By: Max Marcilla
The Maryland football team made it back to a bowl game in 2016, defeated a top 25 opponent on the road to open the 2017 season and has reeled in several top recruits recently.
But there is one thing the Terrapins have not been able to shake: the bad luck of quarterback injuries.
Over the two years of the DJ Durkin era, Maryland has had four different starting quarterbacks. In two straight seasons, the Terps will be forced to give their third-string quarterback the start for a Big Ten game.
“You don’t see this happening at a lot of places — if at all,” wide receiver Jacquille Veii said. “It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot, I’m starting to think it’s a curse among the position.”
If it actually is a curse, it didn’t just start with Durkin. In 2015, Maryland was forced to play four quarterbacks, including now-linebacker Shane Cockerille, due to injuries and poor play. That unit was picked off an NCAA-high 29 times, nearly 2.5 interceptions per game.
Prior to that, in 2013, three Terps quarterbacks were victims ACL tears and, in 2012, Maryland used Shawn Petty, another player that switched to linebacker, as a quarterback.
Whether or not it’s a curse, it’s simply something Durkin says the team has to overcome.
“It’s part of the game unfortunately. When it happens at the same position, that makes things a little tougher, but it’s part of life. It’s a great way to learn.”
The second-year head coach views these moments of adversity as the main reason why football is so important.
“I laugh when people talk about ‘Should our youth play football?’” Durkin said. “It’s the greatest teacher of life lessons of anything you could do. This is part of it. There’s going to be worse things that happen in life too, unfortunately it’s part of it. Our guys – they’re resilient. They’re going to bounce back.”
The Terps will get a chance to bounce back in a big way — they will travel to Minnesota for the first time in program history to take on the 3-0 Golden Gophers.