Once he gets over the sting of Friday's 31-20 loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl, Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown is likely to appreciate the best drive of his Terps career, as if it were a work of art.
It began on Maryland's 1-yard line after a punt by Marshall's Tyler Williams, with the Terps trailing 17-13 midway through the third quarter.
It was Maryland's most impressive drive in recent memory. It accomplished precisely what the Terps tried to do all day: Hold the ball long enough to keep prolific Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato on the sideline.
The drive — comprising 11 runs, five passes and a sack — spanned two quarters and consumed 7:44 of clock time. That was more than twice as long as all but one other possession, by either team, in the game.
Brown was 5-for-5 passing during the drive, but the moment was soured quickly. Marshall scored on its next possession to take the lead for good.
"These kids didn't flinch," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said of the Herd's immediate response.
It was that sort of game — and that sort of season — for Brown. The fifth-year quarterback from western Pennsylvania had extreme highs, such as when he accounted for five touchdowns in wins against Florida International in the season opener and again against North Carolina State last month.
In between, Brown — who topped his own school record Friday for single-season rushing yardage by a quarterback (576) — suffered various setbacks and injuries, including a concussion during a humbling, 63-0 loss at Florida State in the season's fifth game.
Brown thought Friday's big drive would change the direction of the game.
"When you have a 17-play drive for 99 yards and a touchdown, it swings the momentum," he said. ""They did a very good job of answering right away. That kind of sunk the ship right there. We have to get out there and answer. It's a game of momentum, and we had it going in. It's football. It's going to happen."
Brown ended the season with 13 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing scores. The 25 total touchdowns ties him with former quarterback Scott McBrien for the second most in a single season. Scott Milanovich accounted for 29 touchdowns in 1993.
The son of a former Michigan State quarterback, Brown has faced worse than a bowl loss in his college career. The quarterback has twice sustained season-ending injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his 2012 season before it began.
Brown, who received a medical redshirt and will return next season, seemed more than capable of keeping Friday's defeat in perspective.
"When it is all said and done, we had a great year," he said. "We had a winning season and were able to extend it to the postseason and go to a bowl game. We'll be ready come next year."