’ games in 2015, the final score of Maryland’s home matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers did not end in their favor. The combination of quarterbacks Hills and Rowe combined for 204 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. With the score tied at seven in the first quarter, Hills dropped back in the pocket after a play action fake before slinging a 41 yard bomb to the outstretched hands of receiver DeAndre Lane. Lane finished as the Terps’ leading receiver in this game with 63 yards on three catches, some easier than others. Lane also had a phenomenal catch in the end zone against Penn State in which he hauled in a 10-yard pass and just got stayed inbounds long enough to get a foot down. I couldn’t find a video of the diving snag, so here’s the touchdown grab against the Nittany Lions, which is just as spectacular.
2: D.J. Moore touchdown stands after review
Another Terp receiver made an outstanding catch in that close home game against Wisconsin. With a minute remaining before halftime and the Terps down by a touchdown, Hills took the snap from the shotgun and tossed a 41-yard beauty to freshman receiver D.J. Moore down the sideline. Moore had a step on the Badger defender, and the perfectly placed pass fell into Moore’s hands over the outstretched hands of the opposing cornerback. Moore corralled the pass before athletically reaching the football over the pylon for the score. The referee initially called Moore out of bounds shy of the goal line, but after review the play was overturned for the Maryland touchdown.
1: Senior running back Brandon Ross ends Terps’ career on a very high note
For much of Brandon Ross’ time in College Park, the running back has had to split carries with fellow running back Wes Brown, in addition to ceding touches to other backs, receivers, and running quarterbacks. Despite not always filling the stat sheet, Ross was a very effective rusher and could have (should have) had a better career at Maryland if it were not for an overall poor offense, below average quarterback play, and questionable coaching decisions. He was part of a platoon of running backs that former head coach Randy Edsall frustratingly insisted on using each game, resulting in an overall inefficient running attack.
After Brown was suspended, Ross was
afforded the opportunity he deserved and earned. Against Indiana in the second-to-last game of the season, Ross got off to a scorching hot start, rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns halfway through the first quarter. He finished the game with 19 carries for 245 yards and three touchdowns. The following week against Rutgers, Ross did not slow down. He finished his final game as a Terp with 28 carries, 173 rushing yards, and three touchdowns, one of which was an 80-yard touchdown run with under five minutes to play. The monster run sealed the win for the Terps in the final game of 2015.