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Pigrome season-ending injury means Hill era starts early for Terps

Maryland suffers big blow as Pigrome suffers torn ACL, but just how big of a loss is it give Kasim Hill’s hype?

Tyrrell Pigrome had a rough year in 2016, but his 2017 season was off to a promising start against the Texas Longhorns. Unfortunately for him, it took just one cut late in the third quarter and the 2017 season is over and done with.

On Tuesday, head coach D.J. Durkin announced that Pigrome had an ACL tear and was done for the year. He also announced that star pass-rusher Jesse Aniebonam would be out indefinitely with a broken ankle.

Both are big blows to a team that performed very well in a tough road win over Texas to open the 2017 season. Pigrome was setting the Longhorns defense on fire, even doing so on his final play of the season.

Pigrome’s injury came he got loose on the edge and was attempting to cut past a Texas defender. Instead, his knee gave out and he fell immediately to the ground in obvious pain. That was the end of his day and now the worst fears after seeing the injury have come true.

He finished 9-of-12 for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 11 times for 64 yards before going down injured.

The question is just how big of a blow is this going to be to the Terps?

For me, the difference between this season and last for Durkin’s crew is that there is a second option worthy of leading the Terps offense.

That man is true freshman Kasim Hill, who many thought would win the starting job in fall camp anyway. It wasn’t a bad debut for the final quarter of the game either, as Hill completed all three of his passes for 44 yards and had five rushes for 17 yards.

Perhaps most important is that Hill came in just as the two teams were trading knockout punches at each other. Texas appeared to have plenty of the momentum heading in to the fourth quarter and instead of buckling under the pressure, Hill rose to the occasion.

Don’t count Durkin in the group that is worried about him being in pressure situations going forward either. He sees his freshman quarterback as one that relishes the challenges put in front of him.

“He’s been like a veteran guy everyday since he’s got here,” Durkin said about Hill. “There will certainly be freshman moments, but he’s the guy you want in that spot.”

While losing Pigrome is a big deal, most thought Hill would eventually take over as the starter sooner than later. He was one of the most highly sought after quarterbacks in the country, but chose to stay close to home and play for the Terps instead.

Hill definitely was thrown in to the fire last Saturday, but his next challenge — starting for the first time — will come against a bit easier of a foe. Maryland will host in-state FCS foe, the Towson Tigers, for Hill’s debut as a starter.

Things could get messy should Hill go down though, as former UNC transfer Caleb Henderson is out injured and Max Bortenschlager isn’t exactly the right fit to get this offense to be as high-powered as it was this past weekend.

Now the bigger long-term question is what happens when Pigrome comes back next season from injury. Could Hill have already solidified a starters role or will Pigrome get the chance to earn his job back?

Knee injuries can be a tricky thing to deal with, but at least the Terps have options this season. It’s a far cry from what took place in 2016.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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