Maryland football demolished Rutgers, 37-0, to finish the regular season with a 7-5 record. The Terps managed to improve on last year’s regular-season record by one win and now await their bowl destination and opponent, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Here’s how each of Maryland’s position groups played against the Scarlet Knights.
Taulia Tagovailoa played a great game against Rutgers, throwing for 342 yards and a touchdown and breaking the all-time Maryland record for career passing touchdowns in the process.
Although he banged his knee on the turf in the first half and was playing through some pain, Tagovailoa still managed to stay mobile and dish the ball out to his receivers. After struggling mightily early in November, Tagovailoa finished the regular season on a high note with two solid performances against Ohio State and Rutgers.
Other than an Antwain Littleton fumble, the Terps’ running backs played well. Littleton had a 21-yard run — the longest of the day — but it was once again Roman Hemby that had the best performance of the group. He rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns, punctuating an electric redshirt freshman season with a hat trick of scores.
Freshman Ramon Brown had the second-most carries for Maryland, rushing eight times for 46 yards. It’s clear that the coaching staff looks at him and Hemby as a potentially deadly duo moving forward.
In potentially his final game in College Park, Jeshaun Jones was amazing, putting up multiple career highs with nine catches for 152 yards, adding a touchdown. Jones has an extra year of eligibility to use if he wants to, but if Saturday was his final regular-season game with Maryland, he ended it on the highest of high notes.
The future go-to receivers also got a lot of action, as freshman Octavian Smith and sophomore Tai Felton combined for 136 yards. They will likely be two of the top pass-catchers on the roster when the current group departs.
One of those that will likely depart is Rakim Jarrett, who missed the game with an injury. Considering his NFL ambitions and the fact that he has made it clear throughout his career that he planned to be a Terp for three years, it is safe to assume that his Maryland career is over.
Like the running backs, a fumble was the only blunder by the tight ends. CJ Dippre let the ball slip away on a 20-yard reception in the first quarter and didn’t get very involved in the passing game after, but he was a solid blocker per usual.
Corey Dyches was a weapon, though, reeling in five passes for 59 yards. He and Dippre have seemingly alternated strong showings in the passing game this season and look like a really dynamic pair of tight ends for the program to utilize in the future.
Maryland’s offensive line was pretty effective at pushing Rutgers around despite allowing five sacks. When Tagovailoa dropped back to pass, he wasn’t pressured too often and usually had time to make a decision without rushing it.
The unit also opened up huge holes in the running game. Almost every time Hemby or another running back would get the ball, they would have plenty of space to make a move and burst upfield for a sizable gain.
The Terps’ defensive line has been one of the team’s major weaknesses this season. Game after game, it seemed like it couldn’t generate much pressure on opposing quarterbacks and let rushers break into the second level with ease.
That was not the case Saturday, as the group made it hard on a struggling Rutgers offense. Anthony Booker Jr. led the way with a sack and another tackle for loss, both on third downs. Additionally, Maryland only allowed two yards per rush, rarely letting Rutgers get far past the line of scrimmage on running plays.
Maryland’s linebackers also had a very good game against Rutgers, registering two of the team’s three sacks — one by Jaishawn Barham and one by Ahmad McCullough. They made it very hard on Rutgers to create much in the middle of the field and sealed off the run in tandem with the defensive line.
They also negated check-down options for the Scarlet Knights. In many games, tight ends or crossing receivers would beat the linebackers in coverage and provide a bail-out for opposing quarterbacks. That did not happen for Rutgers, as its quarterbacks had nowhere to throw most of the time.
Rutgers was entirely ineffective throwing the ball, only tallying 72 yards on a 40% completion percentage. While the Scarlet Knights’ offense — and defense, for that matter — simply wasn’t up to the occasion and looked outmatched in the passing game, the Maryland secondary deserves credit for its play. Late in the game when Rutgers continually threw deep shots to try and make something happen, the Terps stood tall and denied the attempts.
Deonte Banks, Tarheeb Still and Beau Brade made big tackles as well to force a few of Rutgers’ 10 punts.
Maryland’s special teams played a near-perfect game and were tested many, many times. As was just mentioned, the Scarlet Knights had to punt 10 times due to their atrocious offensive showing, and while Tarheeb Still didn’t show much in the return game, he did his part and accepted the field position from a good Rutgers punt team.
When Colton Spangler was punting for Maryland, the coverage was great, limiting the usually-dangerous Aron Cruickshank to just five return yards. The Terps also recovered a muffed punt and downed another at the 6-yard line. The star of the coverage team was Sean Greeley, who landed two huge hits on Cruickshank.
Chad Ryland went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in his last game in College Park, twice from 33 yards out and once from 46.