As conference championship weekend is upon us, the Maryland football season is over. It seems like an eternity ago when the Terps took down Texas to start the season, or took their first loss to UCF. Now, the UCF Knights are undefeated and headed to a New Year's Six Bowl, and Maryland's season is over.
Through the first three quarters of the win against the Longhorns, Tyrrell Pigrome had the Terps up 37-34. Piggy had piled up 175 passing yards, 64 rushing yards, and three total scores. The season-ending injuries of Pigrome, and then Kasim Hill, left a lot of fans wondering, "what if?" Well you're about to find out.
Week 1: @ Texas Longhorns, Record: 0-0
Aside from a pick six on the first drive of the game, Piggy had Texas on its heels the entire game. With a lead through three quarters, the Terps were knocking on the door again when he went down. If Hill could finish off the game for Maryland, Pigrome wouldn't have had much trouble either.
Best mobile QBs to have ever played at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium
1. Tyrrell Pigrome
2. Vince Young
— Terps Watch (@TerpsWatch) September 2, 2017
Week 2: vs. Towson Tigers, Record: 1-0
In the Terps' best game of the season, they dominated Towson 63-17 in an all-around team effort. Hill and the offense made it look easy against the weak Tigers defense, and so would've Piggy.
Week 3: Bye
Week 4: vs. UCF, Record: 2-0
Max Bortenschlager was put in the game in a tough situation after Hill's injury, and a 38-17 loss was the result. UCF's not getting any consideration in the rankings, mostly because of their strength of schedule. If Pigrome was leading the offense, based on the small sample size, the Terps would've averaged 49 points per game. Although it would've been hard to maintain, a 49.3 ppg would've led the nation, just over UCF who leads the nation with 48.3. The Terps win a shootout in a close one.
Week 5: @ Minnesota, Record: 3-0
The Terps were able to put up 31 points on the Golden Gophers thanks to help from the running game, so Pigrome wouldn't have faced any issues throwing or running for multiple scores. On a side note, if DJ Moore was able to eclipse 1,000 yards with the carousel at quarterback, he easily could've been a Biletnikoff finalist with Pigrome healthy. This offense could've been one of the best in the Big Ten.
Week 6: @ 10 Ohio State, Record: 4-0
Imagine a Maryland-Ohio State matchup where the Terps have the better record. The 62-14 loss that we took in Columbus would've been a lot closer with Pigrome under center, but the Terps defense wasn't going to slow down the Buckeyes enough to win the game.
Week 7: vs Northwestern, Record: 4-1
Northwestern's 37-21 win over the Terps was the first of seven games the Wildcats have won going into bowl season. If Pigrome were leading the offense, this would've been a very even matchup and a hell of a game to watch. No defense would've been able to get a stop, and if Bortenschlager can throw for three scores, Pigrome would've had a field day; Maryland prevails.
Week 8: @ Wisconsin, Record: 5-1
As only two undefeated teams came into championship weekend, Maryland has losses from both of them. Wisconsin's running offense, led by Jonathan Taylor, overpowered the Terps in a 38-13 win for the Badgers. Maryland may have been able to put some more points on the board, but Wisconsin was undefeated for a reason. They play sound defense and use their big offensive line to wear down defenses. The Terps keep it close but can't get over the hump in Madison.
Week 9: vs. Indiana, Record: 5-2
On homecoming, the Terps gave fans a fun one to watch, as Maryland snuck out a win against the Hoosiers, 42-39. Bortenschlager began to work this offense well at this point in the season, so this one still would've been close if No. 3 had the ball in his hands. Either way, the Terps become bowl eligible two thirds of the way through the season.
Week 10: @ Rutgers, Record: 6-2
Maybe in the universe where Tyrrell Pigrome stayed healthy, this game was played at Yankee Stadium. If Bortenschlager didn't get hurt late in this game, the Terps may have been able to force overtime or pull out a win. Instead of the 31-24 loss, Maryland handles the Scarlet Knights in a double digit win.
Week 11: vs. Michigan, Record: 7-2
This game wasn't the most fun to watch considering both teams faced quarterback injuries. Even with Brandon Peters for the Wolverines, the Michigan was able to go into halftime with a 28-0 lead. The Terps were able to win the second half 10-7, but even Pigrome in the game, Michigan's defense still would've been tough to beat.
Week 12: No. 17 Michigan State, Record: 7-3
The Terps kept it close in an ugly game in East Lansing, but were unable to do anything on offense in a 17-7 loss. It's becoming a theme later in conference play that the top tier teams in the Big Ten, particularly the defenses, are just bigger and faster. Pigrome would've been able to get us in the end zone a couple times, but I don't think Maryland wins this one on the road.
Week 13: No. 10 Penn State, Record: 7-4
If you saw any of this game, it was pretty, pretty clear who the better team was. Penn State's offense is really good, and there's not much else Maryland could do about it. The final score may not have been 66-3, but even Pigrome wouldn't have been able to put the team on his back to win this one.
FOOTBALL FINAL: No. 12 Penn State 66, Maryland 3.
The Terps finish the season with their worst loss of the year. They went 4-8 and lost eight of their last 10 games.
— Dan Bernstein (@danbernsteinUMD) November 25, 2017
Most of the Terps' losses this season were because of a lack of production on offense. If it weren't for the quarterback position being riddled with injuries, Maryland could've finished with a 7-5 record, and would be going to a second bowl in two seasons with DJ Durkin. It seems fitting, knowing Maryland sports, that fans would have their hopes of a Big Ten championship shattered after a 7-2 start ends with a three-game losing streak.
Durkin clearly has this program going in the right direction, and there is some promise going into next season. Barring any setbacks, the Terps could see a similar season to this in 2018, but it will always be tough getting past the Big Ten powerhouses. With a 7-5 record, the Terps would likely be heading to another Quick Lane Bowl or even a miraculous trip to, none other than, Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. Satisfaction at last.