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3 reasons Maryland couldn't afford loss to Bowling Green

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3 reasons Maryland couldn't afford loss to Bowling Green

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland’s 48-27 blowout loss to Bowling Green is a defeat that the program could not afford this early in the 2015 season, especially to a smaller-conference opponent.

Here are the three biggest reasons why this loss will sting for head coach Randy Edsall and the Terrapins.

1) Optics

One year to the next has to be about progress for a football program. Under Edsall, injuries derailed the 2011 season. An unprecedented rash of injuries forced the team to play a linebacker at quarterback in 2012. Maryland lost its two star receivers to broken legs in the same game in 2013, but managed to make a bowl.

They were two bad finishes (vs. West Virginia and vs. Rutgers) away from being a nine-win football team heading into a bowl game last season. Yes, nine wins. Still, a bowl.

But Saturday’s loss to Bowling Green, from the standpoint of look and feel, seems like progress will be difficult to make in 2015. With the schedule the way it is (more on that below), there was a clear window of opportunity in the Big Ten.

Now, that window becomes tighter. A must-win game ends up in the loss column and a loss to a MAC team doesn’t inspire confidence that certain other key games will be wins down the line (also more on that below).

Maryland’s 2016 recruiting class is the foundation for its future, which includes its quarterback of the future, Dwayne Haskins -- a player who would probably be in serious consideration to start if he were eligible right now.

But the promise of a recruiting classes alone can only go so far.

MORE TERPS: WHERE MARYLAND'S QBS STAND AFTER LOSS

2) The road to six wins

There is an upper tier of the Big Ten comprised of teams with which Maryland simply cannot compete at this point in time. Think Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.

That is well established, but it also does not mean that there is not a middle tier within which Maryland could have -- hypothetically, on paper, before the season began -- carved out six or seven wins.

Penn State has had two lackluster performances to begin the year. Michigan is largely the same team it was last year when the Terrapins beat the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. There were five games (Richmond, Bowling Green, USF, Indiana, and Rutgers) that would probably see Maryland favored. There is a path to a bowl there.

But Saturday’s loss diverts ⅙ of that path -- now making Penn State and Michigan both must-have games. It’s not that easy though because….

3) There are now questions going forward

Aside from just the fact that a winnable game is now a loss, there are questions now about Maryland’s ability to win games that they would need to win to climb to six victories.

What will the Terrapins do at quarterback after the offense stalled under Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe threw two interceptions in three pass attempts on Saturday? Was the 692-yard offensive explosion by the Falcons an anomaly or a sign of serious trouble for the defense?

Those are things that need to be answered sooner rather than later, being that a South Florida team that hung with Florida State on Saturday is coming to College Park next week.

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lamar Stevens feels like he's playing his most consistent basketball right now, a bad omen for upcoming opponents considering Penn State expects its hybrid forward to do a little bit of everything.

Just like he did on Wednesday.

Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 in the second half to lift Penn State over Maryland 74-70.

RELATED: UPDATED DMV POWER RANKINGS

"Lamar really stepped up for us," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We needed every one of those points that he had tonight."

Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins added 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under Chambers.

"The best teams always find ways to win," Stevens said. "We locked down when we had to, got huge stops, huge rebounds and I think that's a huge step for this team."

With Maryland (16-10, 5-8) up 20-14 midway through the first half, Stevens nailed his first of two 3-pointers to spark a quick 9-0 run that helped Penn State take control.

He rolled layups off his fingers and sank midrange jumpers on multiple back-to-back possessions in the second half, where he scored 11 of his team's first 20 points.

"He made some incredible, incredible shots," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was terrific, he was so efficient."

Stevens added four rebounds, two assists and was 3-for-4 on free throws with all three makes coming in the final 5:48 as Maryland threatened.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND STILL CONSIDERED BY MANY BRACKETOLOGISTS

Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece.

Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.

"I didn't think we competed in the first half defensively," Turgeon said. "I thought in the second half, we were really trying hard."

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins' disappointing season continues and they have dropped to 7-7 since stalwart forward Justin Jackson's season was ended by a torn shoulder ligament in late December. Although they shot better than their season average, the Terrapins were badly outplayed in the paint, getting outscored 32-22 and outrebounded 27-23.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing an exciting brand of basketball as of late. They have a combined 22 dunks over their last three home games and opponents are finding it hard to play fast against a team that thrives on speed.