COLLEGE PARK -- A year ago, Stefon Diggs had turned Maryland's Red-White spring football game into an exhibition of elusiveness and versatility. He lined up as a receiver, punt returner and occasionally as a running back.
On Friday night, the Terps were simply glad that the rising junior was healthy enough to be back in uniform.
Diggs, who suffered a lower-leg fracture last season, has not been cleared for contact. He appeared for the annual spring game and participated in 7-on-7 passing drills — but not the game that followed — in front of an announced 8,319 on a rainy night at Byrd Stadium.
Diggs and fellow receiver Deon Long, who is also recovering from lower-leg fractures suffered in October, will "be ready to go full speed by the time we get back here June 1 and start our summer program," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said.
Absent the team's top two receivers, the game itself was highlighted by interceptions and other big defensive plays.
Fans were treated to a fireworks display above the stadium after the game. But there were few offensive pyrotechnics in the game itself.
"Not enough consistency offensively," Edsall said.
The game pitted the offense (white) against the defense (red). While the offense could score in traditional ways, the defense earned points with touchdowns — it got one on an interception return by A.J. Hendy — as well as turnovers, stops and sacks.
The posted score had the white team winning, 187-143. Team officials said that was a cumulative score representing intrasquad competition throughout the spring.
Quarterback C.J. Brown completed 16 of 24 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice.
Brown and the other quarterbacks — Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Shane Cockerille (Gilman) — wore yellow "no-contact" jerseys.
"I didn't think C.J. played that well," Edsall said. "It's my fault. I should have put these guys in white jerseys and made them live. They play with more of a sense of urgency. I think C.J.'s got to understand he's got to use his legs. When things open up, he's got to take off and run. He sits there in the pocket when he's got a yellow jersey on."
Brown said he wouldn't have minded if the officials had allowed the defense to make contact with him.
"It would have opened the playbook," said Brown, who will be in his sixth season next year after earning a medical redshirt. "There's a lot of plays that are left on the field. Because you've got the yellow [jersey] on, they're going to blow it dead."
Maryland will begin in its first Big Ten season this fall. The Big Ten Network distributed T-shirts to fans at Friday's game.
While Brown is the undisputed starter at quarterback, running back remains open. Seeing time Friday were Brandon Ross (four carries for 90 yards), Albert Reid (14 carries for 79 yards), Jacquille Veii (nine carries for 75 yards) and Joe Riddle (five carries for 48 yards).
"I don't know who our starter is," Edsall said. "I think we'll have Albert, Jacquille, Wes [Brown] and then Brandon all competing. It's a great thing to have."
Reid rushed for 294 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season.
"At at the end of the day its always going to be competition," Reid said. "It's D-1 football."
Ross, hoping to reclaim the starting tailback position he has often held in the past, bolted 75 yards up the middle for a second-quarter touchdown. ... Hendy intercepted Hills and returned it 55 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. ... Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo made a juggling, end-zone catch on a pass thrown by Cockerille in the second quarter. The mobile, left-handed Cockerille, who will be a redshirt freshman next season, is vying for playing time but is behind Brown and Rowe.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun