Maryland blew a golden opportunity to finish their first B1G season on a high note in football, squandering an early 25 point lead and eventually falling to Rutgers at home in their final regular season game of the year. The Terps, who looked unstoppable on offense in the 1st half, could never put Rutgers away and in the second half allowed the Scarlet Knights to score touchdowns on their first four possessions and a field goal on the 5th. So what can we say we learned after such a horrible loss?
Maryland shouldn't have lost, but that doesn't mean this season wasn't successful
After a frustrating loss, the knee jerk reaction is to, well, overreact. Losing to Rutgers in the fashion Maryland lost on Saturday is inexcusable. You just can't allow a team to come back from 25 down and beat you, at home nonetheless. Blame is rightfully deserved by many as a result. But that one loss, no matter how frustrating or embarrassing it was, doesn't negate other positive things Maryland as a program has accomplished this season. Beating Penn State and Michigan on the road, even when they're in down years, is an accomplishment for Maryland. There's no sugar coating that Maryland isn't a prestigious football program. Having consecutive winning seasons is an accomplishment for Maryland. That's where Maryland is as a program right now, which people need to remember. Maryland isn't Alabama. The school has been playing football for 98 years and has had back to back winning seasons just 27 times. They've improved year over year under Edsall. What is the ceiling under Randy? I don't know. But you're seeing improvement, even if there are frustrating bumps along the way. It's not easy to look at the big picture after a bad loss, but sometimes we as fans need to keep things in perspective.
This may not have impacted Maryland's bowl position at all
The two most popular bowl games we had seen named before Saturday's game were the TaxSlayer Bowl or the Outback Bowl, both fairly major bowl games on New Year's Day (or January 2, in the case of TaxSlayer). In either, Maryland would play an SEC opponent -- Ole Miss, Auburn (before their Alabama win) and Georgia were thrown around as possibilities. Now ... not much has changed. Jerry Palm of CBS still projects Maryland to play in the Outback Bowl against Georgia, giving the Terps an opportunity against a big-time program on a national stage.
Maryland wasn't able to hide their warts against a lesser opponent for the first time this season
For the most part in 2014, when Maryland played a really good team, they took advantage of the Terps' weaknesses and exploited them, often times to blowout wins. But when Maryland was playing lesser competition, they were able to mask those deficiencies and pull out victories over their opponents. On Saturday, Rutgers became the first team this year that Maryland should have beaten, but instead successfully took advantage of Maryland's weaknesses and turned them into a come from behind victory.