COLLEGE PARK -- This could be what 2015 is like for Brandon Ross if he continues to secure the football.
As questions about turnovers suppressed the number of carries he was given last season, Saturday's career-high 150 yards on 18 carries were the mark of a refocused and more confident running back who is poised to be the centerpiece of an offense in his final collegiate season.
"I told you that he had a pretty good preseason," head coach Randy Edsall said to the media postgame. "And I thought he went out and played well today."
For stretches, the running back was a security blanket for quarterback Perry Hills, who struggled early to get the passing game going and getting a feel for his receivers.
No passing game, no problem.
On a drive in the second quarter, trailing 14-13, Maryland ran the ball seven times on a 12-play drive that ended with a field goal that put Maryland back in the lead. They would never trail again. Maryland's defense, off the field for 6:25, came back and did not let Richmond score again until late in the fourth quarter.
"I think it's real important [to run the football] because the longer we keep our defense off the field, the better," Ross said. "They were working hard out there today and if we can run the ball, keep the clock moving, sustain long drives, that'll help them."
It wasn't all Ross, though. It couldn't have been. A 10-play drive in the third quarter that featured nine runs needed to be split somehow -- and Wes Brown provided it. For the game, Brown had 13 rushes for 74 yards, including the one-yard plunge that made it 36-14 and almost assured a Maryland win.
"Guys don't look at it that just because somebody's starting and I'm the backup they know they're going to contribute," Edsall said. "Wes knows he's going to play every game and he's going to be a major contributor. They cheer for each other. They pull for each other.
"To play at this level and to play the schedule we play week in and week out, we're going to need more than one guy."
The question is whether Maryland can keep it up. Edsall and his staff have made it a point to make the offensive line beefier after its issues during year one in the Big Ten. Front sevens will get bigger, starting with Bowling Green next week.
But if Ross and Brown can continue to run, that takes a load off of Hills' shoulders going forward.