Maryland does not have the prestige that losing to Temple is beneath them. Losing to Temple is not necessarily an upset. However, after topping Texas for a second consecutive year and rushing for 444 yards to beat Bowling Green to start the season, Maryland was expected to roll past a winless Temple team that lost to Villanova of the Football Championship Subdivision and Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference.
Instead, Maryland’s offense struggled mightily on Saturday. A week after gaining 444 yards on the ground the entire offense gained 195 yards. The run game was grounded gaining just eight yards in the first half. Freshman Anthony McFarland was the only shimmer of light, gaining 107 of the 132 total rushing yards, most of it coming in garbage time.
Kasim Hill looked like a young quarterback making just his sixth collegiate start. He completed 7-of-17 passes for 56 yards, throwing a pick-six late in the fourth quarter that sealed the fate of the outcome of the game. He seemed like a deer stuck in the headlights.
Meanwhile, Temple’s offense did almost everything that Maryland’s failed to do, as the Owls gained 429 yards of total offense. It’s special team kick started the avalanche with a fake punt that turned into a 36-yard touchdown. In fact, Maryland’s offense was so flat they did not score. The Terrapins’ two touchdowns occurred on defense and special teams — a pick-six by Darnell Savage and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Jesse Aniebonam.
Following the loss, interim coach Matt Canada blamed himself, the offensive play caller.
“I didn’t do a good enough job. This falls on me, flat out,” Canada said per Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun. “We didn’t do anything on offense today. I take full responsibility today for this loss. We didn’t play well enough, so I would say I didn’t coach well enough on offense.”
Saturday’s loss was no upset, but more so a reality check. A wake-up call. Temple was the better team. We were duped into believing otherwise. Yes, Maryland beat Texas and rolled through Bowling Green, but it was all smoke and mirrors, Saturday proved the notion to be true.
The loss also makes it more difficult for Maryland to reach bowl eligibility. Every non-conference loss hurts a bit more considering they are in a loaded Big Ten East division. One that see them ultimately play Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. A schedule that does not provide them enough locked winnable games to get to the minimum of six wins to become eligible for bowl season.
The emotion of everything going around the program carried them for two games. There’s a chance, especially the way Texas manhandled USC on Saturday night, that Maryland’s loss was a fluke. Beating Bowling Green seemed special, especially the way they ran amok on the Falcons. But, the Falcons also got hammered by Oregon 58-24 the week before. Maybe Maryland winning in the wake of the death of Jordan McNair and turmoil that followed about its program’s culture clouded logical thinking about exactly where the Terrapins stand.
There is a lot of questions for Maryland besides the future of its head coach it placed on administrative leave a month ago. What kind of team is Maryland? The answers are not clear, but, they won’t say this was an upset. Whether they get back up remains to be seen, but it’s clear they are not as good as initially thought.
Saturday’s loss was more devastating because it reveals where Maryland actually stands. A loss to Temple is not an upset, it’s a reality check.