COLLEGE PARK — After the program's most one-sided defeat in 20 years, the Maryland football team will try to show it has a short memory when the Terps play Virginia on Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
Coming off a 63-0 demolition at Florida State that cost Maryland (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) its chances of an unbeaten season, its spot in the Top 25 and likely senior quarterback C.J. Brown for at least one game, the Terps return home to face the Cavaliers, who are trying to exorcise their own recent demons.
"It's a little difficult [to forget], but college football is a week-to-week thing," sophomore tailback Brandon Ross said. "You've really just got to put it behind you as quickly as you can and move on to the next opponent. ... We're going to bounce back. You can just see the want in everybody in the locker room and how they want to get back on a winning track. Nobody wants to lose like that again."
Asked if his most lopsided defeat as a head coach validated some of the things he had been saying all season about his team being far from its potential, third-year coach Randy Edsall said, "What happens is people get caught up in the moment all the time instead of just looking at what the big picture is of the whole season.
"You're playing 12 one-game seasons and this happens to be the sixth one that we've got this year. That's why I say you don't worry about anything until the end of the season and you have something to go on and judge yourself by. If you do that, you're able to stay sane in this business as you go. You keep things in perspective, you have a better chance of dealing with the things you're dealing with."
This is what the Terps are dealing with: playing Virginia (2-3, 0-1) after the Cavaliers suffered their own embarrassing defeat, a 48-27 loss at home last week to Ball State, and possibly going on for the time being without Brown, who is listed as doubtful after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter against Florida State.
Sophomore Caleb Rowe, who was one of four Maryland quarterbacks to play last year after Brown's season-ending knee injury in the preseason, will likely start against the Cavaliers. A year ago, Rowe came in after both Brown and then-freshman Perry Hills went out with injuries. He started one game, against Boston College, before also seeing his season end with a knee injury.
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said Wednesday that he will be interested in seeing how the Terps respond to last week's crushing result, which came on national television after Maryland was off to its best start since 2001.
"It's our jobs as coaches to get us through it," Locksley said. "There's not a lot of time to dwell on what happened Saturday. We addressed it Sunday, and one of things we said on offense is that we wouldn't allow what happened against a really good Florida State team have any meaning on what took place against Virginia."
But Locksley conceded: "Talking about it one thing and going out and doing it is another. We'll find out a lot about ourselves this Saturday."
Defensive end Zeke Riser, who transferred from Houston as a graduate student this summer, said many Terps "took it hard" and acknowledged that coming off a blowout loss isn't easy.
"It's definitely more difficult than some other losses, but I think if we would have won by say a point or a field goal, I think that would have been tougher," Riser said Tuesday. "We don't have time to sit down and worry about Florida State. We're already moving on to Virginia."
Riser said that he and his teammates can't allow the loss at Florida State to erase the confidence and momentum that was built during the 4-0 start, including an impressive 37-0 win over West Virginia on Sept. 21.
"Even though we lost, we're still 4-1 and there's a lot of goals that we can still accomplish and the guys are staying positive," Riser said. "Starting off we definitely want to make a bowl game and with four wins, that's definitely in the picture. If things line up right, we're still trying to get to the conference championship. We want to get as many wins as possible and go out on a positive note."
Virginia (2-3, 0-1 ACC) @ Maryland (4-1, 0-1)
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m
Site: Byrd Stadium
Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM
Series: Maryland leads 43-32-2
Last meeting: Maryland defeated Virginia, 27-20, on Oct. 13, 2012, in Charlottesville, Va.
Line: Maryland by 7
Maryland offense vs. Virginia defense: Maryland was averaging 39.8 points per game before getting shut out at Florida State last week. Now the Terps are starting over. Quarterback C.J. Brown (concussion) is doubtful, so sophomore Caleb Rowe is likely to start. The Terps might still run the read-option — Brown's specialty — but they would be more limited without his quickness. Virginia surrendered 48 points last week in a loss to Ball State and ranks seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference ACC in yards allowed (340.6 per game) and last in turnover margin (minus-eight). Sophomore defensive end Eli Harold is tied for ninth in the conference with 3.5 sacks.
Maryland defense vs. Virginia offense: Virginia has turned the ball over 14 times (seven fumbles, seven interceptions), last in the ACC. The Cavaliers are led by running back Kevin Parks, who had his fifth career 100-yard rushing game last week and scored two touchdowns. Maryland's defense, which ranks fifth in the conference, will be without starting linebacker Matt Robinson (shoulder). The Atholton grad is expected to be replaced by junior Alex Twine.
— Jeff Barker