With Maryland and Minnesota’s defenses in oblivion for most of the game, Friday night’s game was an offensive spectacle that ended with the Terrapins winning 45-44 in overtime to capture the program’s first victory of the shortened season.
After the Terps (1-1) overcame a 17-point deficit to force overtime, sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa scored on a two-yard run to put his team up 45-38. The Golden Gophers (0-2) managed to score on their first offensive possession of overtime, but kicker Brock Walker’s extra point, which would have tied the game, sailed right, and sent Maryland players running across Capital One Field in joy.
“We showed a lot of grit,” Tagovailoa said after the game. “To come off a loss, it shows the type of team we are, and I hope we build off this.”
Tagovailoa delivered an impressive performance that would make you forget his brother, Tua, will be making his first start for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Tagovailoa threw for 394 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception while running for 59 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. It was a performance that made last week’s game against Northwestern a thing of the past.
Tagovailoa was the reason Maryland jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter. He threw a pair of touchdowns, one of which was a 76-yard pass to redshirt sophomore receiver Jeshaun Jones, who hasn’t scored since 2018. Jones finished the game with 103 receiving yards on six receptions.
“What you saw out of [Tagovailoa] is what we saw from him all camp all,” Maryland Head Coach Mike Locksley said. “It was great for him to bounce back at home and play at a high level when we needed him to do it the most.”
Though Maryland looked like a juggernaut offense, the Terps’ defense faltered on multiple occasions during the first half, allowing Minnesota’s run game to stage a comeback.
Gopher’s junior running back Mohamed Ibrahim powered into the end zone four straight times to give his team a 28-20 lead late in the second quarter. Ibrahim would go to rush for 207 rushing yards on 41 carries.
“We knew this was going to be a fistfight,” Locksley said. “[Minnesota] wants to run the football, and they were able to do that earlier in the game.”
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Chris Autumn-Bell during the opening minutes of the third quarter, which put the Gophers up 35-20.
The Terps didn’t fold, as Tagovailoa threw a touchdown pass to junior receiver Dontay Demus Jr. before redshirt senior running back Jake Funk, who rushed for 221 yards, cross the end zone to tie the game with 3:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It’s great to get this type of contribution from [Funk],” Locksley said. “I’ve always been a big Jake Funk fan, and it’s great to have a guy like him with a young team.”
Tagovailoa scored to kick off overtime. Minnesota’s chance to keep the evening going floated right of the goal post. As Maryland players stormed the field in celebration, one could only wonder what this moment would look like if fans were in the stands.