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Why Caleb Rowe makes sense at QB (for now) for Maryland

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Why Caleb Rowe makes sense at QB (for now) for Maryland

Senior Caleb Rowe has replaced junior Perry Hills as the starter on Maryland's new two-deep depth chart, which was released Monday afternoon in advance of the Terrapins' Week 3 game against South Florida on Saturday.

Hills is not listed at all on the two-deep, presumably making him the third-stringer behind new backup Daxx Garman, the team's graduate transfer from Oklahoma State.

But what of Rowe, the new starter? Why make this change now, aside from the obvious fact that Maryland's offense stalled in its 48-27 blowout loss to Bowling Green? Let's take a look at the finer points:

1) Maryland's offense has failed to stretch the field

Whether it is a physical limitation or a mental hurdle Hills was unable to clear through two weeks, the deep passing game was not a productive part of Maryland's offense against Richmond or Bowling Green. To a certain extent, even the intermediate passing game lacked consistency.

Rowe, on paper, helps to fix that issue.

At 6-3, 220 pounds, Rowe has shown in the past that he can throw the ball downfield. Interception risk or not, accurate consistently or not, it is about the ability as a quarterback to physically get the ball that far down the field through the air.

"We've got to be able to throw the ball ... with consistency and be able to throw the ball horizontally, be able to throw the ball vertically," Edsall said during a conference call with the media Sunday before a starting quarterback decision had been finalized.

"And be able to do the things we want to do offensively."

2) Maryland has talent at the skill positions -- but they haven't gotten the football

Yes, there was massive rollover in the wide receiving corps from last season to this season. Stefon Diggs is making his mark in Minnesota. Deon Long played in the preseason with the Tennessee Titans. Marcus Leak left the program. Juwann Winfree left the program. Running-back-turned-wide-receiver Jacquille Veii transferred.

But talent still remains in Levern Jacobs, his brother Taivon Jacobs, and true freshman D.J. Moore.

The problem through two games has been an inability to get those players the football. The Jacobs brothers have combined for just six catches in two games. Moore seems to just be scratching the surface of his talent, with a breakout game against Bowling Green in the face of an otherwise stagnant offense.

Rowe is now a threat to put the ball in their hands and what happens after that, Maryland hopes, is the spark that ignites this attack.

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3) The passing game opens up the running game

When teams are able to stack the box defensively and dare a quarterback to beat them through the air, then the quarterback is unable to take advantage, offenses will stagnate.

Again, there is a turnover risk -- as Rowe's two interceptions in three pass attempts against Bowling Green reinforced -- but the senior can keep a defense honest and force them to at least think about dropping more players into deep coverage because he can get the ball down the field to Jacobs or Jacobs or Moore.

That threat alone makes the job easier for running backs Brandon Ross and Wes Brown, who now should have more space to operate out of the backfield.

4) And one more note...

Do not evaluate Rowe solely off of Saturday's game against Bowling Green. Were those interceptions a result of rushed passes? Yes. Is a 2-to-1 interception-to-completion rate alarming? Yes.

But Maryland was down and desperate, trying to claw its way back late. Rowe was trying to make plays happen without the running game really even being an option.

It is only fair to begin anew on Saturday against South Florida. But if he struggles, don't be surprised if Edsall eventually turns to Garman in hopes of finding an answer.

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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.

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"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.

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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.