Three takeaways from Maryland football’s 31-10 victory over Buffalo

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football started the 2022 season on a high note, knocking off Buffalo, 31-10, on Saturday afternoon. From a solid performance by the special teams to the penalty issues creeping back up, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ season opener at Capital One Field.

Special teams steps up

Maryland looked solid on special teams. Transfer kicker Chad Ryland easily converted a 45-yard field-goal attempt in the final three minutes of the second quarter, while senior Colton Spangler’s 46-yard punt in the fourth pinned the Bulls at their 4-yard line.


The Terps even made some plays in the return game. Junior cornerback Tarheeb Still averaged 15 yards per punt return, including an 18-yard run to Buffalo’s 31-yard line in the opening minutes of the second quarter, setting up a three-play scoring drive that gave his team a 14-0 advantage. In the fourth quarter, freshman receiver Octavian Smith Jr. had an impressive 41-yard kick return from the 1-yard line.

But the play of the game on special teams came from junior receiver Rakim Jarrett. Acting as a gunner during a punt late in the first, Jarrett — who totaled 110 receiving yards — sped down the field to tackle Bulls returner Quian Williams at the 15-yard line.


Defense delivers

Senior cornerback Jakorian Bennett was disruptive in the secondary on Saturday, recording five pass breakups while shadowing receivers well.

“He played through the ball and made plays for us,” coach Mike Locksley said.

One of the reasons Bennett returned to College Park was to turn his pass breakups into interceptions. In the second quarter, Bennett had an interception slip through his hands, which Locksley thought could’ve been a pick-six.

“It was a big win for [Bennett] to have five pass breakups, but for him and us, those interceptions will be important for us moving forward,” Locksley said.

As Bennett was disrupting pass after pass, he said it began to feel contagious. But when asked about the dropped interception, Bennett could only shake his head in disappointment.

“I’m continuing to work on those things, keep my eye on the ball and not get too happy,” Bennett said. “As a [defensive back], you see the ball [and] your eyes get big. But no excuses. You got to go make that play.”

Bennett was the highlight of a strong defensive performance from the Terps, who held Buffalo to 268 total yards. Maryland controlled the Bulls’ running game, limiting them to 2.8 yards per attempt. The Terps also provided constant pressure on Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder, recording four sacks, including two from senior defensive lineman Henry Chibueze. Redshirt senior Mosiah Nasili-Kite notched a sack in the second quarter to go along with his six tackles.

“We played a lot of interior players,” Locksley said. “Having created depth there is what’s going to help us in the long run. All those guys did a really good job of attacking and getting off blocks.”

Maryland coach Mike Locksley talks with wide receiver Rakim Jarrett during a timeout Saturday. Jarrett had a team-leading 110 receiving yards and also made a tackle on a punt return.

Penalties still a problem

The Terps were flagged eight times for 82 yards, and Locksley was displeased.

Redshirt senior left tackle Jaelyn Duncan picked up two penalties, costing the Terps 21 yards. Maryland’s secondary, on the other hand, was called for pass interference twice, with a third one being offset. Senior defensive back Deonte Banks was responsible for one of the interference calls and was called for being offsides in the second quarter.

“If we keep having [pass interference penalties], we [have] to correct some things technically,” Locksley said. “The big thing with corners is getting their head around. Too many times we were running down the chest of a guy with our hands in the air. We got to get our head around, [and] play through the hands. I think Jakorian executed the way we wanted it done two or three times, but a couple of the young corners didn’t play the way that we teach it.”


Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Stream: Stadium


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