- The Washington Times
Saturday, October 1, 2022

Taulia Tagovailoa cracked the 6,000-yard barrier in his Maryland passing career and found 10 different receivers under the remnants of Hurricane Ian at SECU Stadium on Saturday to lead the Terrapins to their first Big Ten win of the season, 27-13, over Michigan State.

Tagovailoa’s 32-of-41, 314-yard day moved him into third-place all-time in Maryland history past Boomer Esiason with 6,261 yards. It’s the Hawaiian’s 10th 300-yard game of his career.

Maryland’s running backs carried a lot of the load in the conditions, with the four toting the ball a combined 35 times for 175 yards — 120 of those belonging to Antwain Littleton.

It’s the Terrapins’ first win over the Spartans in six years and only their second as members of the Big Ten.

Tagovailoa eclipsed the 6,000-yard plateau on the first drive of the game. The drive was punctuated by Littleton’s sixth touchdown of the season, the sixth-straight game for him with a rushing score to open the scoring. 

The Spartans answered with a scoring drive of their own, with quarterback Peyton Thorne deliberately working his way down the field before handing to running back Elijah Collins for a 7-yard score, capping a 77-yard drive and tying the game at 7.

Maryland answered immediately, with Tagovailoa breaking off a 44-yard completion to tight end Corey Dychess into Spartans territory. Four plays later, Terrapin back Colby McDonald plowed in up the middle from 2 yards out to put Maryland back up 14-7 to end the first quarter.

The Terrapins’ offense stagnated for most of the second period, but Tagovailoa engineered a nearly four-minute drive just before halftime, finding Rakim Jarrett on the 13th play for his second touchdown of the season. Maryland took a 21-13 lead into halftime, but not without some twists in the final minute.

Thorne had been picked off by Maryland safety Dante Trader, who returned it for a 47-yard touchdown. The play, however, was negated by a personal foul penalty on Corey Coley, who had contacted intended receiver Jayden Reed in the back on the play.

The Terrapins exacted a measure of revenge on the last play of the half, with defensive back Jakorian Bennett blocking an attempted 45-yard field goal by Spartans kicker Jack Stone. That was the third miscue in the kicking game, along with a missed a 33-yarder and a botched snap on the extra point after Michigan State’s second touchdown.

Rain finally come along with the overcast conditions in the second half, helping to limit scoring. Littleton nearly scored on a 68-yard run on the fourth quarter’s second play but was subsequently stopped on four-straight plays to turn the ball over at the goal line. 

Two Chad Ryland field goals — bracketed by a miss from 50 yards, his first in 24 tries — was the only scoring in the second half by either team. It’s Maryland’s seventh-straight game scoring at least 27 points, the longest streak of its kind since 1994.

• George Gerbo can be reached at ggerbo@washingtontimes.com.

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