COLLEGE PARK - - Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen conceded Tuesday that the team "is in a tough situation right now," resulting mostly from inexperience, injuries and a dose of bad luck.

"This is a time where our season hasn't gone exactly how we wanted it to," Friedgen said at his weekly media luncheon.

"I don't take losing very well. It eats away at me."

Maryland is 1-2 after a 32-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State, the second season in a row the Terps have been upset by the Sun Belt Conference team.

Maryland made 10 tackles for losses Saturday but continued its pattern of surrendering yardage in big chunks.

"We're just giving up big plays, and we've got to stop that," Friedgen said. "We have a young team, and I know people are tired of hearing that, but it's just the way it is. Some of our guys flip out a little bit when they get into action."

Friedgen said the Terps had some "hard luck" Saturday. He cited several plays, including a low pass from Chris Turner that bounced off running back Davin Meggett's hands into the hands of a Blue Raiders defender.

"Those things will even out in the end," Friedgen said.

Friedgen also said some players have had personal issues, but he declined to discuss them or name the players. "I'm not making excuses," he said.

Friedgen said the team, which has just 14 seniors - half as many as last season - needs a "coming out" party to boost its confidence.

Wounded and weary

Players and coaches said Tuesday that Maryland's defense was tired at the end of Saturday's game and suggested that the fatigue could have cost the Terps on Middle Tennessee's final drive.

The Blue Raiders went 73 yards in eight plays in the final 1:30 to set up a 19-yard, game-winning field goal. Their no-huddle offense might have contributed to Maryland's late-game fade.

Maryland's secondary has been hit by injuries - starters Nolan Carroll and Jamari McCollough are out. That means other players are remaining on the field longer.

"I think [safety] Kenny Tate played 80-something plays," Friedgen said.

Like Tate, safety Terrell Skinner also plays on special teams. Skinner said he also was in for more than 80 plays.

"I think we did get a little fatigued on that last drive," Skinner said. "I kind of thought the game was over with."

Like many fans, Skinner thought Maryland was in position to run out the clock - or score a decisive touchdown - before Middle Tennessee could get the ball again.

Also hurting at the end was cornerback Cameron Chism, who said his hamstring was bothering him. Chism had two interceptions but appeared to bite on a double-move in the last series, resulting in a 35-yard reception.

Quarterback mystery

Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage, a true freshman, was knocked out of Saturday's 23-15 victory over Florida International, lying motionless on the field after a hit.

Savage told the news media he is fine, but Friedgen said he isn't sure which Rutgers quarterback will play Saturday.

"We don't know really who we're going to be facing," Friedgen said. He said the other quarterback, fifth-year player Jabu Lovelace, "is kind of their wildcat guy, normally associated with running."

Lovelace had three carries for 34 yards against Florida International.

Running back rebound

Maryland said it isn't shutting down Da'Rel Scott, who rushed for 117 yards Saturday but fumbled twice.

Scott was on the sideline Saturday during Maryland's last possession. Meggett was in instead.

"I haven't lost one bit of faith in Da'Rel, but he's got to understand that comes with being a running back - you can't fumble the ball," Friedgen said. "We all have our good and bad games."


Saturday, 3:30 p.m.


Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

Line: Rutgers

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