Bowl bid se­cure, Terps now aim for best one

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY DAVID GINS­BURG

Now that Mary­land has fi­nally got­ten its cov­eted sixth win, the Ter­rap­ins in­tend to use the fi­nal two weeks of the reg­u­lar sea­son to make a pos­i­tive im­pres­sion on bowl com­mit­tees around the coun­try.

Mary­land (6-4, 2-4 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) snapped a three-game los­ing streak and be­came bowl el­i­gi­ble by de­feat­ing Vir­ginia Tech on the road 27-24 in over­time last Satur­day.

It was an up­lift­ing vic­tory, but it did not nec­es­sar­ily as­sure the Ter­rap­ins their first post­sea­son ap­pear­ance since 2010.

“Six wins just makes you el­i­gi­ble,” coach Randy Ed­sall stressed Tues­day. “It doesn’t guar­an­tee you that you’re go­ing any­where, and I’ve told that to our team.”

Mary­land hosts Bos­ton Col­lege (6-4, 3-3) on Satur­day be­fore clos­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son with its fi­nal ACC foot­ball game, at North Carolina State on Nov. 30.

Even if the Ter­rap­ins lose twice to fin­ish 6-6, they still have a de­cent shot of go­ing to the Mil­i­tary Bowl on Dec. 27 in nearby An­napo­lis. With two more wins, how­ever, Mary­land could pos­si­bly earn a bowl bid that would re­quire trans­porta­tion by air­plane rather than a bus.

“Eight (wins) is ideal, and we’re go­ing to try to get seven this week,” quar­ter­back C.J. Brown said.

Af­ter start­ing the sea­son with four straight wins, the Ter­rap­ins lost four of five be­fore break­ing through at Vir­ginia Tech. Brown car­ried the of­fense, rush­ing for 122 yards on 23 car­ries with two touch­downs, in­clud­ing the gamewin­ner, a 3-yard sprint to the left py­lon in over­time.

The quar­ter­back’s stand­out per­for­mance came af­ter he ad­mit­tedly played ten­ta­tively af­ter re­ceiv­ing a con­cus­sion on Oct. 5 at Florida State and an up­per­body in­jury two weeks later at Wake For­est.

“I def­i­nitely felt a lot healthier than how I felt in the past, and I think it showed on the field,” Brown said.

Brown also threw for 135 yards and a score.

“That was the health­i­est he’s been since the Florida State game,” Ed­sall said. “He had more con­fi­dence in his own abil­ity, to be able to run and do the things he’s ca­pa­ble of do­ing. Dur­ing that (pre­vi­ous) stretch of games, he felt like he couldn’t have that burst and couldn’t have the ex­plo­sion that he nor­mally has. He had that feel­ing back in his body and his legs.”

Brown was backed by a de­fense that had seven sacks and lim­ited the Vir­ginia Tech run­ning game to 54 yards.

The re­sult was a vic­tory that re­stored a sense of con­fi­dence to a team that had lost its prior three games by a com­bined 54 points.

“A lot of peo­ple counted us out, didn’t think we could get another win the rest of the year,” Ed­sall said. “But if you be­lieve in your­self and you be­lieve in the peo­ple around you re­gard­less of what’s thrown in front of you, you can go win.”

Ed­sall cel­e­brated the win by run­ning around the field, look­ing like a “goof­ball” ac­cord­ing to Brown, who loved the show of emo­tion by the usu­ally stoic coach.

“It’s al­ways funny to see a coach run­ning around,” Brown said.

The im­prob­a­ble vic­tory — Vir­ginia Tech was fa­vored by more than two touch­downs — turned around a sea­son that was headed in the wrong di­rec­tion af­ter a fast start.

“Just get­ting that sixth win helps us,” Brown said. “I think it kind of swung the mo­men­tum. Go­ing into that game, it was tip­ping point. The sea­son could have gone ei­ther way.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mary­land coach Randy Ed­sall re­acts to a con­fir­ma­tion re­play of his teamís fi­nal score in Satur­day’s win against Vir­ginia Tech. The vic­tory made the Terps bowl el­i­gi­ble.

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