For Maryland, the best part about a short week that features a matchup with Minnesota on Friday night is that the Terrapins didn't have to dwell too long on their miserable season-opening performance at Northwestern.
The team arrived home around 4 a.m. Sunday after a 43-3 defeat on Saturday night. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa showed up at 11 to discuss the game with coach Michael Locksley, an hour before the entire team got tested for COVID-19. Then came a review of the horror show against the Wildcats, and by the latter part of the afternoon the players were instructed of the game plan for Minnesota.
“Not a lot of time to necessarily linger or think or put too much onus on what happened Saturday," Locksley said Monday. “Obviously the goal is to get the things corrected from Saturday. We were able to do that (Sunday) and at the same time flip the page. That game is over, we reset, and now we get ready for Minnesota."
The Golden Gophers opened with a 49-24 loss against Michigan, but can take consolation in knowing their opponent came in ranked No. 18 and should be a contender for the Big Ten title. Maryland, on the other hand, committed four turnovers and trailed 30-3 at halftime against a team coming off a last-place finish in the conference.
Locksley never saw it coming, especially after Tagovailoa and the rest of the team looked so good in practice in the weeks leading up to the game.
“It was not anything we expected," Locksley said. “We can clearly play better and we will. The biggest disappointment to us is that we didn't play up to the standard that we had and how we practiced."
Making his first college start after transferring from Alabama during the offseason, Tagovailoa drove the Terps to a field goal on the opening possession. That was the extent of his success. He finished 14 for 25 for 94 yards with three interceptions and was sacked twice.
Backup Lance LeGendre went 4 for 4 for 49 yards, but Locksley insisted that Tagovailoa remains “100 percent" his starting quarterback after winning the job in fall practice.
The defense needs work, too. Maryland gave up 537 yards, including 325 on the ground, and failed to get a sack or a takeaway.
Locksley insists all of these shortcomings are correctable, but that didn't make the embarrassing defeat any easier to handle.
“We invested a lot of time up until that first game, and there were so many things we had to sacrifice and do to get there," Locksley said. “So for us to go lay an egg is disappointing."
Junior linebacker Ayinde Eley had eight tackles, but the defense allowed the Wildcats to convert all three of their fourth-down tries and half their 16 attempts on third down. That can't happen if Maryland hopes to stop a Minnesota offense led by running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who had 140 yards and two touchdowns against the Wolverines.
“Everything that we saw on tape is fixable. That's what we're working on this week," Eley said. “We're going to get those things fixed by Friday night."
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