By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun
5:55 PM EDT, October 28, 2012
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. —
Caleb Rowe was like a kid who gets off a carousel and wants to hop right back on for another ride.
“It was very exhilarating,” the Maryland freshman said after making his first career quarterback start in Saturday’s 20-17 loss to Boston College. He indicated that he can hardly wait to make another.
"It was fun, but I'd like to have a win," Rowe said.
With a raft of injuries to contend with and more than a dozen players making their first career starts, there is little that is predictable about this Maryland season. After winning their first two Atlantic Coast Conference games, the Terps (4-4, 2-2 ACC) have dropped their past two and are searching for consistency with the toughest part of their schedule ahead.
But one thing is certain: Maryland's fortunes are now largely tied to Rowe.
Rowe became the starter after Perry Hills (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and Devin Burns (Lisfranc injury in foot) were injured in the North Carolina State game Oct. 20 and lost for the season.
Since there are no other true quarterbacks left on the roster, Rowe has the luxury of knowing that, barring injury, he will remain the starter. "It was fun being the guy," he said Saturday.
Maryland hopes Rowe's job security will keep him — in the words of coach Randy Edsall — "loosey-goosey."
Remaining relaxed hardly seemed an issue for Rowe against the Eagles. He was still smiling after the game and seemed just as excited as he did when he first arrived at training camp in August.
"I'm always ready for anything," the redhead said after attempting 42 passes — more than might have been expected of a first-time starter. He completed 23 for 240 yards and had two touchdown passes. But he was intercepted three times.
Teammates have called Rowe a "gunslinger" because he seems unafraid to sling the ball deep downfield.
Against Boston College, Rowe showed that there are positives — but can also be drawbacks — to such a bold approach, and that he occasionally needs to temper his instincts to try to make a big play.
"I've learned so much. Each interception really teaches you a lot," said Rowe, which means he was well-schooled Saturday.
"You can't throw three interceptions — turn the ball over three times — and expect to win games," Edsall said Sunday. "He did some good things and he did some bad things. It was a learning experience for him, and we would expect him to grow."
Rowe said he tried to force a pass into coverage shortly before halftime. The pass was intercepted at Boston College's 4-yard-line.
He was picked off again on Maryland's final possession. "It's fun having the ball in your hands to win the game, but unfortunately [Saturday] wasn't the day," he said.
He said a primary lesson from the game was to "just try to sit in [the pocket] a little longer and make a read."
Rowe is also learning to protect himself during games by running out of bounds.
"As a quarterback, you're supposed to [get out of bounds]," he said. "I wasn't really thinking 'Don't get hurt, don't get hurt.' I was out there having fun and playing my game."
Note: Edsall said Sunday that Maryland will use two field-goal kickers in games, depending on the situation. He said freshman Brendan Magistro (C. Milton Wright) will kick up to a distance of 35 to 40 yards.
"If we've got to go further than that, then Brad [Craddock] would be the guy," Edsall said. Craddock, also a freshman, has missed kicks shorter than 40 yards in each of the past two games. Overall, Craddock is 8-for-14 this season and has missed two extra points. Magistro has converted his only attempt, from 28 yards.
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