Playing quarterback for Maryland is like visiting the Bermuda Triangle.
On Sunday the Terrapins incredible season of bad luck with quarterbacks took another bizarre turn with news that freshman Caleb Rowe has a torn ACL in his left knee and is out for the season. Rowe is the Terrapins’ fourth quarterback this year, and third in a span of eight days, to go down with a season-ending injury.
“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. “Somebody ought to do some research to see if this has ever happened before.”
In Saturday’s 20-17 loss at Boston College, Rowe was injured on the Terps’ penultimate offensive play, a scramble on which he was tackled near the Maryland sideline. Edsall saw Rowe’s knee twist and asked him if he was okay. Rowe answered in the affirmative, but felt pain this morning when he arose. The injury was confirmed via MRI on Sunday.
“I feel awful for Caleb. I know how excited he was to get his opportunity to be the quarterback of this team,” Edsall said in a statement. “Caleb has a bright future ahead of him and we will do everything we can to support him through the rehab process.”
In his starting debut on Saturday, Rowe completed 23 of 42 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The injury leaves Maryland without a quarterback. Last week, Edsall revealed that walk-on Dustin Dailey had been grounded by academics. The only other quarterback on the roster, Ricardo Young, is sitting out this year after transferring from New Mexico.
Edsall will turn to two freshmen who played quarterback for their high school teams, but came to Maryland to play other positions. Linebacker Shawn Petty (6-1, 230), a 2012 graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt, will start next Saturday at home against Georgia Tech (3-5). Petty guided ER to a 10-1 record last fall, throwing for 1,244 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The backup will be tight end Brian McMahon (6-4, 230), a 2012 graduate of Atholton. McMahon led the Howard County school to an 11-1 record last fall, passing for 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns and running for 772 yards and eight scores.
Edsall said he has no plans to convert sensational freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs to quarterback.
“We have complete and full confidence in Shawn in what he can do and what he’ll be able to bring to our team as a quarterback,” Edsall said.
In the preseason, Maryland lost junior C.J. Brown, the only Terps quarterback with college experience, to a torn ACL which he suffered in a non-contact drill. Last week, in a 20-18 loss to North Carolina State, freshman Perry Hills suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter, and sophomore Devin Burns went down with a Lisfranc fracture (foot) in the fourth quarter.
Maryland (4-4) remains alive for an improbable bowl berth. But reaching the postseason will be difficult with an emergency quarterback and a daunting schedule which includes Florida State (8-1), Clemson (7-1), and North Carolina (6-3).
“We still have games we gotta play and we want to win,” Edsall said. “Everybody now has to do their part and contribute a little bit more. They know Shawn’s gonna be the quarterback and everybody’s gonna rally around him and do everything they can to make him successful.”