2008 Maryland Terrapins football
Humanitarian Bowl Champions
Humanitarian Bowl, W, 42–35 vs. Nevada
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
DivisionAtlantic Division
2008 record8–5 (4–4 ACC)
Head coachRalph Friedgen
Offensive coordinatorJames Franklin
Offensive schemeWest Coast offense
Defensive coordinatorChris Cosh
Al Seamonson (interim)
Base defense"Terp" (3–3–5 variant)[1]
Home stadiumByrd Stadium
(Capacity: 51,500)
← 2007
2009 →
2008 ACC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Boston College xy   5 3         9 5  
#21 Florida State x   5 3         9 4  
Maryland   4 4         8 5  
Wake Forest   4 4         8 5  
Clemson   4 4         7 6  
NC State   4 4         6 7  
#15 Virginia Tech xy   5 3         10 4  
#22 Georgia Tech x   5 3         9 4  
North Carolina   4 4         8 5  
Miami   4 4         7 6  
Virginia   3 5         5 7  
Duke   1 7         4 8  

Championship: Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 12
† – BCS representative as champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
y – Championship game participant
  • North Carolina vacated 8 wins, including 4 ACC wins
    Rankings from AP Poll

The 2008 Maryland Terrapins football team represented the University of Maryland in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football season. It was the Terrapins' (also officially known as the "Terps") 56th season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and its fourth within the framework of the ACC Atlantic Division.

Ralph Friedgen led the team for his eighth season as head coach and was assisted by first-year offensive coordinator James Franklin and third-year defensive coordinator Chris Cosh. It was the first season since the departure of Charlie Taaffe in 2005 that Friedgen did not call the offensive plays himself. Instead, those duties were handled by Franklin, a former Maryland wide receivers coach, who returned after a brief stint at Kansas State and in the National Football League (NFL). With him, Franklin brought a new system: the West Coast offense. Cosh, whose complex defensive scheme had been criticized as too passive, resigned at the end of the season.

The 2008 season in the ACC was described as chaotic, and for Maryland, there was no exception.[2][3] The Terrapins were within grasp of the ACC Atlantic Division championship at the end of Week 12, but lost their final two games and fell to a four-way tie for third place. Maryland closed the regular season with a 7–5 record—including four wins against Top 25-ranked teams—which was enough to secure bowl eligibility. In the postseason, Maryland defeated Nevada of the Western Athletic Conference in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Before the seasonEdit

Coaching changesEdit

In December 2007, Maryland hired Kansas State offensive coordinator James Franklin to serve in that same role for the Terrapins.[4] From 2000 to 2004, he was the Maryland wide receivers coach. In 2003 and 2004, he also served as the recruiting coordinator, and ranked Franklin as one of the nation's top-25 recruiters both years.[5] Because of the arrival of Franklin, 2008 was the first since 2005 that head coach Ralph Friedgen did not call the offensive plays himself.[4] At Maryland, Franklin installed a West Coast offense, which was well suited to quarterback Chris Turner's playing style and an experienced wide receiver corps that included play-maker Darrius Heyward-Bey and sure-handed Danny Oquendo.[6]

Key lossesEdit

Maryland lost several important players from the 2007 team. In January 2008, shortly after Oregon State defeated Maryland in the Emerald Bowl, linebacker Erin Henderson announced that he would forgo his senior year to enter the 2008 NFL Draft.[7] Henderson, the brother of Butkus and Bednarik Award winner E.J., had recorded an ACC-high four fumble recoveries in 2007 and was the Terrapins' leader in total tackles (133) and tackles for loss (11).[8] The defensive line lost tackles Dre Moore and Carlos Feliciano, while the secondary unit lost both starting safeties, strong safety Christian Varner and free safety J. J. Justice, as well as cornerback Isaiah Gardner.[9][10] The Maryland offense lost tailbacks Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore who combined for 1,573 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2007.[11] The offensive line saw the departure of tight ends Jason Goode and Joey Haynos, and offensive guard Andrew Crummey.[9][10]

Key returnsEdit

Despite the loss of some of the previous year's important players, Maryland entered the 2008 season with a seasoned squad. Forty-six of sixty-two lettermen returned (74 percent),[12] which included ten offensive and six defensive starters. The 2008 team contained 31 seniors, which was the largest group since Friedgen became head coach in 2001.[13] Important returnees on the defensive unit included cornerback Kevin Barnes, who recorded four interceptions in 2007; defensive end Jeremy Navarre, who had recorded 5.5 sacks; and linebacker Dave Philistin, who had recorded 124 tackles. The offense's returning statistical leaders included quarterback Chris Turner, who threw for 1,958 passing yards in 2007; wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had 786 receiving yards; and running back Da'Rel Scott, who had 135 rushing yards.[9][10]


