The Maryland football team will once again be without starting quarterback C.J. Brown, who has been officially ruled out of Saturday’s homecoming matchup against ninth-ranked Clemson with what the Thursday’s injury report called a trunk injury. Brown suffered the injury Saturday at Wake Forest when, after absorbing three first-half sacks and several other punishing hits, Coach Randy Edsall decided to bench his starter out of concern for Brown’s health.
The Terrapins also will be without starting running back Brandon Ross (shoulder), starting tight end Dave Stinebaugh (knee) and starting safety Anthony Nixon (toe) against the Tigers. Ross left the Wake Forest game and was later seen with ice strapped onto his shoulder. Nixon exited the game soon after Brown with his toe problem, and Stinebaugh has been listed as probable with a knee injury for the past several weeks.
Maryland already knew it would be without Stefon Diggs and Deon Long — its two top receivers — after both suffered season-ending leg injuries against Wake Forest.
On Thursday, Edsall confirmed that Brown’s latest injury was unrelated to the concussion that knocked him out of Maryland’s 63-0 loss at Florida State earlier this month. With Brown sidelined, sophomore Caleb Rowe will make his second start of the season as Maryland (5-2, 1-2 ACC) seeks a sixth win and bowl eligibility.
Edsall would not reveal the identity of Maryland’s backup quarterback for the Clemson game. Transfer Ricardo Young has appeared once this season as the team’s third-string quarterback, while fourth-stringer Perry Hills started the first seven games in 2012 after Brown tore his ACL during a preseason, non-contact workout.
Maryland now must face the Tigers with backups starting at quarterback (Rowe), running back (Albert Reid), two wide receiver positions (Amba Etta-Tawo and Levern Jacobs) and tight end (P.J. Gallo). Ironically, the offense’s weakest unit — the offensive line — has remained healthy this season except for backup Silvano Altamirano, who will miss the Clemson game with a lingering back problem.
“It’s a collision sport,” Edsall said. “You take a look every week at the NFL, and how many guys are going down. Even take a look in college. Like I said, it’s unfortunate, but we haven’t lost guys during the week [in practice]. At least that tells me we’re practicing the right way, in terms of what we want to do. The games are where, more than two-thirds of the injuries are coming just from the games.”
Linebackers Matt Robinson (rotator cuff) and Alex Twine (labrum) both of whom missed the Wake Forest game, are listed as probable. With Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and dynamic wide receiver Sammy Watkins looking to bounce back from the Tigers’ 51-14 loss to Florida State last Saturday, an already depleted Terps defense needs all the healthy bodies it can summon, but will also be without inside linebacker L.A. Goree (back spasms).
The Terps will get one player back from injury, however. Fullback Tyler Cierski should make his first appearance this season after suffering a preseason calf injury that kept him out of the first seven games.
>> Freshman defensive lineman Kingsley Opara underwent shoulder surgery to repair a labrum issue on Thursday. The injury predated Opara’s arrival at Maryland, Edsall said, and because the Floridan was bound for a redshirt year anyway, the Terps decided to operate now. Edsall anticipates Opara will return in a non-contact capacity during spring practice.
Diggs and Long both had successful surgeries this week, Edsall said. Their recovery timetables remain at four and six months, respectively.
>> Wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro, who suffered a concussion after being hit by a bus on campus earlier this month, will miss the Clemson game, and Edsall said the prognosis for his return this season does not appear promising.
Place kicker Adam Greene (quad), cornerback Jeremiah Johnson (toe), offensive lineman Nick Klemm (foot) and wide receiver DeAndre Lane (concussion) are all out Saturday, too. Lane’s absence means Maryland will have to shuffle things around to find a backup slot receiver behind Jacobs.
Johnson, however, tweeted that he finally had his walking boot removed. The once-starting cornerback could return to face Syracuse on Nov. 9 following Maryland’s second bye week.
>> Maryland will wear the red “Pride” uniforms that made their debut against West Virginia on Sept. 21, complete with the custom-painted helmets. The Terps were supposed to wear their traditional all-red homecoming uniforms, but the decision was made to bring the latest “Pride” jerseys back for one more game. The helmets were previously up for online auction, and Edsall said they will be sold after this weekend.
>> Wide receiver Taivon Jacobs (offense), defensive end Malik Jones (defense) and fullback Carl Buchholz (special teams) earned scout team players of the week.
Fullback Kenneth Goins (offense), nose tackle Darius Kilgo (defense) and linebacker Abner Logan (special teams) will be Saturday’s game captains.
Reid (American) and nose tackle Andre Monroe (Maryland) will carry the flags.