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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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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

Maryland basketball had two players drafted in one night for the second time in three years Thursday night when the Denver Nuggets picked Justin Jackson with the No. 43 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jackson was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that brought the No. 41 overall pick, Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt, to Denver.

After his freshman season, in which he averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, Jackson declared for the draft without an agent, but elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season. But he'd play just 11 games before being shutdown for the year with a torn labrum. His draft stock was hurt, but obviously not totally erased.

He had surgery in January and ended up being the first Terp to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft back in March. Though Jackson's recovery kept him out of the NBA Combine, teams were still intrigued by what they'd seen from him in the past to be willing to take a flyer.

A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Jackson has the skill to play anywhere between the two or the four in the NBA, and the length to guard all kinds of players.

With Kevin Huerter headed to the last-place Atlanta Hawks, Maryland basketball's two draftees are slated to join last season's two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

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NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter was drafted No. 19 overall Thursday night by the Atlanta Hawks.

He's the Terps' highest draft pick since the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Len fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Huerter played two seasons with Maryland, averaging 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as a Terp. He's best known for his knockdown shooting ability, as he knocked down 46.6 percent of his shots from the field, including 39.4 percent of his three-point shots. During his sophomore season, he was better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from deep.

Back in April, when Huerter first declared for the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, it was widely assumed he was just testing the waters to get feedback from NBA scouts and would return to school for his junior season. But an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine saw his hardly existent draft stock skyrocket. Almost overnight, Huerter's name was popping up in the first round of mock drafts, and now what seemed like a no-brainer decision to return to school wasn't so clear.

On May 30, he announced that he would leave his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and hire an agent. He recently had surgery on a torn ligament in his hand, but is expected to miss only two months and make a full recovery by the time the 2018 NBA season starts.

With the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter should pick up right where he left off shooting in college, but can also provide high basketball IQ and sneaky athleticism. He and Trae Young join Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE: