Maryland football scored on its first four drives Saturday and never looked back in a 42-24 win over Rutgers.
Here’s how every Maryland position group performed in the regular-season finale.
Taulia Tagovailoa broke the Big Ten all-time career passing yards record — previously held by Curtis Painter — which alone could warrant a high grade.
Yet, even without the record, Tagovailoa was phenomenal. Outside of a second-quarter interception, which occurred on a third-and-17, he was nearly perfect. Tagovailoa threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for a 6-yard touchdown.
Additionally, Billy Edwards Jr. continued his best impersonation of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, sneaking in two touchdowns from the 1-yard line. He has five rushing touchdowns in the last two games.
Maryland’s running backs had their best game in weeks. Following a 57-yard performance against No. 3 Michigan, the trio of Roman Hemby, Antwain Littleton and Colby McDonald rushed for 132 yards against a solid Rutgers front.
Hemby headlined the group with 113 rushing yards on 7.5 yards per attempt, reminiscent of his 70-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Scarlet Knights last year. He also had five receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.
The contributions from Littleton and McDonald slightly dampened the room’s performance, though. Littleton rushed four times for 14 yards, while McDonald rushed twice for five yards and fumbled a screen pass at the Rutgers 18-yard line.
Tai Felton led the group with five receptions for a career-high 140 yards and a touchdown. His connection with Tagovailoa was flawless, as the two connected on three plays of 25 or more yards, with the longest going for 57 yards.
Jeshaun Jones also had a great game, managing four receptions for 70 yards, but Kaden Prather, Maryland’s second leading receiver heading into the day, was abnormally quiet with just one catch for five yards.
The Terps did not tally a single drop.
Maryland’s tight ends seldom heard their name called, but made the most of their opportunities. Corey Dyches and Preston Howard each caught two balls. Dyches recorded 64 yards and a touchdown, while Howard produced 49 yards.
After struggling in recent weeks, Maryland’s offensive line played well against the Scarlet Knights, allowing just three quarterback hurries and two sacks for a loss of six yards.
It should still be noted that Rutgers ranks last in the Big Ten with 19 sacks.
The unit also created plenty of space for Hemby to register his second-highest rushing total of the season.
Maryland’s offensive line held up well, and so did Rutgers’. The Terps recorded just two quarterback hurries and one sack for a loss of nine yards, which belonged to freshman Lavon Johnson.
Rutgers allowed just 13 sacks in 11 games prior to Saturday, so the Terps’ lack of production was not totally unexpected, but a bit disappointing nonetheless.
The Terps’ linebackers made plays, but not enough to prevent Rutgers from rushing for nearly 200 yards. Fa’Najae Gotay and Ruben Hyppolite II led the unit with a combined 10 tackles — six solo — and a tackle for loss.
Jaishawn Barham did not record a single tackle.
Led by its experienced trio of Dante Trader Jr., Beau Brade and Tarheeb Still, the Terps’ secondary was spectacular. Trader Jr. totaled a team-high 11 tackles — eight solo —and a forced fumble, while Brade and Still followed in suit, respectively, with seven and six tackles.
Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt completed just 13-of-34 passes for 165 yards and was intercepted by Glendon Miller.
With Maryland’s offense running smoothly, the Terps did not need to rely on their special teams unit. Brenden Segovia punted the ball three times for 120 yards and pinned Rutgers inside the 20-yard line twice.
Jack Howes did not attempt a field goal.
Maryland was ready for a solid Rutgers squad and dominated from the jump. The offensive play calling involved all units and frequently produced explosive plays.
The Terps won and the coaching staff deserves its flowers.