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Maryland football finds itself right outside the AP Top 25

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The Terps are 4-0 to start the season.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
UMTerps

The AP Top 25 poll released Sunday has Maryland football at the unofficial No. 27 spot.

Maryland kicked off its season with four straight victories marking the first time the Terps have done so since 2016.

To open the season, Maryland faced West Virginia and the Terps walked away with the 30-24 victory. In that game, wide receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett each recorded a touchdown and had six catches each for 133 and 122 yards, respectively. Defensive backs Tarheeb Still and Nick Cross led the defense with seven and six tackles, respectively.

The Terps allowed just three points in the final 30 minutes of the game.

That defensive momentum carried over to Howard when Maryland kept the Bison scoreless and did not allow them to convert on a single of their 11 first-down attempts. Demus Jr. once again recorded a 100-yard game with six receptions, one touchdown and 128 yards while Jarrett also had six receptions and touchdown. This time Jarrett had 67 receiving yards.

With the large lead Maryland claimed early as it ultimately cruised to the 62-0 victory, the Terps were able to showcase their depth as freshman defensive back Dante Trader led the defense with five tackles.

Maryland then traveled to face its first Big Ten opponent of the season in Illinois. Maryland’s offense started off slow recording just three points in the first half of the game, however, the defense did its job. Maryland’s defensive unit led by Cross and defensive back Jordan Mosley, as well as linebacker Branden Jennings, held the Illini to three points in the first half and continued to put on the pressure in the final 30 minutes.

Although Illinois took the lead with about 14 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Maryland went on to score twice within the final two minutes and 13 seconds to walk away with the win. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa finished the game with a, at that point, season-high 350 yards and kicker Joseph Petrino hit his first-ever game-winning field goal.

Most recently, the Terps returned home and defeated Kent State to secure their 4-0 record as they head into week five. Although Maryland looked sloppy at times, picking up nine penalties that cost it 120 yards, Tagovailoa led the team to a 37-16 victory while completing 31 of his 41 attempted passes and threw for three touchdowns.

Tagovailoa’s 384 passing yards were a season-high and just 10 yards shy of his career-high that he had against Minnesota during the 2020 season.

Now, the Terps enter Week Five ready to host No. 5 Iowa under the lights on Friday night. The last time these two teams met was on Oct. 31, 2015. The Hawkeyes were the No. 10 team in the country at the time and defeated Maryland, 31-15 in Iowa City, Iowa.