Maryland returned home to face ninth-ranked Clemson and trailed just 19-13 entering the fourth quarter before the defense collapsed in a 40-27 loss. The Tigers ran 98 plays for 551 total yards and forced four turnovers.
By then, the Terrapins were missing Brown, Diggs, Long and Stinebaugh, a tight end.
Maryland probably hit its bottom on Nov. 9 in a 20-3 home loss to Syracuse. The Terrapins committed four more turnovers - two on interceptions by the resurfaced Brown - and was held to 292 total yards.
On Nov. 16, more than a month after winning its fifth game, Maryland reached bowl eligibility in an unlikely place - at Virginia Tech, in a 27-24 overtime win. The overtime was surprisingly easy, as the Terps covered the 25 yards in four runs, the last 3 yards by Brown, who rushed for 122.
"They had a resolve this week that they wanted to change things around," said coach Randy Edsall. "It's a beautiful win for us."
That sparked a stronger finish, though the Terps let the home game against Boston College get away, 29-26. Edsall tried to "ice" BC kicker Nate Freese on the winning field goal, but it backfired - a 52-yard miss was nullified by a timeout, giving Freese the chance to nail the next try.
Looking back, that was probably the game that put Maryland (7-5) in the Military Bowl, played roughly 30 miles from their College Park home in Annapolis. The 9-4 Thundering Herd provides the opposition for the Dec. 27 game, kicking off at 2:30 p.m.
The Terrapins finished the season doing what everybody else in the ACC did, thumping North Carolina State. The 41-21 win gives them the momentum that Marshall, 41-24 losers to Rice on Dec. 7, lacks.
"They're an ACC team like Virginia Tech was," said coach Doc Holliday, remembering MU's triple-overtime loss to the Hokies. "When you look at them, they've got athletes all over the place."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.