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Maryland's Edsall focuses on Ohio State amid rumors

Daniel Gallen
Baltimore Sun

After two straight blowout defeats and amid a report that his firing is imminent, Maryland coach Randy Edsall reiterated comments he made earlier in the week ahead of Saturday's matchup at No. 1 Ohio State.

"The only reaction that I have to anything is what I said on Tuesday," Edsall said during a conference call with reporters Thursday. "My whole focus and concern is working with our student-athletes and making them the best people, best students, best athletes that we can be. That's all I'm worried about. I don't read anything, see anything and I'm just more worried about playing Ohio State."

Earlier Thursday, Maryland released a statement that Edsall would coach Saturday's game in Columbus, Ohio, after reported that he will be fired after the game.

"Randy Edsall is our head football coach and he'll be on the sidelines Saturday against Ohio State," a school spokesman said.

Sources familiar with athletic director Kevin Anderson's thinking believe that he hasn't made up his mind on Edsall's fate, but the outcome of Saturday's game could influence his decision.

Maryland has lost its past two games at West Virginia and against Michigan by a combined score of 73-6, and the Terps' other loss to Bowling Green in September came after a second half collapse. According to a report, attendance at Byrd Stadium is down 13 percent from a year ago. That decline is tied with Oregon State for the third-largest among Power Five teams behind North Carolina and Syracuse.

Last season, the Terps had one of the most significant attendance increases nationally during their first season in the Big Ten Conference.

Maryland has struggled to find any consistency out of the quarterback position. Redshirt junior Perry Hills, redshirt junior Caleb Rowe and senior Daxx Garman were listed as co-starters for Saturday's matchup at Ohio State, even though Hills will be a captain for the matchup, Edsall said it remains a gametime decision.

"We'll let you know on Saturday," Edsall said.

Hills, who won the job out of camp before being benched by Rowe after two games, seems to be the logical choice to start against the Buckeyes. He was 27 of 51 for 306 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in a win over Richmond and the loss to Bowling Green. Edsall cited Hills' ability to communicate and lead the team as a reason for his winning the job.

The Terps turned to Rowe in hopes of boosting their "vertical passing game." He's started the past three games, and on the season, has thrown a Football Bowl Subdivision-high 12 interceptions. Garman, the Oklahoma State transfer, has relieved Rowe the past two weeks and appeared lost.

Edsall is 22-33 in his tenure in College Park with an 0-11 record against teams ranked in the top 25. The Terps' average margin of defeat in his tenure has been 18.7 points, and 18 of his losses have come by 17 points or more. After playing top-ranked Ohio State this weekend, Maryland has No. 4 Michigan State and No. 22 Iowa, along with Penn State and one-loss Indiana, ahead of it.

Edsall has led the Terps to back-to-back 7-6 seasons and appearances in the Military and Foster Farms Bowls. He signed a three-year contract extension through 2019 in June.