By Michelle R. Martinelli

No one expected Tyrrell Pigrome to take the field for the Terrapins against Penn State on Saturday. If the teams’ recent history was any indication, it was going to be a close game that needed senior quarterback Perry Hills’ leadership.

But with less than two minutes left in the first half, a first down, 4-yard run injury — possibly on his right shoulder, which he hurt against Central Florida last month — kept Hills off the field for the rest of the game.

Enter Pigrome, a true freshman who understood the gravity of Maryland’s 17-7 deficit and replaced the starter with a noticeable sense of urgency.

On his first play in Happy Valley, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound backup kept the ball and propelled forward seven yards, stretching his arm and the ball into the end zone to close the Nittany Lions’ lead to three with 59 seconds left in the half.

Although that was the last time the Terps would land in the end zone — losing 38-14 — Pigrome’s ability to overcome the challenges of parachuting into a game plan that wasn’t designed with him in mind is a promising takeaway for the program’s future.

The Pinson, Alabama native threw 5-for-9 on 28 yards, including a game-long 15-yard pass to senior wide receiver Levern Jacobs on second-and-10 halfway into the third quarter.

But more notably, he showed he has the potential to be a dual-threat quarterback down the road, finishing with 39 rushed yards on 10 carries, plus his third touchdown on the ground this season. His longest run was for 12 yards on a first down at the end of the third.

It’s the second time in three games that Pigrome has taken over for Hills, and the last time he did, he took one snap and ran for 24 yards and a touchdown in double overtime to lift the Terps over Central Florida, 30-24.

After Saturday’s loss to Penn State, Pigrome's averaging 20.8 passing yards and 25.4 yards on the ground.

Head coach DJ Durkin on Perry Hills’ injury: "Perry is about as tough as they come. He was wanting to come back in. I didn't think it was the best interest for Perry or our team to put him back in harm's way."