More angst at Maryland: QB Hill out for season with torn ACL
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 13
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — 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.”
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Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan hold steady in CFP
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
The College Football Playoff rankings held steady at the top, with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan an unchanged first four from last week.
The third rankings of the season were drama-free Tuesday night after every top-10 team won last weekend. In fact, the selection committee’s entire top 10 stayed the same, the first time that has happened in the five seasons since the CFP was born.
With three weekends left until the final selections are made on Dec. 2, Georgia was fifth and Oklahoma was sixth. LSU, Washington State, West Virginia and Ohio State rounded out the top 10.
UCF moved up one spot to No. 11 and remained the highest-ranked team from outside the Power Five conferences. The Knights on Saturday play Cincinnati, which is ranked or the first time by the selection committee this season at No. 24.
DON’T COUNT ON STABILITY
In the four-year history of the College Football Playoff, the four teams at the top of the rankings after three weeks have never all made it to the semifinals. As much as it might feel as if the field is well set, it would be best to expect an unexpected result or two over the next three weeks.
Three not-so-outlandish upsets that could create confusion for the selection committee:
1. Alabama loses the SEC championship game to Georgia.
This could lead to the most controversial call in CFP history. The Crimson Tide is the defending national champion and Tua Tagovailoa and Co. have been stomping everyone in their path. The Tide is not losing this week to The Citadel. The chances are slim Auburn beats ‘Bama at home. But even if that were to happen, Alabama could quickly redeem itself by beating Georgia to win the SEC on championship weekend. A 12-1 SEC champion Alabama is not getting left out of the playoff, nor should it under any available circumstances this season.
But 12-1 without an SEC championship? The committee has already twice sent teams that did not reach their conference title games to the playoff. Last year it was Alabama and the year before, Ohio State got there.
In Ohio State’s case, the body-of-work argument was strong enough to overcome being bumped from the Big Ten title chase by Penn State, a team the Buckeyes had lost to in a close game at Happy Valley. Last year, Alabama seemed like a default pick at 11-1 over Ohio State and USC. Both were 11-2 with conference titles, but ugly losses on their ledgers.
Could the committee squeeze in the Tide after a loss to Georgia, which would obviously get in, if Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan (and maybe even Oklahoma) all won out? It’s not as if Alabama would have a loaded resume, with victories against LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn at the top. But there is also little doubt Alabama would be favored on a neutral field against any team in the country.
The committee has to be rooting for the Tide to keep it out of this mess.
2. Ohio State beats Michigan and wins the Big Ten.
Big 12 fans will disagree, but Michigan at 12-1 looks like a good bet to sail into the playoff — especially if Notre Dame finishes unbeaten, therefore making the Wolverines’ only loss a one-score game in the opener at South Bend. The Buckeyes have nice road victories against Penn State and Michigan State. Add Michigan and Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game to that resume, and suddenly a season of struggles in Columbus, Ohio, won’t look so bad at all. The stain of that blowout loss at Purdue won’t come off easy, though, and choosing between Ohio State at 12-1 and Oklahoma at 12-1 or West Virginia at 11-1 or Washington State at 12-1 won’t be such an easy chore for the committee.
3. Notre Dame loses, especially to Southern California.
Any loss for the Irish looks problematic if the rest of the contenders win out. Michigan could help Notre Dame by finishing 12-1. The Irish could make the case the committee can’t put the Wolverines in and leave out the one team that beat them. Don’t let anyone tell you the Irish are out with one loss. That’s shortsighted and doesn’t take into account that Big 12 contenders Oklahoma and West Virginia and Washington State could easily pick up a second loss before they even reach their conference title games.
Still, the Irish at 11-1 pits them against any other once-beaten conference champion, while also possibly forcing the committee to justify putting Michigan in and leaving the Irish out. And if Notre Dame’s loss is to USC, it could put a spotlight on Washington State’s poorly officiated loss to the Trojans back in September by virtue of comparing common opponents.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
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