The injury bug has again struck a cruel blow to the Maryland offense, as quarterback Devin Burns and wide receiver Marcus Leak each suffered foot injuries on Saturday against North Carolina State and will miss the remainder of the season.
Burns’s injury leaves the Terrapins with only one quarterback on their active roster — true freshman Caleb Rowe — after C.J. Brown tore his ACL before the season and Perry Hills suffered the same injury in the first half against the Wolfpack.
Burns, who thrived as Hills’s replacement for much of the second half against N.C. State and was expected to share time under center with Rowe on Saturday against Boston College, suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot. Leak, one of the Terrapins’ top targets on the outside and the team’s second-leading receiver (23 catches, two touchdowns), broke a toe. Both will have surgery on Friday.
Burns is expected to miss between nine months and one year. A Lisfranc injury is described as either broken mid-foot bones or torn mid-foot ligaments, and doctors will not know the extend of Burns’s injury until they perform the surgery
Leak could be out from three to four months.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Coach Randy Edsall said Thursday. “But it is what it is. There’s nothing you can do. You feel bad for these guys, but we can’t worry.
“I’ve been a head coach for 12 years, and even as an assistant coach, you go through those things so you know how to handle them. You’ve experienced these things so it’s not foreign territory.”
Burns’s ailment appeared to occur midway during the fourth quarter against N.C. State, when he was flushed out of the pocket and sacked. Running to his right, Burns was tripped up, planted on his left foot and stumbled headfirst to the turf. Favoring his right foot when he got up, Burns actually picked up a 10-yard gain on the very next play, but did not receive a carry for the rest of the game.
Rowe entered the game with 32 seconds left and drove Maryland down the field, but Brad Craddock’s 33-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright, giving the Wolfpack a 20-18 victory.
Rowe, who was expected to redshirt this season as recently as last week, will start against Boston College. Shawn Petty, a converted linebacker and former high school quarterback, will be the backup, while Brian McMahon, a converted tight end who also played quarterback in high school, will be the third string.
“It’s his team,” Edsall said of Rowe. “He won’t have to worry about a quick hook. Just go play and have fun. The biggest thing is we have to keep him loose. That’s how he plays. Keep him calm and relaxed. He’s got the ability. He’ll do well, he has the skill set.”
Leak broke his toe early in the third quarter, stumbling down to the N.C. State 2-yard line following a 38-yard reception. An MRI exam and CT scan revealed the injury.
Nigel King will start in Leak’s place alongside Stefon Diggs and Kevin Dorsey, though Levern Jacobs could see substantial time as well. Both King and Jacobs recorded their first career receptions against N.C. State.
Bennett Fulper, Dave Steinbaugh and Kerry Boykins will also be out against Boston College, Edsall announced.
“You’re getting to be a pro team,” Edsall joked. “Fifty-three-man rosters.”