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3 reasons Maryland couldn't afford loss to Bowling Green


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.


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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No. 19 Iowa pummels Maryland 23-0 for 3rd straight win

USA Today

No. 19 Iowa pummels Maryland 23-0 for 3rd straight win

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- On a day when the wind made nearly every play an ugly one, Iowa's defense looked beautiful.

Nate Stanley threw for 86 yards and a touchdown and 19th-ranked Iowa pummeled Maryland 23-0 on Saturday for its third straight victory.

Anthony Nelson added a TD on a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten), who held the Terrapins to just 115 yards and seven first downs on a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph.

"I'm really happy with our team's performance. When you play a team like Maryland, they really pose some unique challenges for us and you factor in the conditions on top of that," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I thought our guys did a really good job of being focused."

Those conditions seemed like they might favor Maryland and its run-heavy attack.

But Iowa's front seven never let the Terrapins' attack get going, and its offense used the ground game to grab an early lead and control the ball for more than 40 minutes.

After settling for a pair of short field goals, Iowa went into halftime ahead 13-0 after Stanley found Brandon Smith for a 10-yard TD grab -- which Smith made with one hand -- with eight seconds left in the second quarter.

Nelson, a defensive end, made it 23-0 Hawkeyes late in the third quarter by falling on a botched handoff from backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome in the end zone.

"They controlled the line of scrimmage up front. When we did try to run it up inside, they did a very good job of stopping us," Maryland coach Matt Canada said. "The wind really limited us being able to throw the ball down the field to loosen them up."

Ivory Kelly-Martin ran for 98 yards for Iowa, which had its first shutout since a 28-0 victory at Illinois two years ago.

Kasim Hill was 6 of 15 passing for 47 yards and a pick for the Terps (4-3, 2-2), who ran for just 68 yards after entering play averaging 245 a game on the ground.

All three of Maryland's losses have come by at least 21 points.


Iowa: The Hawkeyes are really starting to round into form. If Iowa can upset Penn State next week in State College, talk of the Hawkeyes crashing the playoff party will only gain steam because they should be favored to win their last four games.

Maryland: The Terps' defense simply couldn't get off the field, time and again bullied by an Iowa offensive line that played arguably its best game yet. Illinois ran just 39 plays, compared with 76 for Iowa.


Iowa might make another big jump -- the Hawkeyes went from unranked to 19th last week -- after an utterly dominant performance. The Hawkeyes have won their last three games by 17, 26 and 23 points.


Maryland looked like it had a good shot at holding Iowa to another red-zone field goal late in the first half. But Byron Cowart got flagged for a personal foul following a Stanley incompletion from the Terrapins 22, and two plays later Stanley found Smith in the end zone.


Hesse, Iowa's senior defensive end, played perhaps the signature game of a brilliant career. Hesse knew exactly when to stay home and when to attack on Maryland's option plays, and he added a sack and two tackles for loss. "They give you a lot of different looks ... it all came down to what we did this week in practice," Hesse said. "Not to sound redundant or cheesy. That's just something you've got to practice."


Ty Johnson was the only Maryland player with more than one catch. He had two, for two yards. Iowa was 9 of 18 on third downs and 3 of 4 on fourth downs. Tre Watson and Isaiah Davis combined for 29 tackles for Maryland. The Hawkeyes wore out Maryland with a 17-play drive in the first quarter that consumed nine minutes and ended with a 23-yard field goal from Miguel Recinos. "Our objective is to get off the field on third down. Unfortunately, we understand when those long drives happen, it's because we failed to do that," Watson said.

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Not the homecoming former Terp D.J. Moore was hoping for against the Redskins

Not the homecoming former Terp D.J. Moore was hoping for against the Redskins

Former Maryland Terrapin D.J. Moore made his first trip to FedEx field as an NFL star. His Carolina Panthers traveled up to Landover, Md. for a Week 6 matchup with the Washington Redskins.

However, it was not the homecoming he and the Panthers were hoping for. 

The first-round draft pick had two fumbles in the first half against the Redskins. Both were punch-outs due to Moore not holding the ball tight enough.

The wide receiver's first came as he fielded the Redskins' first punt of the afternoon.

The second being a fumble coming off of his first reception, punched out by Josh Norman, who had his best game as a Redskin.

Both plays had enough effort, probably too much. Moore was clearly trying to make something out of nothing and both times it cost him and the Panthers two key possessions on the road. 

First two touches, two fumbles. Not a good look. 

But in other Maryland Terps news, Vernon Davis did haul down the first touchdown of the game and Torrey Smith scored a late touchdown and converted the two-point conversion.