Maryland Terps

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Maryland tops USF: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland tops USF: 5 things you need to know

COLLEGE PARK -- With senior Caleb Rowe starting at quarterback for the first time this season, Maryland’s offense awoke from a deep slumber on Saturday in a 35-17 victory over South Florida at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Though prone to turnovers at times, Rowe ignited a passing attack that spread the ball around to nine different receivers on his way to a 21-of-33 passing day for 297 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Freshman tight end Avery Edwards was the beneficiary of two of those touchdowns. Those two touchdowns are twice as many as all Maryland tight ends caught combined all of last season.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) Bad out of the gate, but Rowe hits his stride

Caleb Rowe’s first drive under center ended with an overthrown pass and an interception. But he hit his stride as the first half went along.

But one thing was clear -- this offense is more productive with Rowe under center.

For the first time this season, defenses had to be mindful of the threat of the deep ball, which Rowe unleashed on first-half passes of 70 yards (to Taivon Jacobs for a TD) and 49 yards (to Levern Jacobs down inside the five-yard line).

By early in the third quarter, Rowe had three touchdowns and Maryland held a 28-10 lead. Rowe became the first Maryland quarterback to throw for four touchdowns since Danny O’Brien against NC State in 2010.

2) The turnover concern will persist, though

With the gunslinging Rowe comes the turnover-prone Rowe, too. The senior threw three interceptions on Saturday, though one turned out to be more or less innocuous (described below).

There were times that South Florida did not take advantage of the turnovers, which won’t be the case when higher-level opponents come to town.

MORE TERPS: 4-STAR QB COMMIT THROWS FOR 7 TDS

3) Wes Brown ejected

With close to 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, USF’s pass rush got to Rowe and he threw the ball up for grabs. It was intercepted by defensive back Deatri Nichols.

As Nichols returned it, he began going down near the 28-yard line. Maryland running back Wes Brown came in to make the tackle, but led with his helmet and made contact with Nichols near his head.

He was flagged for targeting. The play was reviewed. Brown was ejected after carrying the ball just once for three yards. Read more on the incident here.

4) Defense given a fighting chance and shows what it can do

It’s stunning to see the secondary benefit the defense enjoys when the offense can get momentum going.

Last week against Bowling Green, the defense was on the field for 63 percent of the game against a fast-paced spread offense. They eventually wore down, which led to the 700-yard BGSU performance.

Saturday, the time of possession game was nearly even and the defense benefitted from it.

They had the right mix of pressure on dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers while still containing him and not allowing him to extend drives with his legs.

Sean Davis had as big a bounce-back game as one could hope for. After being torched vs. Bowling Green, he had two interceptions and a forced fumble.

5) USF makes change at quarterback in-game

South Florida was ripping up Maryland’s front. They had just come off a 17-play touchdown drive that trimmed the Maryland lead to 28-17 just before the start of the fourth quarter.

But after a Maryland three-and-out, backup Steven Bench came in at quarterback. It was unclear if there was an injury to Flowers (he would eventually return) but that stalled drive buried the Bulls.

USF appeared to be making progress, but a hands-to-the-face penalty pushed them back. That led to a Bench interception -- that was negated by a roughing the passer penalty on Maryland. Bench would throw another interception shortly after to Davis.

Maryland would score on the next drive to push the lead to 35-17.

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a longterm FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

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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