Terps handle Rutgers, qualify for bowl
Taulia Tagovailoa accounted for four touchdowns as Maryland earned bowl eligibility by beating Rutgers 40-16 in the Big Ten season finale for both teams in Piscataway, N.J.
The Terrapins (6-6, 3-6 Big Ten) will make a bowl trip for the first time since 2016, beating the Scarlet Knights (5-7, 2-7) for the third time in four years.
Tagovailoa completed 21 of 30 passes for 312 yards, throwing for three scores and running for one. He broke the Maryland single-season record for passing yards, previously held by Scott Milanovich, reaching 3,595 on the season.
Tayon Fleet-Davis ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Rakim Jarrett caught seven balls for 111 yards, and Corey Dyches added two touchdown receptions.
Maryland opened with touchdown drives of 75 and 85 yards, as Dyches hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception just 3:18 into the game, and Brian Cobbs followed with a wide-open catch and run for a 38-yard score.
On the Terrapins’ second PAT attempt, Ifeanyi Maijeh powered through the center of Maryland’s line and blocked the kick. Rutgers’ Kessawn Abraham scooped up the ball and ran down the right sideline for a 2-point return, making it 13-2.
Rutgers starting quarterback Noah Vedral led an 11-play drive, but on fourth-and-goal at Maryland’s 3-yard line, his pass was incomplete.
On Rutgers’ next possession, Vedral was hit as he threw on third down, the ball was batted high in the air and Jakorian Bennett came down with it for an interception.
Vedral was shaken up and briefly left the game. He returned to finish the half before being benched at the intermission, and freshman Evan Simon shared snaps with Johnny Langan the rest of the afternoon.
Before halftime, Tagovailoa kept the ball on an option run and galloped right for a 10-yard touchdown to extend Maryland’s lead to 20-2.
Out of the break, Simon and Langan combined to carry the Scarlet Knights on their first scoring drive of the afternoon: eight plays and 70 yards, culminating in Langan’s run from a yard out to make it 20-9.
The Terrapins answered right back when Tagovailoa rolled out and hit Dyches for an 11-yard touchdown, though the extra point hit the right upright.
After Bo Melton’s 53-yard kick return gave Rutgers great field position, Aaron Young completed a five-play drive by dashing in for a 3-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 26-16 with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.
But on the second play of the fourth quarter, Fleet-Davis scored on a 13-yard run up the gut, making it a three-score game at 33-16. He would later ice the game by adding his second touchdown of the day and ninth of the season at the conclusion of a 99-yard drive to ice the game.
Rutgers went 2-for-11 on third down and 0-for-4 on fourth down, while the Terrapins converted 9 of 15 third-down plays.
–Field Level Media