Terps Top Golden Gophers in OT 45-44

 By: Jack Rothenberg

Following a horrid showing last weekend against Northwestern, Maryland looked to bounce back against Minnesota in a primetime slate on ESPN. Both teams’ defenses looked suspect in their first outings, and especially Maryland’s run defense. Led by Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota’s run game is their strong suit, so containing him was on the top of the Terps’ priority list. On the offensive side for Maryland, all eyes were on sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to see how he would follow up his rough beginning to the season. 

For the second straight week to start the game, the Terps went down the field and put points on the board. Instead of settling for three, this time they converted in the red zone with a nine yard pass touchdown to redshirt senior Jake Funk, giving Tagovailoa his first at Maryland and a 7-0 lead. Also unlike last game, the defense was actually able to force a three-and-out on the Golden Gophers first drive. With solid field position, Maryland worked their way back inside the Minnesota 40 yard line. On the next play, Tagovailoa escaped pressure and scampered 39 yards for the score putting the Terps up 14-0. 

While the Terps added on another score at the end of the first quarter, the defense put on a repeat performance of last Saturday as they let up four straight touchdown drives. All four ran in by Ibrahim, and one was set up by a bad Tagovailoa interception. Other than the pick, Tagovailoa’s first half was as good as one could have hoped for. He was incredible outside of the pocket, running when needed and making great decisions. The offense kept them in the contest, with a 28-21 score at halftime. 

To start the second half the defense hurt the team once again. After an incompletion and an upcoming 3rd and 14, the Terps were on the brink of finally getting a stop. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on the Terps. Minnesota’s drive was extended and ended up resulting in a touchdown. Though Maryland’s offense answered right back getting inside the Golden Gopher’s five yard line. Penny Boone’s number was called, but as he was about to cross the goal line the ball was punched out and Minnesota recovered. 

Succeeding a Minnesota field goal, the lead was extended to 38-21. With the fourth quarter just underway and the game hanging in the balance, the Terps answered with a touchdown, cutting the lead to 10. On the following possession, junior linebacker Chance Campbell came up with a big third down tackle to give the ball right back to Maryland. The Terps were driving, but on third down Tagovailoa tried to avoid the sack and suffered a big loss, which set up junior kicker Joseph Petrino for a career-long 51 yard field goal. 

Petrino nailed it and was hyped up. He immediately ran to his teammates on the sideline in celebration. Yet again it would be up to the defense to make another big stop. On third down, Maryland flushed Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan out of the pocket and Campbell sacked him providing a big play for the team. Continuing with their stellar play, the Maryland offense went down the field in three plays, capping the drive off with another Funk touchdown to tie the game at 38. Funk had a fantastic game, going off for 216 yards and the two touchdowns mentioned above. He had more yards in this one game than in any other entire season he’s played at Maryland. 

The Terps defense allowed one first down the entire fourth quarter, and was the key to helping Maryland force overtime. They flipped the switch from the first seven quarters of the season and had the ability to force three straight punts in the fourth. The offense from the final quarter of regulation carried over to overtime, as they added seven on the board. With Minnesota getting an opportunity to match, they drove it inside the five. The Golden Gophers ran it in for six as they did all night, and everyone turned their attention to the second overtime. The thought ran through every Maryland fan’s head, “somehow miss this extra point.” HE ACTUALLY DID! The Terps earned their first win of the season in an absolute stunner.


There is obviously a lot to work on for next week against Penn State, mainly on the defensive side of the ball, but this win feels great. It was awesome to see Tagovailoa come back and look like the baller we all thought the Terps were getting when he transferred. Five touchdowns on the night, and Tagovailoa worked the offense with ease. Also, the most important position players played up to their potential. Funk was a beast averaging over 10 yards a carry, wide receivers Dontay Demus and Jeshaun Jones both eclipsed 100 yards on the night and got in the endzone for the first time this season. 

Campbell was the MVP of the defense against the Golden Gophers. In the fourth quarter, he made big play after big play, giving the ball back to the offense and allowing the team to climb back into the game. The obvious issue with the defense was run stopping. Ibrahim got whatever he wanted and when Maryland plays against better defensive teams, the offense won’t be able to make up for the lackluster defensive effort. Against Penn State, an improvement on defense will be the main thing to watch for, but we will also get a true sense of how good this Tagovailoa led offense really is. 

Next Game:

November 7th, 2020 – Maryland at Penn State (3:30 p.m.) BTN

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