Durkin calls loss of Harrison ‘significant’ for Terps offense
Coach offers no details about suspensions of running back, two others
While saying there was no new information regarding the indefinite suspensions of three freshman players for violating the student-athlete code of conduct, first-year Maryland football coach DJ Durkin called the loss of running back Lorenzo Harrison “significant” to the team’s offense.
Speaking on his regular Monday teleconference, Durkin did not provide specifics about the reason behind the suspensions of Harrison, backup linebacker Antoine Brooks and backup wide receiver DJ Turner. The suspensions were announced before Saturday’s 62-3 loss at home to No. 5 Ohio State.
“Lorenzo is certainly a critical part to our offense and what we’ve been able to do this year,” Durkin said. “That’s a significant loss.”
Harrison came into last week’s game against the Buckeyes with 633 yards, two short of the team lead of sophomore Ty Johnson and 57 shy of breaking LaMont Jordan’s school record, set in 1997. Harrison was also the first freshman in Maryland school history to rush for touchdowns in his first four games.
With Harrison out of the lineup, the Terps were held to a season-low 43 yards on 40 carries, with Johnson getting a team-high 21 yards on eight carries. Harrison had started two of the three games before last week and along with Johnson had given the Terps one of the best backfield tandems in the Big Ten.
Johnson took over as the starter in Harrison’s absence, with senior Wes Brown getting a season-high nine carries for only 12 yards. Freshman Jake Funk got four carries for 13 yards and senior Kenneth Goins Jr. (Gilman) had two attempts for minus-3 yards. Wide receiver D.J. Moore also had one carry for 2 yards.
The longest runs from scrimmage for Maryland came on two quarterback scrambles, a 10-yard run by fifth-year senior Caleb Rowe in the first half and an 11-yarder by freshman Tyrrell Pigrome in the second half. Both played after fifth-year Saturday, noon TV: ESPNews Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: Nebraska by 141⁄ Lorenzo Harrison was Maryland’s secondleading rusher with 633 yards. senior Perry Hills injured his left shoulder in the first quarter and was taken out.
Hills’ status for Saturday’s game at No. 19 Nebraska remains uncertain, a nearly weekly situation for Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell. It was the second straight game in which Hills was forced to the sideline because of an injury and the third time this season.
After hurting his right shoulder in a double-overtime win at Central Florida in mid-September, Hills was knocked out of a loss at Penn State two weeks later in the first half, sat out a home loss to Minnesota, played through a home win over Michigan State and was forced out in the second quarter in a 59-3 loss at Michigan two weeks ago.
The injury to Hills’ left shoulder against the Buckeyes came on Maryland’s second offensive series.
Asked how Hills is doing, Durkin said, “He’s sore coming out of the game. He suffered an injury to his other shoulder. We’ve got two things going on with him right there. We’ll take it day to day. He’s getting a bunch of treatment, he’s very proactive about things, as you can imagine, and very competitive about being out there. I wouldn’t want to make any determination until we go through the week day to day to see how he is.”
Durkin and Bell will have to figure out a rotation at running back without Harrison.
Asked if there was a possibility that graduate transfer running back Trey Edmunds, who broke his foot in a September practice, could return this season, Durkin said, “Potentially, but probably a long shot with Trey. That would be pushing it a little bit. He’s working hard and doing well and all that, but that’s not something we’re counting on.”
NOTE: Maryland’s home finale against Rutgers on Nov. 26 will kick off at noon and be televised on ESPNews.
Charlie Thomas (River Hill) and Wisconsin will face Creighton tonight