The Atlantic Coast Conference has almost certainly not heard the last about the hit that leveled Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown during the Terps’ loss to Florida State.
The hit sent the quarterback to the bench with a concussion and makes his status uncertain this weekend, when the Terps (4-1, 0-1 ACC) will play host to Virginia (2-3, 0-1) on Saturday.
ACC coaches routinely note plays that might have been officiated differently, and relay their concerns on Sundays to Doug Rhoads, the ACC’s coordinator of officials. The hit on Brown -- by fifth-year senior defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel in the second quarter of No. 8 Florida State’s 63-0 win -– did not draw a penalty.
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Although he wouldn’t say so explicitly, there was little doubt Sunday that Maryland coach Randy Edsall would forward the hit on Brown to Rhoads.
“I had a chance to see it on tape, and I’ll handle it the way I feel is appropriate,” Edsall said.
In the past, Rhoads has been willing to speak publicly after his review about whether he believes a controversial call -- or lack of a call -- was correct.
Maryland was trailing 14-0 when Brown attempted a second-down pass to wide receiver Nigel King.
Brown had completed his release and his right arm was at his side when McDaniel, who is 6-feet, 295 pounds, seemed to launch into the quarterback's upper chest.
McDaniel’s helmet hit Brown high enough that its top may have struck the quarterback’s chin, or just below it.
Brown’s head snapped backward and he twisted in the air, landing face down.
Brown seemed vulnerable because he was being held around the waist by Florida State linebacker Christian Jones before McDaniel arrived.
On the sideline, Edsall pointed to his head, appearing to suggest he believed McDaniel had led with his helmet. Brown remained on the turf for several minutes before being escorted into the locker room.
“We’ll evaluate him day-to-day,” Edsall said of Brown.
After suffering concussions, players’ responses are typically measured against a baseline to determine if they are symptom-free.
“There's a protocol that any of our players have to go through,” Edsall said Sunday. "We always follow that protocol. We’ll do that with C.J. just like we’re doing with Tyrek Cheeseboro.”
Cheeseboro, a redshirt sophomore receiver, suffered a concussion last week when his bicycyle collided with a bus.
The NCAA has placed new emphasis on targeting “defenseless” players this season. Before the season, the NCAA distributed a memo to coaches about the consequences -– including ejections -– for players who target others above the shoulders.
On McDaniel’s hit, the ACC may also look at whether the lineman took more than one step after Brown’s release before making contact.
“I hope he is all right,” McDaniel told reporters after the game. “When he threw the ball, I just continued to go through the play.”
Brown, who has endured two season-ending injuries in previous years, is off to the best start of his career.
Limited by Maryland’s inability to run, Brown was 6-for-14 for 82 yards before departing Saturday. The Seminoles seemed to key on Brown when he ran read-option plays, and held the quarterback to three yards on three carries.
Sophomore Caleb Rowe was 9-for-17 for 119 yards in relief of Brown.
In other potential injury news, Edsall declined to discuss the condition of Maryland’s three starting receivers -- Stefon Diggs, Deon Long and King -- all of whom were slow getting up at the end of plays on Saturday. It was unclear if all of the receivers would be healthy for the Virginia game.
Edsall said he was confident his team could move on from the loss and not harp on its worst defeat -- by point margin -- in 20 years.
"We’ve just to look past it,” nose tackle Darius Kilgo said after the game. “The game is over. We’ve still got a lot of goals in the future that we want to reach.”