TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — First-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall could have a full blown quarterback controversy on his plate.
Sophomore Danny O’Brien, who was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Rookie of the Year in 2010, sparked a pair of Maryland touchdown drives in the second half of Saturday’s 41-16 loss at Florida State after replacing injured starter C.J. Brown.
And while Brown received medical clearance to return to the game, Edsall didn’t want to take any chances with the experienced O’Brien available.
“He was able to come back,” Edsall said. “Our doctors looked at him and they did come back and say that he was cleared to go.”
Brown had already had a tough day. He passed for 92 yards, but did not gain any yards on 10 rushing attempts after gaining 286 yards in Maryland’s two previous games.
“You have to give credit to their (Florida State’s) defense,” Edsall said. “This was the best defense we played all year.”
O’Brien passed for 180 yards in roughly one-third of the game.
He ran for one touchdown and hit Marcus Leak on a 15-yard touchdown throw with 5 seconds left in the game.
“Our kids fought back,” Edsall said. “I thought in the second half that we had some momentum going. We weren’t able to overcome their speed and athleticism.”
O’Brien’s 69-yard pass to Quintin McCree gave Maryland a first down at Florida State’s 6 to set up his 5-yard scoring run in the third quarter. McCree had a big game with 9 catches for 177 yards and running back Davin Meggett led the Terps with 44 yards and moved past 2,000 career rushing yards on his first carry of the game.
Edsall is confident that Maryland (2-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) will turn things around this season.
“We’re going to win. We’re going to get better,” he said. “I think we can win every game we have left on the schedule.”
But who he will go with at quarterback is again in question.
Edsall said he’d have to make a game-time decision on his starting quarterback for next week’s game against Boston College.
“We’ll evaluate it and watch the guys this week,” he said. “We didn’t make all the plays that we needed to make today.”
Edsall noted that Florida State had more than a little to do with his team’s performance.
“We just don’t match up with the speed and athleticism of Clemson and Florida State,” he said.
The Seminoles’ EJ Manuel passed for 264 yards and a touchdown, and freshman Devonta Freeman ran for 100 yards a second straight week in Saturday’s victory.
Jermaine Thomas chipped in with 86 yards and a 35-yard rushing score for the Seminoles (4-3, 2-2). Freeman had a 41-yard TD run included in his total. But Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher couldn’t get comfortable until his team finally got a 41-10 lead late in the fourth quarter.
“When it as a two-score game (24-10) and Danny O’Brien is in the game anything can happen,” Fisher said.
Now it’s up to Edsall who will get the reins to Maryland’s offense Saturday against Boston College.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)