College football weekend roundup: Maryland Terps hope to remain undefeated

Maryland looks to remain unbeaten while Towson hopes to avoid a beat down

Published on: September 16, 2022 3:06 PM EDT|Updated on: September 16, 2022 4:05 PM EDT

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa passes against Charlotte during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C.

On Saturday night, the undefeated Maryland Terrapins are looking to go 3-0 for the first time since Robert De Niro gave us the most awful movie of his distinguished career in 2016, Dirty Grandpa. The Terps play host to the unbeaten SMU Mustangs, who are off to a sparkling start under new head coach Rhett Lashlee.

After beating up on the University of Buffalo and Charlotte, two of the most dreadful teams in all of college football, Maryland faces what should be a decent test before they head to Ann Arbor next weekend for the Big Ten Conference opener against Michigan.

SMU’s high-powered offense has put up over 1,000 yards in its first two games, with senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai throwing for a combined 644 yards and seven touchdowns against Lamar and North Texas.

Last season, he led the AAC with 3,628 passing yards and 39 touchdowns as the Mustangs finished with a record of 8-4.

His weapon of choice has been receiver Rashee Rice, who has 17 catches for 276 yards and two touchdowns thus far, despite facing constant double teams.

Granted, Lamar only has one win over the last three seasons, and facing Maryland will be a huge step up in competition. But the Terps defense looked suspect last week against Charlotte, a decidedly inferior opponent that scored 21 points against them. They gave up 388 total yards to an offense that was playing its third and- fourth-string quarterbacks.

The unit hasn’t forced a single turnover, and against the pass they’ve looked about as questionable and incoherent as a Herschel Walker press conference.

If Mike Locksley hopes to improve on last year’s marginal success of a 7-6 record and Pinstripe Bowl victory, especially with powerhouse foes Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State looming in the distance, he might want to initiate an open tryout to find College Park’s own version of Bobby Boucher.

What he has right now pumps fear in the heart of absolutely no one.

On the positive side of the ledger, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has been getting busier than Flavor Flav in the Fight The Power video. Against Charlotte, he connected on an absurdly efficient 87.1% of his passes, going 27-31 for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Overall, the offense racked up 424 passing yards and 195 rushing. Jacob Copeland, the transfer from the University of Florida, had four catches for 110 yards and two TDs. The receiving corps is among the best in the nation with Copeland, Dontay Demus, Rakim Jarrett and Jeshaun Jones flashing NFL potential.

SMU’s defense is giving up an average of 161 rushing yards per outing, so Maryland’s offense should have a monster game. The question is — can their defense step up?

Towson is hoping to avoid being sacrificial lamb as the team travels to Morgantown to take on West Virginia Saturday afternoon. The Tigers have gotten off to a 2-0 start with wins over Morgan State and Bucknell, but the Mountaineers make those teams look like Josh’s Timberwolves squad before Air Bud suits up to save the season.

Not only are they heading into hostile territory at the notoriously rowdy Milan Puskar Stadium, but they’ll be facing a hungry West Virginia squad searching for its first win after being slapped around by Pitt and Kansas.

Towson’s offense ain’t the prettiest thing in the world, but they march down the field in short chunks and have managed to control the clock thus far.

Dual-threat quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome has 352 yards passing and 155 rushing over the first two games, while junior running back Devin Matthews has 166 yards rushing on 37 attempts. They’ll both need to have great games, along with their top receivers, Isaiah Perkins, Da’Kendall James and Darian Street. Matthews and Street lead the squad with two touchdowns apiece.

The wildcard on defense could be defensive lineman Jesus Gibbs, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior that is on some NFL teams’ watch lists due to his athleticism and potential.

Clocked at running 20 mph while wearing a GPS device on the field, Gibbs was included on The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman’s annual Freaks List, with Feldman saying, “A transfer from South Carolina ... Gibbs really impressed NFL scouts with his tape against North Dakota State, making plays all over the field. He also made five tackles and two TFLs against San Diego State. Injuries limited him to four games last season, but he was productive, making 15 tackles and three TFLs. In the offseason, Gibbs vertical-jumped 37 inches, got 10 feet in the broad jump and had a terrific 10-yard split of 1.58 seconds. He also bench pressed 400 pounds.”

Freshman linebacker Mason Woods has been a revelation, ranking second on the team with 12 tackles (5 solo) along with having a sack, a pass deflection and an interception.

The Tigers defensive unit will have its hands full trying to contain the Mountaineers C.J. Donaldson, the bruising 6-foot-2, 240-pound freshman running back who has rushed the ball 20 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns.

Receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton is another problem. The favorite target of quarterback J.T. Daniels has 20 catches for 249 yards and four touchdowns.

If Towson hopes to shock the world, they’ll have to be humming on all cylinders.

Because if they aren’t, they’re going out like the Champ Jack Jenkins’ opponent in Harlem Nights.

Read more: