Maryland true freshman quarterback Kasim Hill will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the 38-10 loss to Central Florida on Saturday, coach D.J. Durkin announced Tuesday afternoon.
Hill joins Tyrrell Pigrome as the second Terps quarterback in four weeks to be hit with the same season-ending injury. Pigrome suffered his ACL tear in the first half of the season-opener at Texas, while Hill endured his on a play in the first quarter against UCF where he tried to make something happen with his legs on a third-and-13 near the red zone on Saturday.
“It’s just a part of the game,” Durkin said after the loss Saturday. “There are plenty of offenses and guys out there who run. It’s part of the game and it’s something we talk about and have educated him how to avoid hits. But at the end of the day, he’s a competitor.
“When it happens at the same position, it makes things a little tougher,” Durkin added in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “But it’s part of life and a great way to learn.”
— Kyle McFadden (@k_fadd) September 24, 2016
The St. John’s (D.C.) product had been extolled as something as a savior over the past few weeks, a sign of hope at a position that Maryland has had little to no production at in recent memory — seeing six different quarterbacks receive significant time over the past two seasons.
In three games, Hill was 18-for-21 passing for 230 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions to go along with one rushing touchdown. He came on in relief for Pigrome in the opener at No. 23 Texas, and eventually led the Terps to their first win against a ranked opponent in seven years.
Maryland will now turn to sophomore Max Bortenschlager for this Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Minnesota. It will mark the third straight year and fourth time in six years that Maryland has started three or more quarterbacks in a season.
Bortenschlager struggled for much of Saturday’s loss versus UCF, finishing 15 of 26 for 132 yards a pair of interceptions, with the second being returned for a pick-six. Of the 12 drives Bortenschlager was under center Saturday, nine ended in a punt or turnover (six punts, three turnovers) and only one was capped with a touchdown. The Terps were also 2-for-11 on third down with Bortenschlager and looked one dimensional under Walt Bell’s dynamic offense that averaged over 300 rushing yards per game through the first two contests of the season.
“Max is a tough kid. He went into a tough spot. I thought it was a gutsy performance. It wasn’t perfect, but who would expect it to be?” Durkin said after the game Saturday. “Max has confidence in himself, and we have confidence in him. Now having a full week to prepare and practice, we can tailor the game plan to him as opposed to someone else.”
Along with Bortenschlager, Maryland only has one (semi) healthy scholarship quarterback left on its roster in Caleb Henderson, who has missed the first three games of the season with a foot injury, but is expected to dress in the conference opener this weekend. Henderson, once considered as a 4-star prospect out of high school, has only appeared in two games — both in 2015 with North Carolina — and with only one collegiate pass attempt to show for.
The Terps also have a pair of walk-ons in former Air Force quarterback Ryan Brand (zero pass attempts, nine yards rushing in collegiate career) and freshman Legend Brumbaugh, the son of defensive coordinator Jimmy Brumbaugh.
The final three quarters of Saturday’s throttling against UCF could provide a glimpse of how the rest of the season will play out for Maryland as Terps fans frantically search for any sliver of hope to ride. Sure, it’s a small sample size without a doubt, and the Knights were extra motivated, playing in their first game in over three weeks because of Hurricane Irma.
Durkin expressed the need to be two-dimensional after the deflating loss Saturday, something the Terps flashed over the opening two games of the season and lacked over the weekend, and the scoreboard showed. On the brightside, Maryland harnesses the 29th-best rushing attack heading into conference play and still have a host of playmakers to give the ball to in D.J. Moore (335 total yards and five touchdowns on 24 touches), Ty Johnson (299 total yards and three touchdowns on 29 touches), Taivon Jacobs (150 yards and one touchdown on 10 receptions), Lorenzo Harrison (126 yards on 29 carries), Javon Leake (19.5 yards per carry) and Jake Funk (9.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns).
“There’s a 100 percent chance that somebody gets hurt in a sport like football,” Maryland defensive back Darnell Savage said of Hill’s injury. “We can’t let that bother us. We just have to keep playing.”