Free-falling Maryland will play for more than pride on Saturday against Ohio State. The Terrapins also could be playing for coach Randy Edsall's job in their first game at Ohio Stadium.

Free-falling Maryland will play for more than pride on Saturday against Ohio State. The Terrapins also could be playing for coach Randy Edsall's job in their first game at Ohio Stadium.

InsideMDSports reported Thursday that multiple sources said "barring an unexpected last-minute reversal" that Maryland plans to fire Edsall after the Ohio State game, when the Terrapins will enter a bye week. A Maryland statement offered only: "Randy Edsall is our head football coach, and he'll be on the sideline Saturday against Ohio State."

Edsall is 22-33 in his fifth season at Maryland, and he signed a three-year contract extension in June that takes his deal through the 2019 season. But the InsideMDSports report said that Maryland, in its second season in the Big Ten, is prepared to pay the $500,000 buyout clause in Edsall's contract because of fan disenchantment and boosters withholding donations.

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The Terrapins (2-3) will face Ohio State having been outscored 73-6 in their past two games against Michigan and West Virginia, and they lost at home to Bowling Green 48-27 on Sept. 12.

Speculation about Edsall's future began heating up after the Bowling Green game. Still, the Washington Post reported Sept. 25 that Edsall maintained support from Maryland's administration and prominent boosters.

However, the Terrapins have since lost 45-6 at West Virginia and 28-0 at home in their Big Ten opener against Michigan, a game in which Maryland had only 105 yards of offense. Edsall is 0-11 against ranked teams, and those losses have come by an average of 23 points. The Terrapins are 28.5-point underdogs against the top-ranked Buckeyes.

Three days after the West Virginia game, some Maryland players reportedly had a players-only meeting before practice. Asked about it later that day on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference, Edsall said: "That's news to me."

Maryland is coming off consecutive 7-6 seasons, including an inaugural Big Ten season in which the Terrapins finished third in the East Division at 4-4. They had surprising road victories over Michigan and Penn State but lost 52-24 to Ohio State.

Some goodwill for Edsall was burned by a 45-21 bowl loss to Stanford, but Maryland saw fit in June to extend his original five-year contract - which didn't include a buyout clause - by three years.

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who played at Maryland from 1981 to '83, said this week that he supported Edsall.

"The contract extension was warranted," Esiason said. "You have to give the guy a chance to get his people in there. We've had some success. Last year, I was a little surprised by the success we had, and that probably fostered higher expectations for this year that won't be met."

Maryland, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference for 61 years, has long been known as a basketball school with a few bright moments in football. The Terrapins' lone national title came in 1953, and they had at least 10 victories from 2001 to 2003.

Switching conferences meant a step up for the Terrapins, who are 66-75 since 2004. Maryland is the lone Big Ten member without an indoor football practice facility, and its stadium has half the seating capacity of Ohio Stadium's 104,944.

"It's not hard to really discern why we're struggling," Esiason said. "The fact is, we're in the Big Ten and playing schools like Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State. Right now for us, Randy Edsall is in the midst of building a program in his image, and with that comes growing pains. He's going to have his work cut out for him."

Maryland is renovating Cole Field House to become the Terrapin Performance Center that will include a locker room and three football fields, one of them indoors. Plans call for it to be ready for the 2018 season.

Maryland graduate and former player Kevin Plank gave$25 million toward the facility's renovation.

Plank is founder and chief executive of the sports-apparel company Under Armour, which signed a 10-year, $33 million contract extension last year with the school.

Edsall has put together two highly regarded recruiting classes, led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Potomac, Md., considered one of the nation's top passers in the 2016 class.

"The one thing that I think has helped our recruiting is being in the Big Ten," Edsall said in late July at the league's football media days.

Edsall, however, might not be around to coach those recruits.

@Todd_Jones

tjones@dispatch.com