After getting outscored 163-6 against Penn State over the past three seasons, Maryland earned revenge in a significant way Saturday as the Terrapins walloped the Nittany Lions 35-19 on the road behind a huge first half from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. The loss drops Penn State to 0-3 for the first time since 2001 and improves Maryland to 2-1 a year after the Terrapins struggled to a 3-9 record in coach Mike Locksley’s first season.
Tagovailoa completed 14 of 19 passes in the first half for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and finished with 282 yards passing as the Alabama transfer continued his remarkable turnaround from a lackluster season-opening performance. In a 43-3 loss at Northwestern on Oct. 24, Maryland looked more like the team that lost seven straight games to end the 2019 season rather than a team ready to make a step forward.
Maryland finished with just 207 total yards in that game as Tagovailoa completed just 14 of 25 passes for 94 yards and three interceptions. But the younger brother of former Alabama star and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found his stride in a 45-44 overtime win against Minnesota last week.
Tagovailoa threw for 394 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception in the narrow win over Minnesota. But even after such an impressive outing, the Terrapins entered Saturday’s game against Penn State as 27.5-point underdogs. Maryland quickly showed that to be a laughable proposition as it opened up leads of 21-0 and 35-7 on Penn State.
The Terrapins have plenty of reason for optimism with the way they have played the past two weeks, but they will need all the magic of the past two weeks and more when they host No. 3 Ohio State next week. Meanwhile, Penn State heads to Nebraska next week in a battle of historically proud programs that are both winless so far.