Pigrome takes another ride on Maryland quarterback carousel
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The quarterback carousel at Maryland is back in motion, with Tyrrell Pigrome on board for the fourth year in a row.
Pigrome will start Saturday against Purdue in place of Josh Jackson, who’s out after sustaining a sprained ankle and foot injury in last week’s 48-7 rout of Rutgers.
“We have a lot of confidence in Piggy and his ability to perform and run our offense,” coach Michael Locksley said Tuesday.
Jackson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, beat out Pigrome for the starting job this summer and threw 10 touchdown passes before succumbing to the seemingly inevitable jinx that has plagued Maryland quarterbacks for years.
The phenomenon began in 2012, when three quarterbacks tore an ACL and another hurt his foot before linebacker Shawn Petty was called upon to start the final four games. A rash of injuries at the position in 2015 led to the use of four quarterbacks, who combined for 29 interceptions and a 3-9 record for coach Randy Edsall.
Pigrome was one of four quarterbacks to see action in 2016, and his 2017 season ended when he tore his ACL in the opener. Two weeks later, Kasim Hill tore his ACL, too.
Last year, Pigrome assumed the starting job after Hill tore his other ACL. That was enough for Hill, who transferred to Tennessee this past August.
Pigrome stuck it out, and now he’s poised to lead Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at Purdue (1-4, 0-2). Given that he’s been a big part of the quarterback shuffle over the years, he could have guessed this was going to happen.
“It’s a bad history,” Pigrome conceded. “But I never looked at it like that. I just look at it as, when the opportunity comes, take advantage of it.”
Pigrome has played in 28 career games, starting four. His finest moment came last November, when he threw for a career-high 181 yards and a touchdown in a 52-51 overtime loss to then-No.3 Ohio State.
After Jackson prevailed in a tight duel for the starting job, Pigrome didn’t complain or sulk. He simply made sure he was prepared to make the ascent if the time came for him to take over.
Sure enough, here it is.
“Even though it’s the worst way to get a job, you have to do it for the team,” Pigrome said.
His patience and determination as the backup made an impression Locksley, who in 2015 was the frazzled offensive coordinator of that infamous team that employed a linebacker at quarterback.
“You have to be ready when your opportunity comes.,” Locksley said. “That’s where we’ve seen Piggy’s maturation, in terms of preparing as if he’s going to play, preparing as if he’s the starter and not necessarily wallowing in being the backup.”
After Jackson left the Rutgers game shortly before halftime, Pigrome finished by going 13 for 18 for 111 yards with 22 yards rushing. Although Jackson has a slightly better arm, Pigrome’s ability to escape a rush and improvise in the pocket is an asset the Terps intend to utilize.
“Piggy brings a different element because of his ability to make plays with his feet,” Locksley said. “When things break down, you probably won’t see him take as many sacks because of his ability to take off with the ball.”
Locksley said Jackson was day-to-day, and didn’t rule out the possibility of him suiting up on Saturday. That’s unlikely, which would make redshirt freshman Tyler DeSue the backup quarterback.
The Terrapins can only hope DeSue remains on the sideline, but nothing is certain at that position at this school.