Maryland Terps

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Best Edsall has 'ever been around' isn't yet in the NFL

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Best Edsall has 'ever been around' isn't yet in the NFL

COLLEGE PARK -- Randy Edsall watched this preseason as former Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, now with the Minnesota Vikings, lit the NFL preseason on fire with his electric punt returns, including a 62-yard near-touchdown in the rookie’s preseason debut against Pittsburgh.

And then he watched Diggs’ heir apparent in College Park break a 76-year-old Big Ten record with 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s Week 1 win over Richmond.

So much for dropoff.

For his efforts, Will Likely was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Tuesday.

“He’s the best I’ve ever been around,” Edsall said of Likely, “in terms of tracking the ball, having a feel for everything, and then being able to produce the way he produces.”

Likely was told of Edsall's comment later in the day on Tuesday. His response was simple.

"He's probably right," he said.

"I work hard every day trying to get better. ... Coming from him, it's probably a good thing."

MORE TERPS: FORMER MARYLAND WR, 23, RETIRES AFTER CONCUSSION

In Edsall’s mind, Likely puts all the attributes of an impact returner together in a way he has not seen before. Among those attributes are courage, vision, and a skill set to understand and analyze each step of a return in the fleeting moments within which the play takes place.

And that’s before we begin to talk about the impact he makes as a cornerback.

But strictly as a returner, his efforts will change the way Maryland’s offense is able to operate, hopefully gifting them with a short field on a regular basis.

As Perry Hills settles into his starting role and front sevens get bigger going into conference play, Likely’s ability to set the offense up in an opponent’s territory may make the difference between points and no points on a given drive -- and a win or a loss.

There’s only one problem, which is a product of the monster game he had Saturday.

“I don’t know how many opportunities he might get, moving forward,” Edsall said. “I think there will probably be some things we have to work on a little bit where they punt away from him or they try to punt the ball 40 to 45 yards down field and punt it out of bounds.

“We’ll deal with that.”

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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.