COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Perry Hills was sprawled on his back, and he
wasn't getting up. At that point, Maryland's chances of beating North
Carolina State appeared over.
Worse, the rest of the season also seemed to be in serious jeopardy.
The Terrapins rallied behind backup Devin Burns and also got a strong
performance from third-stringer Caleb Rowe, and although Maryland lost
20-18 on Saturday, there was hope that the team could rebound from this
defeat and loss of its starting quarterback.
Hills left in the second quarter with a knee injury, and the prognosis was not encouraging.
"We will wait and see what the MRI tells about it, but it doesn't look good," Terrapins coach Randy Edsall said.
Burns replaced Hills and nearly produced a stunning victory for
Maryland (4-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) against all odds in the
first extensive action of his college career.
After N.C. State's Niklas Sade kicked a 43-yard field goal with 32
seconds left for a 20-18 lead, Rowe moved Maryland 60 yards in five
plays before Brad Craddock's 33-yard field goal attempt clanged off the
left upright with two seconds remaining.
"That was a very disappointing and heartbreaking loss," Edsall said.
"We put ourselves in position to win the game there at the end but we
just came up short."
Burns, a sophomore, rushed for 50 yards and completed 3 of 4 passes
for 47 yards. He wasn't even on the depth chart at quarterback at the
beginning of summer practice and ran only two plays this season before
being pressed into action after Hills was carted from the field.
"When one guys goes down, the other guy has to step up," Maryland
freshman receiver Stefon Diggs said. "That's part of battling
Edsall said: "I think we have two guys who will help us move forward.
It's a credit to how they have prepared and to our offensive coaches
for having those kids ready."
Ten of the last 13 games between these teams have been decided by
fewer than 10 points, including five in which the differential was less
than four points. As usual, neither team could pull away in this one.
The Wolfpack (5-2, 2-1) trailed 18-17 and had no timeouts left upon
getting the ball at their own 20 with 2:17 to go. Mike Glennon completed
a 14-yard pass to Quintin Payton on a third-and-10 and pushed N.C.
State into field-goal range with a 14-yard completion to Rashard Smith.
"When it came time to make plays, he made plays," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said of his senior quarterback.
And then, after Sade made his clutch kick, the Wolfpack defense nearly gave the lead away.
"Sometimes over the course of a season you have to win a game where you scratch your head a little bit," O'Brien said.
Glennon went 23 for 47 for 307 yards and two touchdowns, and Bryan
Underwood had six catches for 134 yards and a score. Underwood has
caught a TD pass in seven straight games, the longest such streak in
Maryland trailed 10-3 at halftime and 17-15 in the fourth quarter
before rallying behind Burns and true freshman Wes Brown, who ran for
121 yards on 25 carries.
The Terps went up 18-17 on a 48-yard field goal by Craddock with 13:39 left, but the lead wouldn't stand up.
Hills' injury occurred while he was trying to make a tackle after
throwing an interception. The quarterback was chasing David Amerson when
he was flattened by Rickey Dowdy, who was called for an illegal block
to the back.
Hills was thrust into the starting role in August after C.J. Brown
tore his ACL. Hills helped Maryland win four of six games and was 12 for
20 for 159 yards in this one before leaving.
Burns, meanwhile, moved from quarterback to wide receiver in the
spring of 2011, then switched back to quarterback during preseason camp
after Brown's injury.
In spite of his lack of experience, Burns brought the Terrapins back
against an N.C. State coming off a bye and two weeks removed from
beating Florida State.
Maryland trailed 10-3 before a blocked punt and interference penalty
set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Brown midway through the third quarter.
The conversion kick failed.
On the first play following the kickoff, Underwood slipped free down
the middle and was 10 yards behind the closest Maryland defender when he
hauled in a rainbow pass from Glennon for a 68-yard score.
"That play was a killer for us," Edsall said.
Undaunted, Burns directed a 74-yard drive that got the Terrapins to
17-15. After peeling off runs of 23, 5 and 14 yards in addition to
completing a 38-yard pass to Marcus Leak, Burns scored on a bootleg from