Running back Lorenzo Harrison threw a pass. Running back Jake Funk threw a pass. Wide receiver DJ Moore threw a pass and punted.
But the gimmicks made little difference in Maryland football's 35-10 loss to No. 21 Michigan on Saturday — its fifth defeat in six games. The Wolverines have now held the Terps to 13 points over their past three meetings.
Ryan Brand became Maryland's fourth starting quarterback this year after third-string option Max Bortenschlager suffered an injury last weekend against Rutgers. Signal-callers Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill went down with season-ending ACL tears in the first three weeks of the campaign.
So coach DJ Durkin said his players were timid early on, unsure if they could compete with Michigan while down to a walk-on quarterback.
"Let's call it like it is. No disrespect to [Brand], but we started our fifth-string quarterback today against one of the best defenses in the country," Durkin said. "There was a little tentativeness like, 'Can we really do this? Is this actually going to work?'"
Maryland appeared to catch Michigan off guard in the first quarter when Harrison took a carry a couple of steps toward the right sideline before throwing back to Brand across the field. But with blockers ahead of him and the Wolverines out of position, Brand dropped the ball.
That miscue haunted the Terps, who could have used a big gain to settle into the contest.
"I thought it was gonna be a completion," Harrison said.
"That's another one of those plays we wish we could have back," Brand added.
Brand struggled to throw downfield, which limited the Terps' offense to those kinds of trick plays and short passes. The Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten), who entered with the 11th-best scoring defense in the nation, dealt with that approach well, keeping Maryland (4-6, 2-5) in check as they built a commanding first-half lead.
Three straight special teams missteps gifted Michigan momentum.
Moore punted just 34 yards in place of Wade Lees, who appeared to receive medical treatment on the sideline. Five plays later, Michigan running back Chris Evans reached the end zone with a one-yard burst.
Maryland attempted a fake punt from its own territory on its next drive, but Funk's fourth-and-7 completion to wide receiver Jacquille Veii fell three yards short.
The stretch concluded with Michigan blocking a punt on the Terps' 19-yard line and scoring two plays later to take a 28-0 lead into the break.
"Those were big plays," Durkin said. "It let the game get away from us a little bit."
The Terps avoided a shutout with a third-quarter field goal by Henry Darmstadter. Wide receiver Taivon Jacobs hauled in a 10-yard touchdown, continuing an impressive stretch with eight catches for 92 yards.
Early in the fourth quarter, however, Evans ran for a 17-yard Wolverines score to extinguish hopes of a serious comeback.
With two games remaining, both against ranked opponents, Maryland's chances of reaching six wins and bowl eligibility are slim. Still, Jacobs struck a defiant postgame tone, saying the team hasn't given up on its season.
"There's plenty of football left to be played," Jacobs said. "We just like being the underdogs. Don't count us out because we're still here and we're still ready to play some more."