ANN ARBOR, Michigan — Michigan's bowl hopes now hinge on a colossal upset.
Unless the Wolverines can beat Ohio State next weekend, their dismal season will be over.
Wes Brown's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:59 remaining lifted Maryland to a 23-16 victory over Michigan on Saturday, leaving the Wolverines' postseason hopes in dire shape with one game remaining in the regular season.
"Obviously, we're really, really disappointed," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said after his team's home finale. "Our locker room, there's a lot of disappointment, and there's also a lot of pride that these guys have, in how they've practiced and how they've done things all year."
The Terrapins (7-4, 4-3) scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and guaranteed themselves at least a .500 record in conference play in their inaugural Big Ten season. Michigan (5-6, 3-4) had won three of four to keep its bowl hopes in decent shape, but now the Wolverines need a win at Ohio State next weekend to prolong their season.
"We're not playing for a whole lot I think, like they are. They're trying to get a bid into the playoff," Wolverines offensive lineman Jack Miller said. "But I think games like this are what this rivalry is built on, when one team's probably going to be a big underdog going in. ... I can tell you it would be pretty sweet to go into their backyard and get a win."
The loss on a chilly, dreary day at Michigan Stadium was a fitting conclusion to the Wolverines' home schedule. This unpleasant season has put Hoke's job in jeopardy.
Michigan led 16-9 in the fourth quarter when a roughing the kicker penalty on Jourdan Lewis kept a Maryland drive going. C.J. Brown's 8-yard touchdown run tied it, and after Matt Wile missed a 39-yard field goal for Michigan, the Terrapins drove 78 yards in 10 plays for the winning score.
"I told our guys we needed to come out here and make some memories so that we could have a reunion 30 years from now and reminisce about the good things," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "To beat Penn State on the road, and beat Michigan on the road, and go 5-1 on the road (overall) in our first year in the league is special."
The Wolverines had already used two of their timeouts earlier in the half, and they never got the ball back after turning it over on downs with 4:16 remaining.
"One time we had the wrong personnel group coming off tempo, on the field, so obviously didn't want to get caught with 12, and on the other one, we just thought we wanted to settle them down a little bit," Hoke said. "Shoot, I'd like to have five per half. There's no question. You always want to keep them."
Devin Gardner scored Michigan's only touchdown on a 15-yard scramble in the third quarter, but he threw for only 106 yards in his final home game.
The announced crowd of 101,717 was Michigan's 258th consecutive game at the Big House with at least 100,000 fans, but it was also the smallest home crowd since 1995.
Each team kicked three field goals in the first half. Maryland wasted a great opportunity late in the second quarter when Will Likely intercepted Gardner and returned it 29 yards to the Michigan 8. The Terrapins had to settle for a field goal that gave them a short-lived 9-6 lead.
The early highlight for Michigan was a 52-yard run by Joe Kerridge on a fake punt in the first quarter, but the Wolverines had to settle for a short field goal.
Dennis Norfleet appeared to have returned a punt for a touchdown in the third quarter, and that would have put Michigan up by 14, but the play was called back for a penalty, the first of two huge infractions on the Wolverines that helped swing the game in Maryland's favor.
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