Story By? Marc Goldstein
Photos By: Sol Tucker
College Park, MD–
Just seven days after the Terrapins knocked off West Virginia in a true thriller to kick off the 2021 season, they return to Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. This week’s opponent is fellow DMV institution, Howard. The Bison enter the game coming off a loss to Richmond, the #22 ranked team in the FCS. The two schools have surprisingly only met twice, with Maryland winning both games. The most recent game was an absolute annihilation by the Terps, a 79-0 win that saw them score 29 points in each of the first two quarters. That is the record for the most points scored in a half in school history.
As one of the premier HBCU institutions in the nation, Howard sets the standard in the classroom. They are one of the most selective schools in the DMV. However, the academic prowess that the school possesses has not yet translated to the gridiron. The program has been a Division I AA (FCS) school since 1978, but it was not until 2017 that the Bison won their first game against an FBS school. While it is always unlikely for FCS teams to pull off the upset, almost all FCS schools have beaten one team at some point. Howard was led by Caylin Newton, Cam’s younger brother, and overcame a 45 point underdog status to knock off the Runnin’ Rebels in Vegas. That still is the biggest upset in terms of point spread in FBS history.
Historic Win for UMD:
Maybe it was an apparition for Maryland fans, but the win to open the season against West Virginia was certainly a spectacle. The offense was firing on all cylinders in the first game managed by Dan Enos. The defense force three turnovers and the special teams unit caused a fumble too. Everything felt like they were going right for Maryland. Potentially the game against Howard will not go down as a pivotal game in the long run. However, if Maryland is legit, they will be able to make quick, easy work of Howard.
Just to put a final bow on the win over the Mountaineers is the pure statistics that resulted in the win. Taulia Tagovailoa looked phenomenal. He played like a true veteran in the win, becoming the first Terrapin QB to throw for over 300 yards since 2012. Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett torched the Mountaineers’ secondary and both scored long touchdowns. The duo appeared to create one of the best wide receiver duos in the Big Ten last Saturday. It was not a one dimensional attack for the offense, though. Tavon Fleet-Davis topped 100 all purpose yards and was impeccable for the Terps once they got the lead in the second half. He was the finisher and helped them ice the game with his rushing ability.
Finally, the defense deserves a lot of praise. West Virginia is a veteran team, and they were dumbfounded for the entirety of the second half. Nick Cross and Tarheeb Still played like the All Big Ten players they were projected to be this season. The front seven, one of the biggest question marks for Maryland, held their own in the second half after relinquishing three touchdowns to Leddie Brown in the first half.
For Maryland, this game might just be a formality, but they can’t let the numbers distract them from the fact that Howard is trying to come to College Park to pick up a win. The fact that the Bison are winless on the season and against Maryland should not matter at all. Maryland needs to shut down the Bison early and often and jump out to an early lead. In short, the Terps need to end the game before it really gets going. The thing about games between FCS teams and FBS schools is that the longer FCS teams are in the game, the more confidence they get that they can win the game. No one wants to be the school to lose to an FCS school, so it is imperative that Maryland gets out to an early lead and never looks back.
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Venue: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium
Network: Big Ten Network
Point Spread: MD -49.0