In front of a crowd of a Homecoming crowd of 47961, the Terrapin football team found new ways to disappoint the Maryland faithful, blowing an early lead in a loss to number eight Clemson, 56 to 45.
The game marked the start of the C.J. Brown era in Maryland as the sophomore quarterback lead the Terrapins (2-4) to a surprising 35 to 17 lead in his first start over the Tigers (7-0) early in the third quarter. But after a touchdown to start the second half, the Terps had five of their next seven drives end in an interception, two punts and two turnovers on downs.
Such complacently caught up with the Terps as did the Tigers, who scored 39 second half points to secure the win. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who Maryland held in check for most of the first half, tossed three touchdown passes in the second, while running back Andre Ellington scored his second touchdown of the game and Sammy Watkins brought a kickoff back 89 yards for the touchdown.
The Clemson offense came into the game ranked sixth in the country in total yards and it certainly showed. The Tigers wracked up 576 yards of offense as well as a season high 56 points. The injury riddled Terps could do little to stop them especially on the ground, where Clemson gashed Maryland for 306 yards. Maryland was forced to start three freshmen at linebacker in Alex Twine, Lorne Goree, and Mario Rowson and it certainly showed.
The one bright spot of the night was Brown, who rushed for a carrier high 162 yards, a single game record for Maryland quarterbacks, threw three touchdown pass and added another one on the ground to lead the Maryland offense to season highs in both points (38) and rushing yards (291). Brown has now firmly entrenched himself as the Maryland starting quarterback, his athletic style and running ability lending itself more to coach Randy Edsall’s spread offense than the game of pocket passer Danny O’Brien.
The one consolation Maryland fans can take away from this game is that it marks the third time the Terrapins have played a close game against a top 25 opponent, having lost to West Virginia and Georgia Tech by six and five points respectively. The bad news is a loss is still a loss and Edsall will have to get his team to finish games if the Terps hope to have any success I the future.
The Terrapins will travel to Florida State next week to take on the 3-3 Seminoles while Clemson will host 5-2 North Carolina.