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Maryland wants to depart the ACC as a winner before moving on to join the Big Ten Conference.
Maryland defensive back Dexter McDougle said nothing went right for the Terrapins last season.
Associated Press | File 2012
Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs set an ACC freshman record with 174.4 all-purpose yards per game for the 4-8 Terrapins last season.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
The Maryland Terrapins have no desire to look ahead to 2014, when they will open a new era as members of the Big Ten Conference.
Looking back? Well, that’s even less appealing to them. Their 4-8 season in 2012 saw them lose four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries and close the year with linebacker Shawn Petty under center.
“Never experienced anything like that,” Maryland defensive back Dexter McDougle said at the recent ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C. “When C.J. [Brown] went down, we were like OK, one of our leaders went down, but we have guys that’ll step up and play.
“And then the next guy went down — and the next guy went down — and the next guy went down. It just seemed like nothing was going to go right for us that year. I don’t know. It’s just really depressing. Looking back on it, it makes me so sad.”
So he’ll choose not to. The Terps instead are focused on leaving the conference with a trophy in tow.
While an ACC title is a long shot, Maryland has a good chance to improve on a season that ended with six consecutive losses after a 4-2 start. Five of their defeats were decided by 10 or fewer points, including three by a combined eight points.
“The one thing I know is that these guys know how to handle adversity,” coach Randy Edsall said. “They know how to fight. They know how to dig down and stick with each other. We’ve got a mentally tough group that understands exactly what has to be done.”
Brown, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL, has been cleared for full contact. The dual-threat quarterback has a special target in receiver Stefon Diggs, who set an ACC freshman record with 174.4 all-purpose yards per game last year.
As a lame-duck member of the conference, the Terps are prepared for an icy reception at Tobacco Road stadiums. They heard the chants on the road last year – “ACC! ACC!” – after the announcement came down in November that Maryland would be heading to the Big Ten.
“There’s not too many people that are jumpin’ on our bandwagon or pulling for us,” Brown said. “But hey, we’re a family. We’re a tightknit group. We’re going to go out and play for each other, play for our university, play for our fans, just represent our university the best we can.”
Terps players sound like they’ll miss Duke-Maryland basketball games — “You can’t replace those type of rivalries, man,” McDougle said — more than any of the ACC football series they’ll leave behind.
Regardless, their aim is clear: to ensure the league remembers the turtles.
“That would really make it special,” McDougle said. “To look back and say, wow, I played on the Maryland team that was the last team in the ACC, and we won it all. We left the right way.”
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