Kevin Dorsey and Kenneth Tate sat on opposite ends of Glazer Auditorium inside Gossett Team House, reflecting on their curtain call Saturday at Byrd Stadium, another loss in a season full of disappointment. It seemed like an exit interview, the seniors waxing nostalgic about favorite memories in College Park, the wide receiver and the linebacker talking about the blood relatives who showed up for the pregame ceremony and the Terrapins family they’ll soon leave behind.
In a season where little has gone as planned for Dorsey and Tate, with injuries throwing their respectively schedules far off course – personally for Tate, and to Maryland’s quarterbacks for Dorsey – each delivered their finest performances during Saturday’s 41-14 loss to Florida State, bright lights during an otherwise dismal day.
Once pegged as an NFL prospect, Tate became relegated to the injury report on a weekly basis but bounced back to become the first Maryland player with three sacks in a single game since Shawne Merriman in 2002.
“I felt good every game I’ve played,” said Tate, who went down this preseason with a knee injury. “I’m just happy to be back on the field. Today, with the emotion of Senior Day, seeing everyone come out, I guess there was a little more energy produced from that.”
On Saturday, Merriman collected used clothing for his annual coat drive outside the stadium, while Tate was busy inside blanketing Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel.
“Kenny had a couple tough breaks through the years,” defensive lineman Joe Vellano said. “Just really, I feel like he didn’t miss a step out there. He was really playing fast. That’s how you do it. Not even beating your guy, but taking down [Florida State quarterback] E.J. Manuel is tough, and doing it three times, that’s a huge game.”
Dorsey, meanwhile, has at times seemed out of sync with the seemingly endless procession of quarterbacks who have taken snaps for the Terps this year, with no time to develop a proper connection. But Dorsey finally got his break Saturday afternoon, finishing with 75 yards on two catches, both of which went for touchdowns.
“It’s something you definitely remember as your last game, but winning would have been better than anything else,” Dorsey said.
With Florida State already up 27-0 by halftime, quarterback Shawn Petty got flushed out of the pocket on fourth and two, then doubled back to his right side after the hard action to the left failed. Seeing Petty scramble for open space, Dorsey bolted across the field, and Petty deftly floated a pass over the Florida State secondary. Dorsey sprinted for open space and tumbled over the pylon for a 33-yard touchdown.
“We’ve got all types of big-play receivers,” Petty said. “He saw me in trouble, and as I was rolling out to the right, he broke off. It was a great play by him. He was smart and he’s going to make plays like that.”
Then, with just 25 seconds left in the game, Dorsey and Petty hooked up again, this time for a 42-yard touchdown on a double move. It was Dorsey’s first multi-touchdown game of his career, and the two receptions gave the senior more than 1,000 receiving yards for his career.
“Kevin has worked all season,” Coach Randy Edsall said. “He’s worked hard in practice and gone out in games and done his thing. To get to see him get two touchdowns is a good thing. We wish he had two in a winning situation. He’s a leader. He’s a captain. He doesn’t point his fingers. He just goes about his business and keeps working. That’s what you do. Good things happen to good people. When you do the things people ask you to do, you will be rewarded, and today it was nice to see him get those two touchdown catches.”