Maryland report card after Week 1 loss at Northwestern: It's not pretty
It was an extremely rough beginning to the B1G season for Maryland, as the Terps were handled 43-3 at Northwestern. The lopsided loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for Maryland in season-openers.
Maryland took a 3-0 lead and then watched Northwestern score 43 unanswered points.
Needless to say, the grades need a lot of improvement. Here’s the Week 1 report card:
The Taulia Tagovailoa era got off to a resounding thud. The Alabama quarterback transfer and brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa struggled with 95 passing yards and 3 interceptions.
Tagovailoa completed 6 of his first 7 passes to march Maryland down the field on its opening drive for a field goal, but after that it was an absolute struggle.
Tagovailoa averaged a meager 3.8 yards per attempt.
“I just never felt like after the first drive that we had any rhythm on offense,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley told The Washington Post. “And to me, it’s all about rhythm, and we’re one of those teams that when we can play with tempo and we can get up and go, we tend to be able to string plays together.”
Throughout the game, Tagovailoa overthrew passes and was off target on numerous occasions. While the line often didn’t give him much time to throw, Tagovailoa squarely put the responsibility on himself for Maryland’s horrific offensive showing.
“I feel like today I made a lot of mistakes that cost us the game,” Tagovailoa said in a quote transcribed by SB Nation. “But it’s a good thing that it’s early in the season. Obviously not the way we want to start, but you’ve got to give credit to Northwestern.”
Quarterback Lance LeGendre took Maryland within 6 yards of the end zone on the final drive of the game, prompting fans to contemplate a switch next week.
However, Locksley is firm in his belief in Tagovailoa.
“He’s our quarterback,” Locksley told The Washington Post. “He earned the right to be our starting quarterback. Did the things that we thought would give us the best chance to win. None of us, coaches included, played a good game or had a great game — offensively, defensively, special teams. With the quarterback, of course he takes the brunt of the criticism, especially when you turn it over.”
Maryland amassed just 207 total yards. No Maryland receiver had over 42 yards or 5 receptions.
Jake Funk and Peny Boone combined for 65 rushing yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Isaiah Jacobs had just 15 yards on six carries and lost a fumble.
“For us to be a good team, we’ve got to play with great discipline,” Locksley said in a quote transcribed by SB Nation. “And playing with great discipline means protecting the football, and we didn’t do that today.”
Northwestern absolutely shredded the Maryland defense. Northwestern reeled off 43 straight points and 537 total yards. Northwestern’s 30 1st-half points were its 3rd-most since 2015, according to SB Nation.
Northwestern was coming off a season in which it finished 126th nationally in points per game, but Maryland’s 3-4 scheme had no answer.
Maryland allowed 4 rushing touchdowns and 325 yards on the ground. Drake Anderson amassed 103 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
Peyton Ramsey completed 23-of-30 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. Maryland’s pass rush was non-existent, as it couldn’t even muster a single sack. The defensive line simply got pushed around all night.
Northwestern converted 8-of-16 3rd-down attempts and all 3 of its 4th-down attempts.
Linebacker Chance Campbell, who finished with a game-high 14 tackles, cites Northwestern’s command of the pace as a factor for Maryland’s woes.
“We knew they had the ability to go fast. I think probably something that was a little unanticipated was their ability to change, you know the personnel and tempo,” Campbell said in a quote transcribed by SB Nation. “I think we adjusted well, it just took a little bit longer than we would have hoped.”
Special teams: C
It’s not like they were that impressive, but special teams were Maryland’s best unit by default.
Kicker Joseph Petrino converted his only field goal attempt, a 33-yarder on Maryland’s opening drive. Maryland punter Colton Spangler totaled 151 yards on four kicks, with a long of 39. Anthony Pecorella also had a 47-yard punt.
Jacobs amassed 116 yards on six kickoff returns, with a long of 30.
On a disastrous night, special teams were a minor bright spot to carry over into Week 2 by merely displaying competency.