COLLEGE PARK, Md. — During a harsh season in which the Maryland football team has been forced to deal with an array of setbacks — none worse than the death of player Jordan McNair — the Terrapins have repeatedly showed their resiliency.
With No. 9 Ohio State next on the schedule, Maryland has yet another obstacle to overcome. Interim coach Matt Canada announced Tuesday that starting quarterback Kasim Hill tore the ACL in his left knee during last week’s game at Indiana, making this the second straight season he’s had cut short by an ACL tear.
“It’s very disappointing. Obviously, there are no words to say to make it any better,” Canada said. “Great kid, a kid who worked so hard to battle his way back. He will again.”
A year ago, Hill tore his right ACL in the third game of his freshman season. Now, he’s got to deal with surgery and rehabilitation for a second time.
Hill posted on Instagram : “Never thought I’d have to attack this process all over again, but the Lord has more adversity for me to overcome.”
Hill started all 10 games this season. He threw for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions.
Tyrrell Pigrome will start against the visiting Buckeyes (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) on Saturday as the Terrapins (5-5, 3-4) try for a third straight week to get the victory that will make them bowl eligible.
That the Terps are even in contention for a berth in the postseason is impressive, given what they’ve gone through. Since McNair collapsed on the practice field in May and subsequently died of heatstroke, the football program has:
• Seen coach DJ Durkin be put on administrative leave in August, reinstated on Oct. 30 and fired on Oct. 31;
• Been the focus of external reviews into McNair’s death and the culture of the program;
• Parted ways with three athletic trainers ; and
• Played the entire season under Canada, who also is serving as offensive coordinator.
Canada deserves credit for keeping the team together, but he’s had help from his staff and the players. The seniors on the team, who have played a huge role on the field and in the locker room, will be honored Saturday before their final home game.
“A lot of people wrote this football team off in August, (saying) ‘Probably not going to win a game and the whole program is going to fall apart,’” Canada said. “The seniors didn’t let that happen.
“I wish really bad we’d have won more games, and so do they. But how could you not say what a great job they’ve done? Because they’ve held it together.”
The Terrapins have gone through so much this season that no one could blame them for being physically and mentally exhausted after losing Hill and faltering during last week’s 34-32 defeat at Indiana.
But Canada doesn’t see a letdown happening, not after the Terrapins have come this far.
“There’s a lot more going on here with this football team than anybody understands, the way they lean on each other, the way they stick together,” Canada said. “So I don’t have any doubt they’re going to play very, very hard.”