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Grading Maryland football’s position groups after its loss to No. 9 Penn State

Here’s how each of the Terps’ position groups performed Saturday.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football dropped to 5-4 Saturday when it lost in convincing fashion to No. 9 Penn State, 51-15.

The Terps never led in the defeat and lost the turnover battle, 4-0.

Here’s how each position group performed in the defeat.


Taulia Tagovailoa was actually quite efficient for most of the game, even completing his first 17 passes — the longest such streak in the FBS this season.

Unfortunately, Tai Felton’s fumble in the first quarter stalled momentum and Penn State’s stout defense got better as the game went on, something it’s done all season long.

Tagovailoa finished with 286 yards and two touchdowns, but an inability to finish drives and two fourth-quarter turnovers tarnished what was an otherwise solid showing.

Grade: C-

Running back

Another week of Maryland football provided another sense of déjà vu from the offensive playcalling.

Yes, Penn State has the best run defense in the conference. The Terps’ running backs recorded a combined -6 yards on seven carries. But your offense becomes too one-dimensional and predictable when the run game is dismissed.

The only reason why this grade isn’t an “F” is because Roman Hemby collected a receiving touchdown.

Grade: D-

Wide receiver

Felton’s aforementioned fumble was a blemish in a good performance by Maryland’s wide receivers. Felton actually led the unit with 75 yards.

Jeshaun Jones and Kaden Prather combined for seven grabs and 83 yards, but both saw a production decrease in the second half.

Octavian Smith Jr. had his most productive game of the season, with 31 yards on five catches.

Grade: C+

Tight end

Corey Dyches has seen his production increase in each of the past four games. On Saturday, he paced all Terps with 60 yards on eight catches.

However, while his stats have improved, he continues to be a liability in blocking.

Penn State’s edge rushers had a field day, holding Maryland — with sacks included — to -49 yards on the ground.

Grade: C

Offensive line

We wondered how Maryland’s offensive line would fare against maybe the best defensive front in the country. The answer: not good.

It surrendered six sacks and saw Tagovailoa under duress from the first snap.

When Maryland attempted to run, there were multiple white jerseys in the backfield before the ball could be handed off.

Grade: F

Defensive line

Maryland recorded just one sack and zero quarterback hits, allowing Drew Allar to get comfortable. Allar had struggled under pressure the past few weeks, but with a clean pocket, he threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns.

Penn State dominated in the trenches throughout, which opened up plenty of room for it to spread the ball as the game wore on.

Grade: D


It was way too easy for Penn State’s offense, especially on middle-of-the-field throws and quarterback draws.

Broken plays became first downs and short passes became long gains. Maryland’s linebackers couldn’t stop the Nittany Lions’ playmakers.

When you can’t stop the run and let players slip through tackles, it’s very difficult to win.

Grade: F


Allar was extremely efficient, completing 25 of 34 passes, but what hurt Maryland’s defense most was its inability to get off the field.

Penn State scored on nine of its 12 drives, with six ending in touchdowns — four through the air. Penn State converted nearly half of its third downs.

Wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith torched the Terps’ secondary throughout, catching the ball on eight of his 12 targets for 95 yards. Seventy-two of those yards came after the catch.

Grade: F

Special teams

Colton Spangler is having a stellar season. The Terps’ star punter had another impressive performance, averaging 45 yards per punt with two boots of over 50 yards.

Jack Howes made his lone extra point and Tarheeb Still had the lone return of the game, which he took two yards.

Grade: B


The Terps have lost four games in a row and adjustments don’t seem to have been made.

Grade: D