With wide receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs both exiting Maryland’s loss to Wake Forest three weekends ago with broken legs, it was easy to forget about Brandon Ross. But the Terrapins’ starting running back also joined the parade of injuries that day, walking into the locker room and returning in street clothes, a plastic bag of ice strapped around his injured shoulder.
“I couldn’t really move it up and down, so I had some ice on it to put a damper on the pain,” he said Wednesday.
Like many of his teammates, the bye week helped Ross brush off whatever ailed him, in this case a shoulder problem that caused him to miss the following game against Clemson. But he expects to suit up on Saturday vs. Syracuse.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m feeling refreshed, just trying to get back into the thick of things, practice and getting my body right. I’ve been feeling good. I’ve been taking a lot of reps in practice, just trying to get my game plan and my assignments for this week, so I can help the team.
“Yeah I definitely feel like I’m adjusting back in pretty quick. The pain’s definitely going down. That’s a good sign.”
Maryland’s rushing offense has grown impotent since ACC games began. Against Florida State, the Terps gave up 30 more points (63) than they gained rushing yards (33). The margin against Wake Forest only slightly tipped to the ground game (34 points, 39 rushing yards).
A healthy C.J. Brown at quarterback will help matters. Dating back to the West Virginia game, two weeks before the Terps opened their conference schedule, Brown has rushed for negative-six net yards, a twofold result of his suffering health and a porous offensive line giving up big sacks. But the Terps can also ill-afford another down afternoon from Ross. This season, the sophomore has fluctuated between stellar outings (149 yards against Old Dominion, 88 yards and two touchdowns against Virginia) and barely blipping the radar screen (minus-one yard on three carries at Florida State).
“Part of our offense is you always want to have a good running game,” Ross said. “That always opens up play-action, a whole lot of things you can do in the offense. We’ve still got capable wide receivers who can get the job done.”