With Maryland football’s 30-0 loss to No. 14 Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, the Terps have dropped two straight games. This weekend won’t get any easier with No. 2 Ohio State coming to College Park.
From Maryland’s slow starts to the offensive line’s drop-off and a former Terp dominating for Penn State, here are three takeaways from a dreadful performance at Beaver Stadium.
Maryland’s first-quarter woes strike again
Earlier in the season, Maryland was successful at starting games on a high note. The Terps had a stretch dating back to last season in which they scored on their opening drive in seven straight games. They were one of the best teams in the nation at throwing the first punch.
Over the last three games, however, Maryland’s biggest strength has become its biggest weakness. The Terps have been outscored 28-0 in the first quarter by Northwestern, Wisconsin and Penn State while looking completely out of sync on both sides of the ball.
The Terps’ first-quarter performance against the Nittany Lions was a disaster. They were held scoreless and gained just 3 yards after totaling minus-10 yards on their first three possessions. Maryland has recorded 90 yards in the first quarter since their win over Northwestern last month while converting three of 13 third downs.
Maryland’s defense hasn’t helped much, as its allowed 303 yards in the first quarter during this stretch. After giving up 94 rushing yards in the first quarter against Wisconsin, Maryland allowed Penn State to total 126 yards on 16 carries.
The offensive line is struggling
Maryland’s offensive line, which was considered the most improved group to start the season, has been losing the battle in the trenches over the past two weeks and has had a hard time run blocking and in pass protection.
Against Penn State, redshirt junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was pressured on 51.6% of his drop-backs while being sacked seven times for a loss of 49 yards. Similar to last week’s defeat to Wisconsin, Tagovailoa saw plenty of linebacker blitzes, and the Terps failed to make any adjustments. Tagovailoa, who was sacked nine times in the first seven games, has been taken down 12 times in the last two.
Meanwhile, Maryland has not run for 100 yards in its past two games.
“It goes back to execution,” Terps coach Mike Locksley said. “When you say that as a coach, automatically you think of players, but no, it’s not just players. It’s everybody that’s involved with our offense, and I’m involved on a daily basis with it.”
Former Terp Chop Robinson dominates
In the final minutes of the second quarter, Penn State outside linebacker Chop Robinson blew past Maryland right tackle Delmar Glaze before taking down Tagovailoa and happily dancing in the backfield.
In the middle of the third on a first-and-20, Robinson brought Tagovailoa down for his second sack of the afternoon.
Robinson, a former four-star recruit from Quince Orchard who transferred from Maryland to Penn State in the spring, finished with three tackles, including two for loss and the two sacks.
Robinson was a key player in Maryland’s 2021 recruiting class, which ranked No. 19 in the nation, according to 247Sports. But after recording 19 tackles and two sacks in 13 games for the Terps last season, he entered the transfer portal along with Terrence Lewis and Branden Jennings, leaving Maryland without its top three players from the highly regarded group.
No. 2 Ohio State at Maryland
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: Chs. 2, 7
Radio: 105.7 FM