The 2008 recruiting class was ranked 52nd in the nation by and 38th by[14][15] rated three recruits as four-star and six as three-star prospects, while rated six recruits each as four-star and three-star prospects.[14][15] Kenny Tate, who was originally recruited as a wide receiver, was the only four-star prospect to see significant playing time in 2008. Before the season, he was converted to safety, a position that had been attrited by the graduation of former starters Christian Varner and J.J. Justice, and Tate also saw action on special teams.[16] Cornerback Cameron Chism, who saw action in nine games as a reserve, recorded seven tackles on kickoff returns to tie for second on the team in special teams tackles.[17] Tight end Matt Furstenburg saw limited play time on special teams against Delaware and Middle Tennessee, but injured his foot and was awarded a medical redshirt.[18][19] Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey also sat out the season as a redshirt to recuperate from foot surgery.[20] The other four-star recruits who sat out on redshirt status were wide receiver Kerry Boykins, tight end Devonte Campbell, and defensive tackle Masengo Kabongo.[21][22] Running back Davin Meggett, the son of former New York Giants star Dave Meggett, was the only true freshman to start a game for Maryland in 2008, and he was a significant contributor throughout the season. Meggett was not a highly touted recruit, assessed by as a two-star prospect,[23] and his only other scholarship offers were from local-area Division I FCS schools.[24] In 2008, however, he led all ACC freshman with 5.13 yards per carry,[25] and Megett finished the season with 457 yards and four touchdowns as a reserve.[26]

Quarterback controversyEdit


There was some controversy[27] at the start of the season when head coach Ralph Friedgen selected senior Jordan Steffy as the starting quarterback over junior Chris Turner. In 2007, when Steffy suffered a concussion against 10th-ranked Rutgers, the relatively untested Turner took over and led Maryland to an upset victory. He then started the remainder of the season, compiled a 4–5 record in games he started, and led another upset against eighth-ranked Boston College. In comparing the practice performances of Steffy, Turner, and third-stringer Josh Portis, offensive coordinator James Franklin said:[28]

It gets hard if one quarterback all through spring and all through summer camp was statistically better in almost every single category, it's hard to rationalize not making him the starter ... because your gut feeling is one thing and the statistics are another. Jordan led by a pretty large amount in completion percentage ... [and] the least interception percentage. He didn't lead in yards per [attempt or] ... percentage of explosive plays. I consider an explosive play a play of 16 yards or more ... Portis led in that and Turner was second and Jordan was third.
In the season opener against Delaware, Steffy suffered an injured thumb, and Turner took over in the fourth quarter. He remained the starter for the rest of the season,[29] and Steffy saw no further game action. Portis saw limited playing time throughout the season, usually being put in for a single option play at a time.[30]


The Sagarin computer rating system calculated Maryland's strength of schedule to be 36th-most difficult out of the 245 Division I teams.[31] The Cosgrove Computer Rankings calculated it as the 56th-most difficult out of the 120 Division I FBS teams.[32] In accordance with conference rules, Maryland faced all five Atlantic Division opponents: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, NC State, and Wake Forest. They also faced three Coastal Division opponents: official ACC rival Virginia, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.[33] Virginia Tech and Boston College were the ACC champions and runners-up, respectively, in 2007 and again in 2008. Maryland did not play ACC opponents Duke, Georgia Tech, and Miami.

Maryland also played four non-conference games. For the season opener, the Terrapins met the 2007 Division I FCS runners-up, Delaware.[34] California of the Pacific-10 Conference was played for the first time in school history as the first half of a home-and-home series. Athletic director Deborah Yow wanted to play one of the University of Maryland's five academic peer institutions,[35] and to take a two-year hiatus from the 28-year series against West Virginia. She said, by adding California, "We weren't trying to add to the degree of difficulty [of Maryland's schedule]; we were trying to substitute for West Virginia."[36] Games were also played against Middle Tennessee State of the Sun Belt Conference and Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference.[37] For the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl, Maryland played Nevada in the teams' first meeting.

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 30* 3:45 PM Delaware Byrd StadiumCollege Park, MD ESPNU W 14–7   49,119
September 6* 7:00 PM at Middle Tennessee Johnny "Red" Floyd StadiumMurfreesboro, TN CSS/CSN L 14–24   22,605
September 13* 12:00 PM #25 California Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD ESPN W 35–27   49,527
September 20* 1:00 PM Eastern Michigan Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD ESPN360 W 51–24   48,023
September 27 12:00 PM at #19 Clemson Memorial StadiumClemson, SC Raycom W 20–17   81,500
October 4 7:00 PM at Virginia Scott StadiumCharlottesville, VA (Rivalry game) ESPNU L 0–31   50,727
October 18 12:00 PM #19 Wake Forest Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD (Blackout game) Raycom W 26–0   46,257
October 25† 3:30 PM NC State Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD (Homecoming) ESPN360 W 27–24   45,018
November 6 7:30 PM at Virginia Tech #21 Lane StadiumBlacksburg, VA ESPN L 13–23   66,233
November 15 3:30 PM #17 North Carolina Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD ABC W 17–15   46,113
November 22 7:45 PM Florida State #23 Byrd Stadium • College Park, MD (Senior Night, Blackout game) ESPN L 3–37   51,620
November 29 3:30 PM at #22 Boston College Alumni StadiumChestnut Hill, MA ABC L 21–28   42,767
December 30* 4:30 PM vs. Nevada Bronco StadiumBoise, ID (Humanitarian Bowl) ESPN W 42–35   26,781
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.



