Opportunistic Maryland defense awaits Howard

NCAA Football

After holding on for a dramatic win over West Virginia to open the season, Maryland looks to remain unbeaten Saturday when Howard visits College Park, Md.

Both offense and defense were humming for the Terrapins in a 30-24 win over the Mountaineers. Nick Cross and Jakorian Bennett secured interceptions against Jarret Doege, the latter a touchdown-saving red-zone pick midway through the fourth quarter that preserved Maryland’s lead.

The Terrapins (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) forced four turnovers and their two interceptions matched the team total for their entire five-game 2020 season.

“We had our goals as a defense and takeaways was No. 1 on that list,” Bennett said. “We pride ourselves on getting the ball back because it’s more possessions for the offense.”

Taulia Tagovailoa went 26-for-36 passing for 332 yards, three touchdowns and no picks to guide Maryland on offense.

Head coach Mike Locksley said Tuesday that starting linebacker Fa’Najae Gotay suffered a “significant” upper-body injury Saturday that would require surgery and force him to miss some time.

Howard, the Washington, D.C.-based HBCU, will make the short drive north to visit Maryland. The Bison (0-1, 0-0 MEAC) are still looking for their first win under second-year head coach Larry Scott following an 0-2 spring season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Howard fell to Richmond, a top 25-ranked team in FCS, 38-14 last Saturday. Bison quarterback Quinton Williams completed 17 of 27 passes for 226 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to Christion Carter late in the first half, before the Spiders pulled away.

Howard is 0-2 all-time against Maryland. The Terrapins won their meetings in 2016 and 2019 by a combined score of 131-13, most recently with a 79-0 lashing in 2019.

“Our biggest challenge and our biggest opponent is us,” Scott said, “because we’re still in such the stage of educating and teaching our young people about the process of winning, which starts (Sunday), in practice. Our biggest challenge and our biggest opponent from week to week is just making it about us, not making it about who’s next on the schedule. It’s just another game in the way that we look at it.”

–Field Level Media

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