3 takeaways from Maryland's impressive Music City Bowl win
Maryland has turned into a bowl game juggernaut under Mike Locksley, and the Terrapins kept that success rolling right along this season.
Even without Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland dialed up some explosive early-game moments to grab control of the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Auburn eventually regrouped but it was already too late for the Tigers as Maryland delivered a memorable performance.
In the end, the Terrapins rolled to a 31-13 win after a 21-0 stretch to open the game. Here are the key takeaways from the Saturday win:
Terps prove they’re more than Tagovailoa
How will Maryland perform heading into the post-Taulia Tagovailoa era? Well, for Saturday, the answer was a positive one.
Granted, Billy Edwards Jr. and Cameron Edge both had their miscues and need to work on their efficiency. But both players also showed some playmaking potential and tools for Locksley to work with moving forward.
Notably, the majority of Maryland’s offense came in the first quarter with Edge and Edwards combining for 3 touchdowns. However, it’s also worth pointing out that the playcalling dramatically changes when a team races out to a 21-0 lead.
For now, it’s probably not worth trying to determine which player will land the starting job for 2024. The experience of Edwards probably gives him a head start hitting the spring, and he would bring a dual-threat element to the offense.
Edwards did struggle to throw the ball as the game went along and finished 6-for-20 for 126 yards and a touchdown. He also served in the ground game, rushing for 50 yards and another touchdown.
Regardless of who lines up under center next season, the Terrapins showed Saturday a reason to be optimistic.
Bowl history achieved by Mike Locksley
Mike Locksley had already produced an unprecedented string of success for the program for the first time since the Ralph Friedgen days. On Saturday, he solidified a remarkable run for the Terrapins with a third straight bowl win.
In fact, Saturday’s Music City Bowl win gives the Terrapins their first-ever stretch with a bowl victory in 3 straight seasons. Friedgen previously led the Terrapins to 3 straight wins in bowl games, but that winning streak was spread across the 2002-06 seasons.
Overall, Locksley is now a perfect 3-0 in bowl games leading the Terrapins, giving him the second-most bowl victories in program history. Friedgen still holds the program record of 5 bowl wins, but Locksley is the only Maryland head coach with multiple bowl appearances without a loss.
Now, the task becomes stringing more success together in 2024.
Maryland serves as B1G’s savior vs. SEC
When the bowl schedule dropped, Maryland’s matchup against Auburn was somewhat of an afterthought in the B1G with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Iowa all drawing more notable opponents in the non-CFP slate. The Hawkeyes and Badgers are still to play, but the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions both dropped the ball in their games.
Instead, the Terrapins rallied and delivered a win against the SEC in impressive fashion. There may be some detractors from the performance, but Maryland will finish the season with 8 wins and its best 3-season stretch in over a decade.