Maryland report card after thrilling Week 2 overtime victory vs. Minnesota
Minnesota missed a PAT in overtime as Maryland bounced back in an exhilarating way for a 45-44 victory on Friday night.
Maryland raced out to a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Minnesota responded to go ahead 38-21 into the fourth quarter. Maryland closed the game on a 24-6 run to secure its first victory of the season.
It was a stark contrast to Maryland’s 43-3 defeat against Northwestern in Week 1.
Here’s the Week 2 report card:
What a difference a week makes.
In Week 1, the Maryland offense was flummoxed to the tune of just 207 total yards. In Week 2, Maryland’s offense was absolutely dynamic, with an eye-popping 675 total yards in what was Taulia Tagovailoa’s coming out party in front of a national television audience.
The Maryland quarterback struggled with 95 passing yards and 3 interceptions against Northwestern. Against Minnesota, though, Tagovailoa was sensational with 394 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air, while adding 64 yards and 2 scores on the ground.
Tagovailoa’s leaping 2-yard touchdown run in overtime was the game-deciding play.
This Taulia Tagovailoa game-winning TD in OT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/QwpzpBBPmT
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2020
The offense was blanked in the second and third quarters before Tagovailoa eventually rallied Maryland from down 17. A 12-yard reception by Jeshaun Jones and a pass interference three plays later helped set up Tagovailoa’s overtime score.
“We showed a lot of grit, a lot of fight and a lot of perseverance to come off a loss like that and for our team to just continue to fight,” Tagovailoa said during postgame media availability (available in full here). “… It just shows the type of team we have. Hopefully we can build on this.”
Tagovailoa showcased his dual-threat abilities in the first quarter with a 39-yard rushing touchdown sandwiched between a pair of passing touchdowns, the latter being a 76-yard bomb to Jones.
Taulia has already accounted for 3 TDs in the first quarter 🔥 pic.twitter.com/qEbhDXexSp
— ESPN (@espn) October 31, 2020
Tagovailoa’s revival comes as no surprise to coach Mike Locksley, who didn’t put much stock into the quarterback’s previous subpar outing.
“Last week was more of a surprise for us than what we saw this week,” Locksley said, “because these are the same type of plays and throws and energy he has brought to the table, which is why he earned the position. It was great to see him bounce back.”
Running back Jake Funk was exceptional, rushing for 221 yards and a touchdown, as well as having a receiving touchdown. Funk’s 19-yard rushing touchdown tied the game at 38 with 3:38 left in the fourth quarter.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 31, 2020
“We had some great contributions from Jake Funk. Did a great job in the run game,” Locksley said. “Jake is a guy that, he’s been around here a long time, and it’s great to be able to get this type of contribution from him.”
This was the first time in program history that Maryland has had a 300-yard passer and 200-yard rusher in the same game.
Taulia x Funk 👀
A 300 yard passer and 200 yard rusher in the same game for the first time in Maryland history. pic.twitter.com/S6i2FFlfRk
— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) October 31, 2020
Jones (3 receptions, 103 yards, 1 touchdown) and Dontay Demus Jr. (7 receptions, 101 yards, 1 touchdown) each exceeded 100 yards receiving. Rakim Jarrett, Brian Cobbs and Darryl Jones combined for 13 receptions and 168 yards.
Maryland committed 2 turnovers: an interception from Tagovailoa on a tipped pass in the second quarter and a fumble in the end zone by Peny Boone in the third quarter.
Ultimately, the turnovers didn’t end up being costly and Maryland has plenty to feel positive about offensively. The most important takeaway is that Tagovailoa flashed the potential that he could be a special quarterback.
For a Maryland program that’s been mired in mediocrity for quite some time, Tagovailoa’s performance offered a glimpse of hope.
It was another rough game for the defense, allowing 40+ points for the second straight week and 451 total yards.
While the defense had peaks and valleys throughout the night, it came through when it was necessary.
The defense began the game by forcing Minnesota into a three-and-out on its opening drive. The defense then allowed 31 points between the second and third quarters, before bouncing back with a shutout fourth quarter to force overtime.
In overtime, the defense allowed a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Seth Green but the ensuing PAT was missed to secure the victory.
The defense is proud of the resilience it displayed, including a pair of key third down stops.
“We really stepped up,” defensive lineman Lawtez Rogers said. “And we took our role that we had each play seriously, and we didn’t take no for an answer. You could really see it.”
Locksley praised the defense for weathering the storm and being mentally tough enough to get back on track.
“Our defense kept banging away,” Locksley said. “They kept fighting. They kept playing hard. Rotated a bunch of guys in there. We got some stops when we needed them most there late in the game. I thought the energy level changed as they continued to have a little success late in the game with getting off the field.”
The rushing defense continues to be porous, as Mohamed Ibrahim gashed Maryland with 207 yards and 4 touchdowns. Due to that overwhelming success, Minnesota was mostly run-heavy, with quarterback Tanner Morgan only throwing 15 passes, completing 10 for 189 yards and a touchdown.
For the second week in a row, Maryland failed to force a turnover. Chance Campbell led Maryland with 13 tackles and a sack. Jordan Mosley added 11 tackles.
The box score isn’t pretty but the Maryland defense dug deep and for that they deserve credit.
Special teams: A
While they didn’t block the kick, Maryland’s special teams forced enough pressure for Minnesota kicker Brock Walker to miss wide right for what would’ve been a game-tying PAT in overtime.
Minnesota misses the extra point to force double OT 😳
TERPS WIN 45-44! pic.twitter.com/p3yy3asURp
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 31, 2020
It was a stunning ending to a wild back-and-forth game.
Kicker Joseph Petrino missed a 51-yard field goal right before halftime but booted a career-high 51 yarder to help trim Minnesota’s lead in the fourth quarter.
“Was really happy with the way our kicker, Joe Petrino, came through with the big, long kick there at the end,” Locksley said.
Minnesota was kept in check in kickoff returns, with just 72 yards total. The Maryland kickoff returners (DeJuan Ellis and Isaiah Jacobs) combined for a modest 65 yards.
On a night with plenty of offense, not much was required from Maryland punter Anthony Pecorella (1 punt, 34 yards).
With a pair of huge plays, the Maryland special teams came through in the clutch as a major X-factor.