Injuries continue to mount for Terps

Tight end Isaacs out for season; cornerback Hill on crutches after game

  • Maryland tight end Andrew Isaacs is tended to by trainers of both teams after injuring his lower leg during the second half of a game against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
Maryland tight end Andrew Isaacs is tended to by trainers of… (Mark Konezny / USA Today…)
September 20, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — At the Big Ten media days in late July, Maryland coach Randy Edsall was asked to identify his primary concerns heading into the season.

He answered immediately: Staying healthy.

The Terps, who have dealt with numerous serious injuries to key players the past two seasons, got through preseason practice relatively healthy. But the injuries have continued to mount since the season started in late August, and Maryland lost two more starters to injuries during Saturday's 34-20 win over Syracuse.

Tight end Andrew Isaacs suffered a dislocated knee while blocking during the third quarter, an injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. The Terps also lost starting cornerback Alvin Hill to a leg injury. Hill was on crutches after the game.

Hill's injury might be the bigger issue.

Maryland was already without defensive end Quinton Jefferson. Each of the Terps' four starting linebackers are nursing injuries. Backup outside linebacker Cavon Walker is out with a foot injury. Now, Hill is hurt as well.

With several second- and third-string players forced into action against Syracuse, Maryland allowed 589 yards, including 370 yards on the ground.

The Orange averaged 7.3 yards per carry.

"We've got some issues that we've got to address defensively with some of these injuries, and I'll talk a little bit more about that [on Sunday]," Edsall said. "But we're going to have to have a lot more guys step up, and we're going to have to take a look at some things to see where we go because we're getting a little bit depleted right now."

Farrand helps defense

For two-plus quarters, Maryland inside linebacker Cole Farrand was relegated to standing on the sideline because of a shoulder injury he suffered against West Virginia last week.

But Edsall said later that he could see the Terps' depleted linebacker corps getting worn down, so he asked Farrand if he felt good enough to play.

Farrand said yes, and he helped Maryland limit Syracuse's offense during the final quarter-plus after the Terps had struggled to stop the Orange to that point.

Syracuse added a late touchdown, but Farrand was key in the Terps forcing a punt midway through the third quarter after the Orange had driven the ball near midfield.

Syracuse then went without a first down on its next three drives before the late touchdown drive.

"That helped us with Cole getting in there and playing the limited amount of reps that he played," Edsall said. "So now, hopefully he'll be even better for next week."

Veii plays big role

Edsall moved sophomore Jacquille Veii from running back to wide receiver a week into preseason practice. But Veii is now contributing at both positions.

Veii caught a 26-yard touchdown pass against West Virginia last week and saw time as a wide receiver against Syracuse. He was also used as a ball carrier in certain packages and ended up rushing for a team-high 42 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

"During fall camp, we talked about the running backs," quarterback C.J. Brown said. "We have a lot of them. A lot of guys can play, and Jacquille had a great day today receiving and in the backfield. That's huge for us — his versatility, and it keeps defenses on edge."

End zone

Junior Stefon Diggs had a team-high six catches for 56 yards. … Junior Marcus Leak finished with a team-best 93 yards on four catches. Leak caught a 25-yard touchdown during the first quarter and later had a 46-yard catch to help set up another Terps score. … Senior Deon Long had just one catch for 13 yards. … Maryland got 42 yards on eight carries from Veii. But the Terps averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, picking up only 89 yards on 32 carries. … Defensive end Andre Monroe had a sack during the second half, the first sack Syracuse allowed in its three games this season. … Terps kicker Brad Craddock was 2-for-2 on field goals and is now 7-for-7 on the season.

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