The University of Maryland Terps are just over a week removed from their thrilling 45-44 win in overtime against Minnesota led by the sophomore Taulia Tagovailoa’s near-perfect performance. The Alabama transfer dismantled the Golden Gopher’s defense with his mobility, highlighted by his 39-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. At that point, he was just getting started.
Tagovailoa finished the game completing 26-of-35 passes for 394 yards, with five total touchdowns, becoming the third Big Ten player in the past 20 seasons to record 350 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a single game. He also received the honor of Co-Offensive Player of the Week in the Big Ten. This was like night and day compared to the 94 yards and three interceptions he threw in the 43-3 loss to Northwestern.
Head coach Mike Locksley was excited about Taulia’s breakout game, but he doesn’t want the roller coaster ride of inconsistencies anymore.
“He was able to play how we know he’s capable of playing,” Locksley said. “Now the goal is to just get that type of effort from him consistently, which we expect and hopefully continue to see out of him.”
Locksley said they are in the “growth phase of the program” and making mistakes comes with the territory. He knows there is still plenty that can be corrected with the offense’s turnover problem and the defense issues with getting off the field on third down. Locksley wants them corrected but he’s satisfied with them being corrected in a winning effort.
Penn State, which is 0-2 and unranked after beginning the season in the Top 10, remains the heavy favorite against the Terps. This is an opportunity for Maryland to prove to the nation it’s a legit threat in the division, which includes the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, all opponents who they later face this season.
The other Co-Offensive Player of the Week, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, was spectacular throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns at Penn State. If Tagovailoa can somewhat mimic what he did last week without giving the ball up in the process, the Terps will have a fighting chance.
Maryland visits Penn State Saturday at 3:30 p.m.