Silly Terps. The AMEHG (Angry Maryland EVERYTHING Hating God) isn’t in the business of answering prayers.
Maryland announced Thursday that Diggs, who was seen on campus in a walking boot this week, will miss Saturday’s game at Clemson with an ankle injury.
According to The Washington Post, Diggs injured the ankle early in last week’s loss to Georgia Tech, although he stayed on the field until the very end and made a beautiful touchdown catch as time expired.
Diggs is the team’s leading receiver, with 43 catches for 721 yards and six touchdowns, half of the team’s total receiving scores. He also has 788 kickoff and punt return yards, and is second in the conference in all-purpose yards.
Freshman running back Wes Brown has also been ruled out of this weekend’s game with an ankle injury. Brown is the team’s leading rusher, with 382 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He took some direct snaps in the Terps’ “Wildcrab” formation last week but was on the bench the entire second half. After the game he said it was a “very minor” injury, but it obviously is more severe than he hoped.
The injuries to Diggs and Brown mean that Maryland will be without their top passer (Perry Hills, who was lost to a torn ACL three weeks ago), leading rusher and receiver, and leading tackler (senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who tore his ACL last Saturday).
Star defensive end Joe Vellano, who leads the team in tackles for loss and is tied with Darin Drakeford for most sacks, is listed as questionable, also with an ankle injury.
The gap between the Terps and the Tigers was already wide enough.
Trying to match that offense with a freshman linebacker-turned-quarterback, a backup running back, and three receivers who have just 22 passes combined all season? That’s not bringing a knife to the proverbial gunfight; it’s bringing a Fisher-Price® spoon.
Maryland’s team mentality all season has, out of necessity, been “Next Man Up.”
Shawn Petty (who is also listed on the injury report as “Probable” with a shoulder concern) will make his second start at quarterback. He seemed to improve slightly in the second half last week as he got more comfortable, but with so many offensive weapons missing this time, he might take a step backwards.
Redshirt freshman running back Brandon Ross, who entered last Saturday’s game in relief of Brown, is expected to start. The two running backs were on fairly equal footing earlier in the season before an injury took Ross out of the rotation. He had 66 yards on 12 carries last week, and according to The Washington Times, he will also take over for Diggs on kickoff returns against Clemson.
“Next man up” at wide receiver would’ve been sophomore Marcus Leak, but the team’s second-leading receiver is already out for the rest of the year with a broken toe.
Senior Kevin Dorsey, who is listed as probable with a knee injury, has 15 catches and a touchdown this season and should get much more playing time moving forward.
Redshirt freshman Nigel King has four catches, including a late touchdown reception against Boston College, but The Washington Post speculated that true freshman Levern Jacobs, who has three receptions this season, will get the start at slot receiver in Diggs’ place.
Receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro, a factor on special teams, is also out after sustaining a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit against Georgia Tech.
Maryland was a huge longshot in its next two games, against Clemson and Florida State, and the odds – and the injury report – are now even longer. In addition to the nine players out for the year, the Terps have four total out against the Tigers, one questionable, and thirteen listed as probable.