COLLEGE PARK, MD (DC News Now) – The Maryland Terrapins are 3-0 to start the 2022 season after taking down SMU on Saturday, 34-27.
Beating a tough opponent like SMU has left head coach Mike Locksley with plenty of positive takeaways. He watched his team battle through adversity and get the win, but the Terps could have done without those 15 penalties. Minimizing those mistakes is key for Locksley and his team as they enter conference play, but recognizing that the team still found a way to be successful is also a huge accomplishment.
“I don’t know if we would have won that game Saturday, the last three years with the type of penalties and how we played and put ourselves in a hole. The culture we’re creating kind of showed through and that’s what was unique.”
After three games, the Terps have established a strong backfield which has opened up their offense and helped them adjust properly to different coverages on the fly. Quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa says that learning to adjust and find open holes in the air or on the ground has been a focus for him this year.
“Sometimes, they would blitz to take away our running back, so the check downs sometimes weren’t there. Using my feet and trying to use that as a threat to the defense, helped our offense.”
Against SMU on Saturday, Tagovailoa was 17-23 with 214 yards and two touchdowns, he also used his legs 13 times for 51 yards.
“Whether it’s me running the ball, throwing the ball, or handing it off I think whatever I have to do for our team to win is the biggest thing.”
The Terps’ defense was especially clutch in the fourth quarter against SMU, and according to defensive back Dante Trader Jr., that success sets the tone for the Terps as they look ahead to their first Big 10 conference matchup against #4 Michigan, the reigning conference champions.
“Having that success in the fourth quarter and the second half, against SMU and dealing with adversity, that’s going to help us when we get to Michigan and have to battle for four quarters.”
Maryland will prepare all this week before heading up to Ann Arbor this Saturday and as head coach Mike Locksley says, they’ve got nothing to lose the goal this weekend is to not beat themselves.