Maryland's loss to Bowling Green on Saturday was awful in a host of ways. The Terps couldn't really move the ball (341 yards against a bad defense), definitely couldn't stop the ball (692 yards, non-satirically) and generally stumbled and bumbled their way to a three-touchdown loss against a team from a mid-major conference in their own stadium.
Other than that, the game was fine.
Here are some particulars from Maryland's long day at the office. As always, this list is non-exhaustive.
Will Likely, cornerback/returner. Likely had a 29-yard punt return average and set a Maryland and Big Ten single-game record with 233 punt return yards last week. He had more in store Saturday. His 85-yard return score was a thing of beauty: He started back on the ball, adjusted himself and blew away 11 white jerseys. It didn't even look hard.
Likely also had a gorgeous hit and pass break-up on a deep ball from Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson to receiver Robbie Rhodes. He got rung up for a bad pass-interference call in the first half, but that's on the back judge, not on Likely. Bowling Green receiver Roger Lewis torched Sean Davis, but Likely kept him in check in limited duty.
Likely did, of course, muff a punt that led to a Bowling Green score. So, let's say he was responsible for a net of zero points, or maybe a little more. That places him right at the top of Maryland's bell curve for the day. No muffed punt is good or even acceptable, but Likely's at least makes sense insofar as he knows he's the extent of Maryland's offense these days and needs to rip off yardage.
Yannick Ngakoue, defensive end. Ngakoue entered the season as Maryland's best breakout candidate on either side of the ball. Through two games, it seems that status wasn't unfounded. He had seven QB pressures against Richmond in the opener, and he piled up three sacks against a marginally better offensive line for Bowling Green. His back-to-back takedowns of Johnson on third and fourth down near the Maryland 25-yard line kept at least three points off the board in the first quarter. He was a force all day.
Uh, not much. Maybe the concessions? This wasn't a very in-between kind of game.
Maryland's offensive line. Last week's showing against Richmond was pretty good. This week's was not. The first half wasn't great, as Maryland's only rushing success came on QB scrambles after the pocket broke down. As the game went on, the line did punch open a few holes for Wes Brown (5.9 yards per run), but the line mostly didn't get push against a defensive front that sorely needed some pushing. These guys got punctured for 400 rushing yards a week ago. Maryland was good for 156, which translates to approximately 12 against Penn State or Ohio State. Terrapin quarterbacks still haven't been sacked this year, which is terrific, but it's only so useful because, well ...
Maryland's quarterbacking. For awhile, Perry Hills was on his way to turning in one of those "game manager" days college coaches begrudgingly accept from their quarterbacks. But Hills, like Maryland on the whole, went off the rails down the stretch. He finished 15 of 30 for 168 yards, two scores and an interception (which was on fourth down, so whatever). Just like in the first game of the year, those are pretty standard mediocre college QB numbers. But Hills doesn't seem to have any downfield throwing strength, and the guy who does – his backup, Caleb Rowe – tossed two picks on three throws, as he tried to do exactly that. Maryland's head coach didn't seem to know where he'd go from here. Neither do I.
Randy Edsall. It's en vogue to criticize Edsall right now, but losses like Saturday's are firmly in the realm of "losses that can lead to coaches losing their jobs." I don't expect that to happen. Edsall has a high-end recruiting class on its way next year, and his progress has been painfully slow but also, until right now, reasonably steady. So he's probably not going anywhere, and that's all well and good. Unless Maryland goes, say, 3-9. That didn't seem possible on Friday, but it sure seems possible now. Maryland got crushed by a MAC team. At home. And blew a couple of different leads to do it.