College Sports

Terps look to Rowe to boost offense

COLLEGE PARK — During Maryland's three-way quarterback competition this summer, Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills, and Daxx Garman each had the opportunity to work with the first team in hopes of developing some continuity for when the starter was named.

Hills came out on top and started the Terps' first two games, but after last week's 48-27 loss to Bowling Green, coach Randy Edsall made a change.


Now the hope is that Rowe, with his live arm and chemistry with the Maryland offense, can jumpstart an offense that had moments of brilliance early on but stagnated late against Bowling Green.

"I didn't think we were getting the things done that we needed to get done in order for us to be who we need to be offensively," Edsall said. "By making the switch, I think it's going to allow us to be a little bit more versatile and do some of the things that we'd like to be able to do. Be able to put more pressure on the defense."


At times during the competition, including during Maryland's open scrimmage, Rowe was third in the pecking order. Though he said he was fine physically coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last October, there was still some rust and he got off to a slow start behind Hills and Garman.

But Rowe came on strong at the end of camp to overtake Garman for the second-string job behind Hills. Against Bowling Green, Rowe got his first action since last October and threw two interceptions while Maryland tried to put together a desperate comeback. The improvement that Rowe showed late in training camp has carried over to this season.

"I thought he's gotten better," Edsall said. "The one thing that I think you always have to understand is when you have an ACL injury and you come back from that, it takes some time, not only physically but also mentally to overcome the questions that you might have as an athlete."

Rowe won the job backing up C.J. Brown last season and only saw spot duty as Brown became the first Maryland quarterback since Sam Hollenbach in 2006 to start every game in a season. Rowe impressed at Indiana with 198 yards and two touchdowns after Brown exited with an injury but threw three interceptions in a blowout loss to Ohio State a week later.

For the first time since October 2013, though, Rowe will be approaching a game from a starter's perspective, not someone thrust into garbage time or an injury replacement. Against South Florida, he'll have the chance to step into the role as the main facilitator of the Maryland offense.

"I think Caleb has a pretty strong arm," wide receiver Levern Jacobs said. "I'm excited to see what he's going to do. I think it's a great opportunity for him as well. He's been waiting to be in that starting role for some years now and just sitting there in someone else's shadow in the past two years, and I think it's his time to step up and show what he can do as a quarterback."

As was much the same case as Hills, Rowe, a redshirt junior, has a wealth of experience to draw on with his teammates. He and Jacobs were successful together in 2013, and with two second-team wide receivers in sophomore Taivon Jacobs and freshman D.J. Moore taking on bigger roles, there's an element of familiarity that will be present when Rowe crouches under center Saturday.

While a quarterback change after two games might set off alarms or panic for some, the Terps are calm and confident in what Rowe will bring. Jacobs said the coaching staff urged the wide receivers and the rest of the offense to work with each quarterback as much as they could in the offseason so that any changes could be made as smoothly as possible.


Now, it's Rowe's chance to be the Maryland starter.

"I've been working with C-Rowe for three years now," Levern Jacobs said. "I think he kind of understands the type of player I am and I kind of understand what type of player he is, so I think that's going to kind of help us out in the passing game."