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Sports

College Football: Breaking Down the Maryland Terrapins Heading into Week 6 in the Big Ten

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College Football: Breaking Down the Maryland Terrapins Heading into Week 6 in the Big Ten

2020-11-27 10:30:26

 

-by Nate Comp, Contributing Writer; Image: Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. (Image Source: G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins)

The 2-1 Maryland Terps take on No. 12 Indiana this Saturday, after sitting out the last two weeks due to COVID:

Head Coach: Mike Locksley

Overall: 2nd Season, 5-10 (.333) Overall

Bowl Appearances at Maryland: 0

2019 Record: 3-9 (1-8, Big Ten East)

Bowl Appearances Since 2000: 10 (5-5)

Mascot: Testudo the Diamondback Terrapin

Colors: Red, White, Gold, and Black

Outfitter: Under Armour

National Titles: 1 Claimed (1953), 1 Unclaimed (1951)

Conference Titles: 11 (2 SoCon, 9 ACC)

Heisman Winners: 0

2020 Record: 2-1

Last Week: CANCELLED vs Michigan State, COVID Outbreak at Maryland

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Taulia Tagovailoa (58-86 passing (67.4%), 770 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs)

Rushing: Jake Funk (43 rushes, 336 yards, 7.8 YPC, 2 TDs)

Receiving: Donta Demus Jr (17 receptions, 228 yards, 2 TDs)

Tackles: Chance Campbell (33 tackles, 18 solo, 1.5 Sack, 1 FR)

Stat of the Week: Indiana has covered the spread in all five games this season, the only team in the country to accomplish that task. (Twice a favorite, three times an underdog.) This will be their first home game as a favorite.

Maryland’s Talking Points

1. Yes, that Tagovailoa.

The starting quarterback for the Terrapins is in fact Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former-Alabama and current-Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Once it became clear that Mac Jones was going to win the starting job with the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa left the shadow of his older brother and packed his bags to follow former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to Maryland. And despite a rough opening game, he’s been phenomenal.

Tagovailoa and the Terrapins started the season with a 43-3 blowout loss at Northwestern in which he threw three interceptions, but since then has completely flipped the narrative. In their second game against Minnesota, Tagovailoa threw for 394 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding on 59 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns as well. Add an efficient 18 of 26, 282-yard, and 3 touchdown performance against Penn State in their third game, and there’s no doubt there are flashes of Tua in this young quarterback.

“I represent my last name everywhere I go,” said Taulia during a segment for BTN. “Me and Tua – the comparisons, everything like that – I feel like we’re never going to get away from that because that’s my brother, so people are always going to try and compare us. Everything with ‘Tua’s little brother,’ I don’t mind that at all. That’s my big brother.”

“I’m not surprised and wasn’t surprised by how he responded to the 1st game,” Locksley said. “For me, it was more of making sure that he didn’t allow one game to lead to the second bad one."

2. Rust or Rest?

The biggest story heading into this game actually has little to do with football. Instead, all eyes are on Maryland’s positive COVID test numbers. Their last two scheduled games, at home against Ohio State and Michigan State, both were canceled due to the Terrapins’ coronavirus outbreak. Fifteen additional players and seven staff members, including head coach Mike Locksley, tested positive last week. The program has been on pause for two weeks, unable to practice or play their games. So, will they be ready to go after two weeks off, or rusty having had this time off?

"You know, as a coach and a leader of the program, it's my job to get the team prepared to play, and so whenever I'm given the go-ahead by Dr. Rooks and the medical people, I've got to come up with the best possible plan to have the team prepared to go out and compete at a high level," said Locksley in isolation last Friday. "And again, I feel comfortable that we have all the processes in place and it's just a matter of when we can get back and start to get back to some normalcy as a program."

"As everyone has stated, it's a day-to-day thing," head team physician Yvette Rooks said Friday. "Really, looking at our numbers, so we are able to put a team out there that is going to be safe and again, I can't predict the future. It's a by-day process and [I'm] in communication with my athletic director, our president, and our head coach."

3. Rollercoaster Start

Even without the virus outbreak, this has been a wild start to the season for Maryland. After a 40-point loss to open the season, they have looked like a completely different team in weeks two and three. Wins against Minnesota and Penn State both came as double-digit underdogs. The 35-19 win against the struggling Nittany Lions was only Maryland’s second-ever win in Happy Valley and its highest scoring total against Penn State ever.

Now, they’ve been in quarantine and unable to practice for two weeks. They’ll once again be double-digit underdogs this week at Indiana, so all eyes will be on whether or not week 1 Maryland shows up, or the more recent surging team shows up – if they’re even able to show up at all.

 

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