I really can’t think of any other way to describe this game. I usually don’t allow myself to start thinking ahead until the final 0:00 is on the clock. I’ve been burned too many times. But all day long yesterday I thought the Terps were going to pull it out, and they did…sort of.
By now, everyone knows what happened, and Brad Craddock, pick yourself up and move on. You are a young kid with plenty more football left in your career. One day you will look back on this game as the learning experience it was.
But let’s say for a second that ball sails just a half foot more to the right. This would have been huge. How about 3-0 in the Atlantic Division with a trip to BC next on the slate? How about having to beat just a lifeless Boston College Team for Bowl Eligibility? This would have been huge, but we are young, and this team is growing. It isn’t like we were favorited to beat NC State. It isn’t like every Wolfpack fan in the joint, and watching at home on TV, didn’t know how lucky they got.
Unfortunately though the ball did sail left, and as it wobbled back to earth after taking that hard left, it represented the hopes of the 2012 Terps. We all knew this year was going to be tough. That was back when Danny O’Brien was here. Then CJ Brown got hurt, and we all became aquainted with a Freshman named Perry Hills. And Hills showed us, that though he is young, he has potential, and he played well enough for a Freshman, that all hope was not lost.
Then, to get off topic shortly, we had our NC State Tailgate. As is tradition at our tailgate, the last Saturday game prior to Halloween we have a pumpkin carving contest. This year I did an Agent P pumpkin after the Perry the Platapus Character on Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb. The idea is that Perry, or his alter ego on the show Agent P, was dresses as Perry Hills and carrying a football. It came out well, except that only kids under 12, and parents of kids under 12 got the connection, not exactly the demo of our tailgating crowd, but that’s beside the point. The point of this ramble is that I did a Perry Hills themed pumpkin and then he got hurt! I can’t believe the luck. I just hope I didn’t unlock any sort of Pumpkin jinx that will haunt us in the future.
So down goes Hills. In steps Devin Burns. Burns did a hell of a job, and had it not been for some bad breaks, could have been the winning quarterback, but once we fell behind with under a minute to play, Edsall had to go with someone who could throw the ball. Burns can move it down the field, but mostly with his feet. So I agree on this call, and it worked to perfection as Caleb Rowe amazingly drove the Terps down to the NC State 14 yard line, only to set up the missed 33 yard field goal.
If you are keeping track, in the span of less than a year our QB situation has gone from Danny O’Brien, to CJ Brown, to Perry Hills, to Devin Burns (who until this year was a WR), and then Caleb Rowe. Basically Rowe was our 5th string Quarterback. Only in College Park I swear!
But this game should have been won, and we should be writing about a complete team effort that has this season on the brink of something only the most optimistic of us could have dreamed of. The truth is though, it never should have come down to this. The defense, as always played great. Wes Brown had a huge fumble though, as it turned out not a game costing one (kick would have wiped that error away), but one thing that did bother me that I’d like to touch on. When the Terps had the ball at about midfield and were punting. Edsall took a timeout instead of a delay of game. Then we kicked it into the endzone. Why not take the penalty and save the timeout? I would have to watch that final drive again, but with another timeout, perhaps we could have run another play and moved the ball up. As it turned out all we needed was another half yard and the season would be different, but without that timeout, we apparently came up too short.
I often wonder why coaches, in the NFL or NCAA have such trouble managing their timeouts. Perhaps it is because they didn’t grow up playing Madden and NCAA Football on Playstation. I don’t know, but the smart play there seemed to be take the penalty, save the timeout. I thought that decision was a poor one, and as it turned out, could have kept us from a Bowl Game.
But now on to BC. The good news is, if we can beat BC (and have a QB standing at the end) we can still dream of a post season. It won’t be easy with FSU and Clemson looming, but perhaps an upset somewhere along the line can get us in. I know I’ll be there watching and hoping, and hopefully so will all the other Terps fans, because this team is young and they need support, and if we can get through these growing pains (remembering the two biggest mistakes yesterday were made by true freshman), they can be a good team, and I’ll speak for everyone when I say we are all hopeing for that.
Now all I have to do get over that kick in the gut.