Taulia Tagovailoa leads Maryland through the state of Michigan

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa had a lot on her mind this week. That was only natural after his brother Tua was taken off the stretcher with a head injury while playing for the Miami Dolphins.

“They’re really, really close,” said Terrapins coach Michael Locksley. “I think the only thing that calmed him down was that he was finally able to get a FaceTime with Tua, and Tua was basically like, ‘Hey, I’m fine man. Go play.'”

Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 314 yards and a touchdown, and Maryland handed Michigan State its third straight loss, 27-13 on Saturday.

(Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa targets Michigan State in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 in College Park, Maryland (Courtesy AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Terrapins (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, and Maryland’s defense was solid as the Terps passed their first Test in what appeared to be an important October for the program.

Payton Thorne threw for 221 yards and a touchdown, but the Spartans (2-3, 0-2) remained scoreless in the second half against a Maryland defense that still has a lot to prove. Michigan State also struggled with special teams, missing a field goal, getting blocked by another, and missing an extra point on a bad snap.

Tagovailoa finished 32 of 41, passing Boomer Esiason for third place on Maryland’s career yards list.

“I take my hat off to that boy,” Locksley said. “You have no idea how the last 24 to 48 hours have been for him.”

Early on, it felt like this game could turn into a shootout. Maryland opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run by Antwaine Littleton II. Then Michigan State responded with a 12-yard scoring run by Elijah Collins.

Colby McDonald scored on a 2-yard run for the Terps, and then the defense finally settled down. The next touchdown didn’t come until Thorne’s 8-yard smash against Jayden Reed at 4:24 in the half and failing the extra point still left Michigan State 14-13.

The Terps rushed 80 yards in 13 games to take a 21-13 lead with Tagovailoa’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Rakim Jarrett with 42 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Maryland nearly extended their lead soon after when Dante Trader Jr. intercepted Thorne’s pass and ran him back into the end zone, but a personal foul on Corey Coley Jr. erased that turnover.

“We can’t control the umpires, we can’t control the calls,” Locksley said. “Eventually I think we’re going to earn the respect here where we can use calls like that. All we can do is worry.”

The Spartans had a chance to kick a field goal late in the half, but Jakorian Bennett blocked Jack Stone’s 45-yard attempt.

The Maryland defense took over from there, holding Michigan State to 8 yards in the third.

“Obviously I’m frustrated and disappointed, but we just have to move forward,” said Thorne. “We only finished the game 30 minutes ago but all we can control is what’s ahead. That’s my way of thinking.”

The Spartans put up an impressive goal-line record in the fourth, stopping Littleton four times in a row after the Terps had the first and the goal from the 2, but the rain picked up in the last quarter, making it even more difficult for Michigan State to get the ball to move.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Maryland linebacker Ahmad McCullough.

THE TAKE AWAY

Michigan State: The season is going by quickly for Michigan State — to the point where it wasn’t even a big surprise that the Spartans ended their four-game winning streak against Maryland. Offensively there were the first signs of life, but they didn’t last.

“I told the team there wasn’t much to say right now,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said. “I can’t make them feel any better. When we turn on the movie, it’s going to be lacking in execution – offense, defense and special teams.”

Maryland: The Terps are playing three of their four October games at home, so they have a chance to fight in the division before they face Ohio State and Penn State next month. Tagovailoa was sharp even in the dreary weather and Maryland has to be content with that defensive performance.

STRIPES

Littleton has had a touchdown in six straight games from last season. … Maryland’s Chad Ryland had kicks for 43 and 51 yards in the second half, but he missed from 50 to the end of his streak of 24 consecutive field goal attempts made.

NEXT

Michigan State: The Spartans will not get a reprieve. They host state No. 3 in Ohio next Saturday.

Maryland: The Terrapins host Purdue on Saturday.

https://www.woodtv.com/sports/taulia-tagovailoa-leads-maryland-over-michigan-state-27-13/ Taulia Tagovailoa leads Maryland through the state of Michigan

Dais Johnston

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