Randy Edsall's intent was to repeat his message one final time, the same message he had emphasized to Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown during the week.
So the Terps coach approached his senior quarterback leading up to Saturday's game against Michigan and told him one last time to just relax and have fun.
Brown responded: "You don't need to tell me that."
"Right then and there, I knew he kind of felt at ease," Edsall said during his weekly Sunday conference call.
Brown went out against Michigan and played what Edsall described as the quarterback's best game of the season, exploiting the Wolverines as both a runner and as a passer while leading the Terps to a 23-16 victory that moved Maryland to 7-4 heading into its final game of the regular season.
There were no gaffes, like Brown's poor decision that led to an interception that was returned for a touchdown against Michigan State in the previous week.
Brown, who received Maryland's offensive game ball Saturday against Michigan, ran for 87 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He was 13 of 24 for 165 yards passing. And Brown led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives after the Terps started the quarter trailing, 16-9.
Brown's passing numbers would have been better if not for at least five drops by Maryland receivers, including three during the first quarter.
"He really did a good job running the ball, throwing the ball, not getting down when guys had some drops there early on," Edsall said. "I thought he executed real well."
Brown was coming off of a tough three-game stretch, having completed 47.4 percent of his passes or less in each of the Terps' previous three games.
Maryland averaged just 14 points per game during that stretch, and Edsall said earlier in the week that Brown's struggles had reached a point that the coach would be prepared to make a change at quarterback against Michigan if Brown did not improve.
There was no need to do that Saturday.
Brown's first pass was an on-target strike over the middle to wide receiver Jacquille Veii. While Veii dropped the pass, Brown was decisive, confident and accurate throughout the game, delivering strikes of 21 yards to Veii and 15 yards to Deon Long to set up three field goals by Brad Craddock during the first half.
Brown then ran for an 8-yard touchdown that tied the game at 16 early in the fourth quarter, and he had completions of 17 yards to Veii and 36 yards to Amba Etta-Tawo to set up what proved to a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run from Wes Brown later in the quarter.
"We did some things to help him yesterday, and I think he just felt very, very comfortable," Edsall said Sunday, "and he played that way. He utilized his whole repertoire ... in terms of his legs, his arm, all of those things. It was good to see, and we need him to play that way all the time."
NOTES: Aside from Brown, the Terps' other game balls went to safety Anthony Nixon (defense) and cornerback Will Likely (special teams). Nixon had seven tackles, including a half-sack. "I thought that he probably played his best game of the year," Edsall said. "He was all over the place. He did a great job of communicating and doing the things that we expect out of a guy at his position." Likely had a 31-yard kick return, a 28-yard punt return and a touchdown-saving tackle on a Michigan fake punt during the first quarter. That turned out to be a big play considering the Terps' defense ended up holding Michigan to a field goal. Likely also had an interception on defense, his sixth of the season. … Senior Jake Wheeler played well in his first start at left tackle and will remain Maryland's starter at the position heading into next week's game against Rutgers, Edsall said.