The goal-line play called “Ram Man” was one that Rutgers had never seen because Maryland had never called.
Even some of fullback Andrew Stefanelli’s teammates didn’t even know if was in the playbook.
First-year Maryland coach DJ Durkin had told Stefanelli, a 5-foot-9, 236-pound fifth-year senior who played mostly as a wedge buster on special teams this season, that there was a possibility he might be involved in the offense.
“It was during the week, I don’t remember when it was,” Stefanelli said after the Terps finished the regular season with a 31-13 win over Rutgers at Maryland Stadium. “It was like a little wrinkle in our offense, it wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t tell everybody. Everyone was kind of shocked when I scored.”
The 1-yard touchdown, on Stefanelli’s first career carry, came late in the third quarter after the Scarlet Knights had cut Maryland’s 21-7 lead to 21-13.
After sophomore running back Ty Johnson ripped off a 47-yard run to the Rutgers 28, then added a 10-yard run, sophomore wide receiver D.J. Moore got it down to the 3 on an end-around.
One play later, it was right near the goal line.
It was time for Stefanelli.
“When we called the personnel [package] and I saw how close we were and the vibe [offensive coordinator Walt Bell] was giving me about how much he wanted me to score, it was like, ‘This is going to happen. Let’s run this play,’" Stefanelli said.
Asked about his four-season wait to get a carry, Stefanelli said, “It’s been a long, rough road, but I came out stronger and everything I’ve been through helped shape me to who I am today and who I will be.
After meeting with Durkin and Bell last winter, Stefanelli felt better about his role in the program than he had under former coach Randy Edsall.
“He told me that I would have a role because they liked the way I played, they like my attitude about the game, my passion and all that,” Stefanelli said of Durkin. “They told me the role would be small, but there would be a role. When he said that, I knew that it was pretty much it, I knew he wasn’t lying to me.
The role grew a biy on senior day, creating a special moment for Stefanelli.
“I think it says a lot about Coach Durkin, but also about his staff,” Stefanelli said “They put the trust in the guys when their name is called; we trust each other to make those plays.”
There is a reason that the short-yardage play is called “Ram Man”.
“That’s one of my nicknames I guess,” Stefanelli said.