There's a great chance the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder will pass Shaun Hill (3,159), Bob Avellini (3,222), Neil O'Donnell (4,989) and Boomer Esiason (6,259) on Maryland's career list. The four former Terrapins all went on to NFL careers.
"Honestly, I didn't know what to expect of myself when I first came to Maryland," said O'Brien, who's also tied for seventh all-time on Maryland's passing touchdowns list with 24. "I knew I wasn't starting my true freshman year. But I prepared hard and worked hard."
Now, two years later, O'Brien is the Atlantic Coast Conference's preseason player of the year by Lindy's magazine. The 20-year-old, who is averaging 318 passing yards, is a candidate for the Davey O'Brien and Manning Award, which go the nation's top signal-caller.
However, his road to becoming a Maryland great has had some rough terrain. The latest roadblock was last week's three-interception performance in a 37-31 setback to West Virginia.
The North Carolina native's first pick set up a Mountaineers touchdown. O'Brien's last interception halted the Terrapins' final drive after they trimmed a 24-point deficit to three points.
"The great ones see everything and just take what the defense will give them," Maryland coach Randy Edsall told the Associated Press. "Danny is a victim of his own circumstance sometime. He has so much confidence in his own ability that there's going to be time where he might try to throw the ball into a very small window maybe he shouldn't."
That's why Edsall said he told O'Brien, "Sometimes an incomplete pass is the best thing that can happen."
Temple at Maryland
When: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.
TV/Radio: NBC Philadelphia Nonstop (Comcast - Channel 248; FiOS - Channel 460); ESPN3.com; WIP (610 AM, 94.1 FM)
Records: Temple, 2-1; Maryland, 1-1
Coaches: Temple, Steve Addazio (first season, 2-1); Maryland, Randy Edsall (first season at Maryland, 1-1; career, 71-64)
Series: Maryland, 6-0. The Terrapins won the last meeting, 38-7, on Oct. 8, 2005 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Betting line: Maryland by 9
WHAT TO WATCH
Chester Stewart will start at QB for Temple for the first time since the seventh game of last season. Will he show command and leadership? Or will he try to force things?
How will Temple's defensive pressure stack up against Maryland's offensive line? The Terps have not given up a sack through two games. The Owls defense averages four sacks a game to rank fourth nationally.
Nine Owls are residents of Maryland and another, wideout C.J. Hammond, is from Washington. Will they be distracted by having family and friends at the game?
Defensive tackle Shahid Paulhill gave the Owls a spark against Penn State despite playing with a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He's expected to be closer to 100 percent Saturday.
Will Maryland wideouts Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler play? The seniors were suspended for last week's game against West Virginia. Their status for Saturday is unknown.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
Stewart and Maryland senior linebacker Kenny Tate were teammates at DeMatha High School (Md.). Back then, Tate was one of Stewart's primary targets at wide receiver.
Temple has a 1-2 record in games against Edsall-coached teams. The Owls victory came last season when they beat Edsall's Connecticut team, 30-16.
Owls tailback Matt Brown is ranked eighth nationally in punt returns with an average of 17.5 yards per return.
- Keith Pompey
Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq. View the videos "Owls Insider With Steve Addazio," at www.philly.com/owlsinsider