Maryland's seeks to end 8-game skid, earn 1st Big 10 win
Since beating South Florida on Sept. 19, the Terrapins have dropped eight in a row and are in danger of closing out the year without a victory in the Big Ten.
Maryland (2-9, 0-7) blew an 18-point lead Saturday in a loss to visiting Indiana. So now, the Terrapins either beat Rutgers (4-7, 1-6) or end the season with the program's longest single-season skid since the 1967 team went 0-9.
''It's our seniors' last opportunity to go out and play as Terrapins,'' interim coach Mike Locksley said Tuesday. ''We're a little disappointed for not being able to send them out with a win at home, but this provides us with another opportunity.''
Maryland is 0-5 since Locksley took over for fired coach Randy Edsall on Oct. 11. The execution has been spotty, but Locksley has looked beyond that in assessing his players during the past six weeks.
''They had every opportunity to just lay down and quit, not show up,'' he said. ''To a man, since I took over, I never questioned our effort and the way we prepared. These guys have continued to fight for us.''
Thus far, it hasn't translated to a victory. The Terps can only hope that changes on Saturday.
''It would definitely mean a lot,'' junior Quinton Jefferson said. ''Our seniors, they've been through a lot. So it would be good to send them out with a win. It's only right.''
The coaching staff and players have endured plenty of wide-margin losses this season. After opening with a 50-21 win over Richmond, the Terrapins got a hint of things to come in a 21-point home loss to Bowling Green.
Then came the aforementioned 35-17 win over South Florida, followed by three straight defeats by a combined 126-34 score led to Edsall's dismissal.
The losing didn't stop there.
''Great life lessons will be taken from this season,'' Locksley said. ''You can learn a lot from failure because it gives you the experiences that the next time you're faced with them, you should be prepared.''
Locksley and his players would most certainly prefer never to go through something like this again. When he got the job, Locksley was told he'd be considered in the search for a new head coach. The odds of that happening seem slim in light of his record, but many of his players seem to appreciate what he's done.
Providing him with a victory at Rutgers would be a good way of saying thanks.
''We want to prove to everybody that he's been pivotal in bringing us together since we lost Coach Edsall and prove to everybody that he's taking care of business and we're getting better,'' sophomore linebacker Jalen Brooks said.
If this is Locksley's finale on the sideline, he intends to make it a memorable one - for his players.
''Our seniors have done a great job of leading us through some tough times, some tough losses,'' he said. ''We're doing everything we can in our power to coach these guys and provide a game plan to allow them to go out the right way. They have our commitment as a staff and we have their commitment as players that we want to finish the job, and that is what we intend to do.''
Notes: Locksley said QBs Perry Hills (mononucleosis) and Caleb Rowe (concussion) have been cleared to practice on a limited basis, and a decision on a starter would be made around game time. ... CB/KR Will Likely (left ankle) sprain and K Brad Craddock (hand) didn't practice Tuesday and will be monitored during the week to determine their status for Saturday.