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Maryland QB choice could be game-time decision

Daniel Gallen
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times
Randy Edsall: "Everybody's in play" for Maryland's starting QB job.

Maryland's starting quarterback job is still up in the air, and a decision on the starter for Saturday's road matchup at No. 1 Ohio State might not be made until game time, coach Randy Edsall said on his weekly conference call Sunday.

In the aftermath of Maryland's 28-0 loss to then-No. 22 Michigan, Edsall said, "I think you know we'll be making a change." But about 24 hours later, there's no final decision on what exactly that change will be.

"We're going to make a decision that we feel is best for our team moving forward and what we feel we need to do in order to be successful and to move the ball and do the things we have to do, so yeah, everybody's in play there," Edsall said.

The fifth-year coach didn't rule out a return to the starting lineup for redshirt junior Perry Hills, who beat out redshirt junior Caleb Rowe and Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman for the job in August. Hills started the first two games of the season and was benched late in Maryland's 48-27 loss to Bowling Green after completing 27 of 51 passes for 306 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Rowe came on late against Bowling Green and started the next three games, though he's been benched for Garman in losses to West Virginia and Michigan. Rowe has thrown a Football Bowl Subdivision-high 12 interceptions in five appearances this season, and he's completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes for the Terps.

Garman has entered in the third quarter the past two weeks once the game has been well out of reach, and he hasn't looked comfortable in either appearance. He's 6 of 18 for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his two games this season. He's taken five sacks behind an offensive line that has allowed Hills and Rowe to be sacked only once combined.

"He's in the mix," Edsall said about the probability of Garman starting at Ohio State on Saturday.

All three quarterbacks appear to be candidates to start against the Buckeyes. The Terps will enter Saturday's matchup in Columbus, Ohio, as the second-worst scoring offense in the Big Ten Conference. Maryland ranks ahead of only Penn State in total offense. Rowe was expected to help boost an offense that stagnated against Bowling Green after he was elevated to the starting role, but the Terps have managed just six points in their past two games.

After Saturday's loss to Michigan, Rowe said he hadn't been informed about the quarterback situation moving forward.

"Well, when we make it, we'll let you know," Edsall said Sunday. "We'll sit down and we'll talk and we might make a decision, might not announce it until game time. We'll see where we're at."

That quarterback will face an Ohio State defense that ranks third in the Big Ten in pass defense. The Buckeyes have allowed an average of 150.4 yards per game through the air, and opposing quarterbacks are completing only 47.7 percent of their passes and have been intercepted six times. Overall, Ohio State ranks fourth in the conference in total defense, another tall task for Maryland after the Terps fell flat against Michigan, the league's top defense.

Maryland also had a game-time decision at quarterback entering last season's matchup with Ohio State, which the eventual national champion Buckeyes won, 52-24. That decision was injury-related, though, after C.J. Brown suffered a sprained wrist the week before.

This time, it's performance-related, as the Terps can't seem to find a quarterback who can keep the offense moving and not turn the ball over. And once again, Maryland will try to find something that works.

"We'll sit down as a staff and do the things we feel is best for the team moving forward and to get accomplished against who we got to play," Edsall said.


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