Maryland-Virginia postgame: With Stefon Diggs ‘nicked,’ Marcus Leak fielded punts

October 13, 2012

Some quick-hit postgame notes from Maryland’s 27-20 win at Virginia to get you through the weekend. I know you were waiting with bated breath for these. You weren’t? Oh well…


Marcus Leak got the call on punt returns Saturday. (Getty Images)

>> Wide receiver Marcus Leak began fielding punts early in the game, mostly calling for harmless fair catches. Coach Randy Edsall said that Stefon Diggs got “nicked” a bit, first when he soared high for a reception and landed on the ball, second when a defender fell on his ankle and the true freshman had to get it re-taped. This isn’t anything serious. Diggs remained in the game on offense and on kickoff returns, and seemed fine as he smiled his way through a postgame interview.

Leak looked fairly comfortable fielding punts. He had one return for seven yards. “Coach Edsall just came, asked me to catch a couple punts,” Leak said. “I just make sure I caught everything and it turned out okay.” 

>> Other Terrapins might not be as fortunate as Diggs. Bennett Fulper, Sal Conaboy, Darin Drakeford, Justus Pickett and Joe Vellano each went down for extended periods of time during the game. All walked off the field under their own power, but Conaboy never returned and Pickett seemed particularly shaken up. Fulper was seen on the sideline without his helmet, working on his explosiveness, so it’s safe to assume the injury was something with on his lower half. Drakeford and Vellano both returned, contributing huge sacks down the stretch.

Per tradition, Edsall offered little regarding the injuries after the game. He and the Terps like to hold off until Thursday to discuss ailments. 

>> Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross was held without a carry, more a product of Maryland’s focused game plan than anything he did. “He was available,” Edsall said. “We had a plan, we wanted to go in, play Justus and Albert [Reid], and again it’s really hard to get guys reps. We’ve made a decision, and we knew Wes wasn’t going to play, we’d just go with Justus and Albert.”

But with the Terps mustering negative rushing yardage for the first time since 2010 – more on this Sunday – could the chance-wheel of running backs go spinning once more in the days leading up to next Saturday’s North Carolina State matchup?

>> After Demetrius Hartsfield stole A.J. Francis’ trademark “Pain Train” sack dance against Wake Forest, I was at least expecting some form of retribution today. Darin Drakeford, who Hartsfield said brought out the best sack dance of 2011, and Joe Vellano each had two sacks.

“Most of the time we got sacks, Drake was on the ground,” Hartsfield said. “He was a little too tired to get up and doing anything. We didn’t do much celebrating today. We’re all pretty beat up.”

>> Anthony Nixon continues to justify Edsall’s decision to shuffle the defensive secondary and start him at safety in lieu of Matt Robinson’s injury. He intercepted Phillip Sims on Virginia’s first drive, the first of his career, that set up Pickett’s touchdown reception, and had finished with a team-high nine tackles.  

>> Apparently there was some pregame fuss concerning the game’s television broadcast on Comcast SportsNet. The channel stayed on Richmond-New Hampshire in the fourth quarter rather than cutting away to the start of Maryland-Virginia, so many fans in the Washington area missed Stefon Diggs’s 100-yard kick return to start the game and Pickett’s touchdown catch.

Brian Potter, senior director of communications for Comcast SportsNet, issued a statement on the matter:

In order to be fair to all teams and their fans, Comcast SportsNet’s policy (which is similar to other sports networks) is to never leave live coverage of NCAA football if the final result of the game is in question, regardless of the programming scheduled to follow. It is unfortunate when a game runs longer than expected, but the network feels that it is more important to present the end of each game — as opposed to the beginning of another game –  if conflicts arise during busy football Saturdays.

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