Injuries had devastated the Maryland roster the previous year,[38][39][40] and while 2008 was more forgiving by comparison, several key players were injured. Starting cornerback Kevin Barnes suffered a season-ending scapular fracture against Wake Forest and missed the last six games.[41] Sophomore LaQuan Williams and true freshman Kevin Dorsey, both wide receivers, sat out the entire season due to leg and foot injuries, respectively.[42] Leading receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey sat out the Boston College game due to a calf injury, and leading rusher Da'Rel Scott suffered a left shoulder injury in the third game against California, which plagued him throughout the season, although he missed just one game. Running back Morgan Green, who had contended for the starting position during summer camp, had an injury-riddled season, before seeing his first real action in the bowl game.[43] Starting quarterback Jordan Steffy was put out for the season by a thumb injury on his throwing hand in the first game.[44]

Depth chartEdit

Information as of December 10, 2008[45]



 Left tackle

  • 74 Bruce Campbell – So-1V
  • 71 Paul Pinegar – So-1V ↔
  • 73 Stephen St. John – Fr-RS

 Left guard

  • 76 Jaimie Thomas – Sr-3V
  • 78 Andrew Gonnella – Fr-RS ↑
  • 70 Lamar Young – Fr-RS ↓


 Right guard

  • 72 Phil Costa – Jr-1V
  • 67 Jack Griffin – Sr-3V
  • 78 Justin Lewis – Fr-HS

 Right tackle

 Tight end-Y

  • 13 Dan Gronkowski – Sr-2V
  • 45 Tommy Galt – Jr-1V
  • 89 Matt Furstenburg – Fr-HS ↔


  • 10 Chris Turner – Jr-1V ↑
  • 19 Jordan Steffy – Sr-3V ↓*
  • 12 Josh Portis – Jr-SQ
  • 11 Jamarr Robinson – Fr-RS



  • 38 Cory Jackson – Jr-2V
  • 36 Taylor Watson – Fr-RS ↑
  • 30 Haroon Brown – So-1V ↓



 Tight end-F

  • 80 Lansford Watson – Fr-RS


 Defensive end

  • 40 Jeremy Navarre – Sr-3V
  • 91 Mack Frost – Sr-3V ↓
  • 57 Jared Harrell – Jr-SQ

 Nose tackle

  • 92 Dion Armstrong – Fr-RS
  • 96 Olugbemi Otulaja – Sr-1V ↓
  • 98 A.J. Francis – Fr-HS

 Defensive tackle

 LEO linebacker

  • 55 Trey Covington – Sr-3V
  • 58 Derek Drummond – Fr-RS
  • 47 Jeff Clement – Jr-1V

 SAM linebacker

 MIKE linebacker

 WILL linebacker


  • 6 Anthony Wiseman – Jr-2V
  • 37 Cameron Chism – Fr-HS
  • 26 Michael Carter – Fr-RS ↔
  • 21 Trenton Hughes – Fr-RS

 Free safety

  • 1 Terrell Skinner – Jr-2V
  • 22 Drew Robinson – Sr-1V
  • 15 Austin Walker – Fr-RS

 Strong safety

  • 29 Jeff Allen – Sr-3V
  • 18 Kenny Tate – Fr-HS ↔





  • 39 Obi Egekeze – Sr-2V
  • 32 Nick Wallace – So-TR
  • 81 David May – Sr-SQ
  • 26 Mike Barbour – Fr-RS

 Kickoff specialist


 Punt returner

 Kick returner


 Long snapper

  • 31 Andrew Schmitt – Sr-3V
  • 64 Tim Downs – Fr-RS

 Deep snapper

  • 31 Andrew Schmitt – Sr-3V
  • 64 Tim Downs – Fr-RS

  Fr: Freshman
  So: Sophomore
  Jr: Junior
  Sr: Senior
  V: Number of prior seasons varsity experience
  RS: Redshirt status prior season
  TR: Sat out prior season due to NCAA transfer rules
  SQ: Practice squad prior season
  HS: High school experience only

 Boldface indicates a starting player for the respective position.
 An "up" arrow (↑) indicates upward movement in depth chart position from earlier in the season.
 A "down" arrow (↓) indicates downward movement in depth chart position from earlier in the season.
 A horizontal arrow (↔) indicates movement to a different position from earlier in the season.
 An asterisk (*) indicates that the player recovered from an injury to take a place on the depth chart.


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