Someday, Maryland is going to play in the snow, the wind and the cold in a Big Ten road game with a lot more at stake.
Someday, the Terps are going to be able to beat one of the Big Ten East’s elite.
Someday, DJ Durkin is going to see a call go his way — and not see a whistle like the one Jacquille Veii got for “running into the kicker.”
Just not on Saturday.
Maryland played its most competitive game under Durkin against a ranked Big Ten team, losing at No. 17 Michigan State, 17-7.
The Terps had a chance to make things interesting after Michigan State kicker Matt Coghlin, who looked like a soccer player taking a dive in the box when Veii touched him, made a 27-yard field goal to increase Maryland’s deficit to 17-0.
Sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager, who was benched for the start of the second half in favor of redshirt sophomore Ryan Brand, led the Terps on a seven-play, 59-yard drive that Lorenzo Harrison III finished with a 4-yard touchdown with 9:50 to go.
The defense, which played one of its better games under Durkin, gave the ball back to Bortenschlager, who took advantage of Michigan State’s soft zone coverage to drive the ball from the Maryland 13 to the Michigan State 18 before the offense stalled.
The game basically ended when Henry Darmstadter missed a 36-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining.
On a day when the defense finally showed some resolve, the Terps thwarted a Michigan State touchdown when recently reinstated linebacker Shane Cockerille (Gilman) tackled running back Gerald Holmes at the 1, fellow linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. stripped him of the ball and nickel back RaVon Davis recovered.
The call against Veii, who had trouble stopping on the wet and slick field and barely touched Coghin, who looked like he got hit by a linebacker rather than a 188-pound receiver. It certainly would’ve been interesting to see what would have happened had Maryland scored a second touchdown and lost on what was a field goal that should never have been kicked after Coghlin had initially missed from 32 yards.
What it means
Very little in the short term, but given the fact that this is the closest the Terps have come to having a meaningful fourth-quarter possession in a game against one of the Big Ten East’s traditional powers, this could be something Durkin builds on going into Saturday’s regular-season finale against No. 10 Penn State. Unfortunately, Penn State’s offense is a lot better than Michigan State’s.