COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s spring football game was a flashback to last year, when the offense struggled because of inexperience at the quarterback position.
Running backs Brandon Ross, Albert Reid and wide receiver Stefon Diggs were the standouts Friday night as the Red and White teams played to a 13-13 tie before 8,200 fans at Byrd Stadium.
The game marked the end of spring practice for the Terrapins and coach Randy Edsall, who’s looking for a turnaround next season after going 2-10 and 4-8 in his first two years at Maryland,
“I couldn’t be more pleased with what’s taken place for the 15 days that we had in spring, culminated tonight with a good effort from everyone that was out here,” Edsall said after the final whistle.
After a spate of quarterback injuries forced Edsall to delve deep into his depth chart last season, the Terrapins finished with six straight defeats. The playmakers on offense were two freshmen — Ross and Diggs — and that’s how it was in the 2013 spring game.
Ross (122 yards on 19 carries) and Diggs (eight catches for 159 yards and a score) accounted for the lion’s share of the White squad’s offense. The most memorable play of the night came when Diggs took a short pass to the right side, juked a defender and sprinted down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown.
“He’s better this spring. He’s more focused,” Edsall said of Diggs. “He wants to be better. He doesn’t want to stay the same, he doesn’t want to regress. He understands the effort it takes to be a really good player.”
Reid ran for 135 yards and threw a touchdown pass for the Red team.
“That’s what we saw from Brandon and Albert all spring long in terms of how they run,” Edsall said. “The one thing we have to be able to do is run the ball effectively.”
Quarterbacks wore yellow jerseys and needed only to be touched to be downed, which explains in part why there were nine sacks.
Despite the lax rules, Edsall will wait until the Aug. 31 opener against Florida International to use starter C.J. Brown, who is still recovering from a torn ACL and saw light duty during spring practice.
Brown hurt his knee during summer practice last year. He was the first of four Maryland quarterbacks to sustain a season-ending injury, along with Perry Hills (knee), Devin Burns (foot) and Caleb Rowe (knee). That left Edsall no choice but to use converted linebacker Shawn Petty in the final four games.
Hills and Rowe, like Brown, are still working their way back into form. Burns transferred in January.
Petty is currently listed on the depth chart as a second-team inside linebacker, although he was used for a few plays under center Friday night as part of a trick-play package devised by the White team. Ricardo Young took most of the snaps for the White team, completing 12 of 21 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. Young, a junior, began his career at Virginia Tech and played for New Mexico in 2011 before transferring to Maryland.
Red team quarterback Dustin Dailey, a sophomore, went 8 for 17 for 81 yards and two interceptions. Sophomore Zach Dancel picked off a Dailey pass and took it to the Red 17-yard line with 6:37 left to set up a game-tying, 40-yard field by Brad Craddock.
On the game’s final play, Brendan Magistro of the Red team had a 22-yard field goal try blocked. He also missed an extra point.
Ross gained 52 yards rushing in the first quarter and had 100 at the half. The only score before intermission was a 24-yard field goal by Craddock.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)