Story By: Andrew Lang
Photos By: Sol Tucker
College Park, MD–
There are games you must win and there are games you just know you are going to win. Today against Illinois was one of those games, but it wasn’t one that went the Terps way, and it was one kick by Illinois that dropped the Terps to their second straight Big Ten Conference loss, 27-24.
Maryland had one drive that would have prevented the final second kick, but they could not get the first down in the final minutes to keep the ball and were forced to use up all of their timeouts which forced them to kick the ball away.
“Anytime we make calls like that it’s easy for us to second-guess them,” head coach Mike Locksley said of the third-down run. “We didn’t make a play on third-and-medium, which we have to be able to do, and we’ve been really good at it.”
“What happened today had very few things to do with Illinois. It goes back to what I always say, it’s gonna be us versus us, and we didn’t play very well,” Locksley said. “We did not play to our standard, and it’s frustrating to watch because I still have a lot of faith and belief in this team.”
Illinois entered Saturday with the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten, allowing 176 yards per game, yet the Terps could not take advantage. They tallied just 30 rushing yards in the first half and 93 yards in the game on 3.2 yards per rush.
Caleb Griffin who may have hit the biggest kick of his career at Illinois talked after the game about what they would do if he made the game winner.
“We were on the sideline and they had a lot of fans chirping, and I kind of told Hugh, I was like, ‘Hey, when we make this game-winning kick, we’re going to run down like it’s a soccer game,'” Griffin said. “Like when you score a soccer goal, you run to the other end and head-first slide, and it’s perfect with the wet turf.”