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With tough stretch ahead, Edsall running out of time to turn this around

Baltimore Sun sports columnist Peter Schmuck talks about Maryland's 28-0 loss to Michigan on Saturday. (Karl Merton Ferron)

COLLEGE PARK — In the immediate aftermath of the Maryland football team's ugly loss to No. 22 Michigan on Saturday afternoon, an angry fan approached a group of media and coaches who were heading down the long stairway that leads to Gossett Team House.

"When are they going to fire Edsall?" he shouted, as if someone who had any say in the matter were present.

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Clearly, the Terps fan base already is beyond restless. You have to believe Maryland boosters and officials aren't enjoying Year Two in the Big Ten Conference nearly as much as they did Maryland's solid debut last season.

It's pretty obvious that the Randy Edsall Era is on life support. The Terps have to travel to No. 1 Ohio State next week, and it's fair to wonder whether there is any road back from the abyss with Iowa, Penn State, No. 2 Michigan State and No. 19 Wisconsin lined up behind the Buckeyes.

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The only question might be the wisdom of making an immediate coaching change rather than allowing Edsall to try to find a way out of this mess. Either way, the ultimate outcome probably isn't going to change.

In its Big Ten opener, Maryland kept the outcome in doubt for a half with a decent defensive performance, but it was obvious by the game's end that the Terps do not have enough offensive talent to compete outside the lower half of their division. And how much will we really know about the defense until it comes face-to-face with the best team in the country?

Michigan was a solid favorite coming into Saturday's game, but there was more to Maryland's 28-0 loss than met the scoreboard.

The team that lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries three years ago now is having trouble hiding its three healthy ones. Saturday's starter, Caleb Rowe, continues to be an interception machine, and backup Daxx Garman looked so lost out there, it's impossible not to make a GPS joke.

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The offense managed 105 total yards and could not score even when the Wolverines turned the ball over deep in their own territory. There are all sorts of stats to document how ineffective the Terps were on offense  for instance, they've been outscored 73-6 over the past two games  but this one pretty much sums it up:

Michigan turned the ball over three times, and the Terps netted a grand total of minus-1 yard on the three ensuing possessions.

Eventually, the three-and-outs began to wear on Maryland's defense, and the Wolverines needed just a couple of long plays to put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter.

The muttering about Edsall and speculation about his future began after the Terps were run out of their own stadium by Bowling Green in their second game of the season. It didn't subside when the Terps were undressed by West Virginia last week. You can imagine which way the conversation figures to turn after Saturday's shutout.

Of course, there's nothing for Edsall to do but trot out the usual positive bromides and try to ignore the gathering gloom. That's essentially what he said he was going to do when asked postgame about the state of the team and the scary opponents on the horizon: Get back to work and try to change the subject.

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for us. … That's what it is,'' Edsall said. "That's why you come here. You come here for those opportunities. You look forward to that challenge. You look forward to that opportunity, and I know our kids will.

"It's just like this week. We told them that this was a great opportunity against Michigan, and that's why you come here. What we'll do is, we'll get them ready to go again next week and bounce back, and that's what we'll do. To me, I think it's great when you get a chance to be able to play these teams, and now you get a chance to measure up and compete. That's the thing you got to do, just go and compete and have fun."

That's a nice thought, but there's nothing fun about getting your team beat down and your job security questioned.

Edsall ushered in the Terps' Big Ten era with an uplifting 2014, but he knows that the price of playing in one of the most storied college football conferences is that nobody cares what you did last year.

Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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