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Maryland's starting quarterback against top-ranked Ohio State is still anybody's guess


COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Maryland coach Randy Edsall has a quarterback quandary. All three players at the position have struggled, and Edsall must pick one to start Saturday against No. 1 Ohio State.

It's a decision the coach has opted to delay until the morning of the game.

"What we want to do is find a guy to give us the best opportunity to win a ballgame," Edsall said Tuesday. "That's what we're going to do through practice this week."

During summer camp, Edsall held an open competition for the starting job. Now, after only five games, he's doing it again.

The problem is, no one has done anything to distinguish himself. That is perhaps the biggest reason why Maryland (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) is off to a poor start and has been outscored by a combined 73-6 in its last two games.

Perry Hills got the starting job in the opener and didn't make it through two games before giving way to Caleb Rowe, who started in Week 3 against South Florida.

Rowe led the Terrapins to a 35-17 win despite throwing three interceptions and fumbling three times. One week later, after being picked off four times in a 45-6 loss to West Virginia, Rowe was pulled.

Rowe returned to start last Saturday against Michigan, but after going 8 for 27 for 47 yards and three interceptions, the redshirt junior was replaced by Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman in a second straight game.

PHOTO: Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe throws to a receiver in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe throws to a receiver in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Garman threw for 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cowboys last year but has yet to make his mark with the Terrapins. He's 6 for 18 for 115 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Garman appears to have trouble getting comfortable with the playbook, which would explain the delay of game penalty he received on his first play in Saturday's 28-0 loss.

"He obviously just came in, just learned the offense," fullback Kenneth Goins, Jr. said. "That's a lot to put on his plate. He's getting it down, but he's a little bit rattled, I guess."

Hills was pulled and dropped to third on the depth chart for being too tentative with his throws, but his 52.9 completion percentage and 153.0 quarterback rating is by far the best of the three.

"He's just been waiting on his shot again," Goins said. "Perry can go out there and make plays, just like the other two."

Three years ago, Edsall was forced to use a converted linebacker at quarterback because the top four players on the depth chart sustained season-ending injuries. He might be tempted to go that route again if Hills, Rowe and Garman don't distinguish themselves.

There's no telling who will start against Ohio State (5-0, 1-0).

"Those kids are out there trying," Edsall said. "It's not because they're not giving effort. We just have to keep working with them to hit that groove, to hit that stride, for them to be able to play at the level they're capable of playing."

This will be Maryland's first trip to Ohio State. Maryland's last win over a defending national champion came in 1984, 42-40 over Miami.

"It's a tremendous challenge," Edsall said, "but a great opportunity as well."

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