Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe has spent much of his final season buried on the depth chart, finding himself behind not only fellow fifth-year senior Perry Hills but true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome as well.

An injury toward the end of preseason camp had contributed to Rowe's demotion, as did a history of throwing unforced interceptions under former coach Randy Edsall last season that had continued in the spring with the arrival of new coach DJ Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell.


But with Hills forced out of Saturday's game at Michigan Stadium in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury, and the Terps already down 21-0 in what would turn into a 59-3 defeat to the third-ranked Wolverines, Rowe found himself on the field.

It was not to hold for field goals or extra points, as he had done all season.

It was not for a trick play, as he did in lining up as a wide receiver against Michigan State.

It was not to simply take a knee after getting a snap from center, as he had at the end of the first half in a game Hills missed and Pigrome started against Minnesota.

It was actually to play quarterback.

Being back at Michigan Stadium certainly brought back some pleasant memories for first-year Maryland coach and former Wolverines defensive coordinator DJ Durkin

Having seen Pigrome's inability to throw downfield in coming off the bench and trying to lead the Terps from behind at Penn State in Maryland's first loss of the season last month, Durkin called on Rowe.

"I thought he gave us the best chance for what the game plan was," Durkin said later.

Meaning: given how far Maryland was down after the defense was unable to stop Michigan from scoring each time it had the ball in the first quarter – and eventually for the first half in which the Wolverines took a 35-0 lead – Durkin knew that Rowe's downfield passing ability could give the Terps a chance to score.

"We're never out of the game," Rowe said of Maryland's mindset when he entered. "We're always fighting to the very end. I don't think anybody was doubting that we could come back. We just had to execute a little better. We left a lot of plays on the field."

Sophomore wide receiver D.J. Moore said after the game that he didn't see the play on which Hills got injured - it came when Hills was hit after completing a 19-yard pass to Moore - but had full confidence in Rowe to do the job.

"When Caleb came in, he just filled the role real good and just tried to lead us to the victory," Moore said.

A little more than 13 months after sitting in the visitors' coaching box for Michigan's 28-0 shutout win at Maryland, DJ Durkin will stand on the visiting sideline Saturday at Michigan Stadium in his ninth game as Terps head coach.

Rowe would finish his first extended opportunity of the season completing 12 of 23 passes for 203 yards. While a couple of his passes were dropped, Rowe's penchant for throwing almost unforced interceptions resurfaced – twice.

In both instances, Rowe gave the ball up in the face of minimal pressure, in the first case with only Michigan defenders in the area. Both passes were picked off by Wolverines safety Delano Hill. But there were also instances where Rowe made the kind of throws that Hills and Pigrome haven't.

"Obviously a couple of times he put the ball in harm's way, which we've got to work through and get over, but I thought he did a good job throwing the ball downfield and kept us moving, too," Durkin said after the game.


Said Rowe, "I think [we] just shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. We moved the ball pretty well. Michigan's a great defense, a great football team and that showed today."

As he has done for most of his career, Rowe was honest in his self- assessment.

"I just threw off my back foot, it was just a bad play on my part," Rowe, who threw 15 interceptions in four starts last season, said of the turnovers he made Saturday. "It was my fault."

Still, Rowe seemed happy to have finally been given a chance to play.

"It felt good," he said. "I've come a long way since summer. I've had a long season. I'm just trying to do everything I can to help my team. It felt good out there. I felt comfortable."

The Big Ten unveiled a plan Wednesday to play 18 prime-time football games on Friday and Saturday nights beginning in 2017.

Asked if he had been told in the days leading up to Saturday's game that he might play if Hills, who has fought shoulder issues for most of the season, was injured, Rowe said, "It was never really told to me. They just told me to stay ready and if something happens, they'd call my number."

Rowe will likely take the same approach heading into Saturday's home game against No. 6 Ohio State.

Given the way Durkin has approached the situation since Hills was first injured in a 30-24 double overtime win at Central Florida on Sept. 17, it could come down to another game-time decision depending on the severity and nature of Hills' latest injury.

Rowe doesn't seem too concerned about whether or not he will start, or even if he will play.

"It's not about me," he said. "I'm here to do whatever it takes for my team to succeed and to help Coach Bell wherever I can on the sideline. I've been through it long enough to kind of know what to do and how to do it, stay mentally into it. It's not really much of a struggle for me."

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